Arsenal vs Manchester United. Been looking forward to this fixture all week, with excitement and a hint of nervousness. Two of the best sides in the league. With Manutd on top and Arsenal just 3 points off them, the gunners will surely look to make the most of this opportunity and go level on points with United.
Will they do it? Or will Manutd come away with a result? We try to analyse a few factors that could affect the outcome of this match.
Usually in big games the team playing at home are tipped as favourites. Home advantage can be vital. But in this particular fixture, that hasn’t necessarily been the case for Arsenal.
Arsenal haven’t beaten Manutd at the Emirates since 2011. Even the Manutd of David Moyes managed to get a result at Arsenal. This could be called a freak statistic, but the fact that Arsenal have similarly poor records against other top sides makes me certain it’s more than just that.
Can Arsenal make the home advantage count this time round?
The Martial effect
He is perhaps THE best signing of the summer. A lot was made about his price tag when he signed, but the moment he scored THAT goal against LFC I said to myself, “The joke is over. This guy is special.”
And I was right. He has put in brilliant performances since that game and scored some vital goals and chipped in with the odd assist as well.
His pace and movement could cause Arsenal a lot of problems. To make matters worse, Koscielny is likely to miss the game.
Will Martial set the Emirates on fire? God I hope not.
Will the real Ozil please stand up?
Mesut Ozil’s creativity and ability is unquestionable, but his ability to perform under pressure against top sides? Not so much. He is usually anonymous in big matches.
People criticise him in the aftermath of a disappointing result and then a week or two later he produces a world class performance against a not-so-top-team. And then his poor performance is forgotten as a one-off bad day. Every player has off days right?
But he is consistently inconsistent against the big clubs. And as an Arsenal fan, it’s hard to deny that any longer.
I just hope he proves me wrong and has a good game.
Will the real Ozil stand up to the occasion?
A tactical bout
A firm believer of his ‘philosophy’ where the system is sacred and the players are merely cogs in the machine, Louis Van Gaal is easily one of the most tactically astute managers in the world.
Arsene Wenger on the other hand? Not so much. He is often criticised for lacking a plan B and his sides being too one-dimensional. Despite being one of the top managers in the game, Arsene Wenger has been frequently outwitted and his teams outfought by lesser sides due to his predictable nature. People know exactly what kind of a game to expect when they play Arsenal. They’re almost incapable of playing any other way.
And if this game ends up being a chess-like battle where it comes down to ONE move from the manager or that one tactical change/substitution, I’m almost certain that the Dutchman will come out on top.
Arsenal’s poor midweek result
Oddly enough, this is the reason that gives me the most confidence going into this game. Never mind the home advantage but the fact that every single one of those players will be hurt because of the poor result in CL, I think will make them come out stronger. I’ve always believed that how a side responds to a defeat is what defines them. Arsenal have a habit of getting to the verge of crisis and somehow miraculously saving their blushes. In some ways it is an annoying habit because that hasn’t involved them winning the league title in a decade, but it is one that I think could galvanise them into beating or at the very least, avoiding a defeat this weekend.
The players have a point to prove. So does the manager. They have a season to save. If that doesn’t fire them up, nothing will.
I’m going to stick my head out because of this very reason and say, Arsenal won’t lose this. They might not beat Manchester United, but I don’t see them losing.
My prediction? Draw or an Arsenal will.
Go ahead and give us your predictions and also any other factor that you think will influence the outcome of the game!