Old Trafford is the venue, football is the game! Arsenal are the visitors and it’s just not about fame. The spicy prospect of Arsenal taking over Manchester United has a new flavour to it this time where the platform is set for the revival of one of the most intense rivalries in the past years. Jose Mourinho and Manchester United, not sitting prettily at 6th in the table face an uphill battle when Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal come beckoning and the contest will not only be about the points because everyone knows it will be much more than that.
United have had a topsy turvy beginning to the season but Arsenal are cruising at the moment. They are unbeaten since the opening day loss to Liverpool at home and they come to the home of the nemesis as favourites after probably many many years. While past record heavily turns the tide against Arsenal, the statistics matter very less in games like these. Saturday’s early kickoff and a victory for Arsene’s men would see them top the table temporarily but if the victory goes to the Portugese Manager and his side, then United would rise to within three points of Arsenal and in an unpredictable league like this, the lead of even three points can be cut short sooner rather than later. However today our focus is on Manchester United alone and how they might possibly line up with the massive match just around the corner.
The biggest blow for the Red Devils will be the suspension of Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the previous match against Swansea. Centre back Chris Smalling is injured and will not be available.
However on the bright side, after speculation regarding the fitness of Wayne Rooney, the English striker will be fit to lead the line. Marcus Rashford is another contender for the spot.
Michael Carrick is available to partner Pogba and Herrera in the midfield. Herrera returns after his suspension having received a red card against Burnley. Right back Antonio Valencia has made a quicker recovery from his elbow fracture than expected and he is likelier to start as well. Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind are all available for selection.
The attacking sector would see Wayne Rooney leading it with Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata providing width and in the midfield will mostly see veteran Michael Carrick play alongside or behind record signing Paul Pogba accompanied by the much passionate Ander Herrera. The backline will be the most crucial and Antonio Valencia is expected to return whereas Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo will be the centrebacks. Luke Shaw might just start ahead of Daley Blind and David De Gea will certainly retain his place as the goalkeeper. There is much to look forward to and the neutrals would only hope that it’s a cracker of a match!