The latest round of the FA Cup sees Arsenal take on old rivals Manchester United, in what is the plum draw of this round.
Manchester United seem revived under Caretaker Boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and now the dark cloud and oppressive tactics of Jose Mourinho have been sent packing, players like Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are once again showing what they are capable of.
Make no mistake, United are looking a far more formidable prospect than they did a couple of months ago, but their unbeaten run under Solskjaer has featured just one decent team, and this visit to The Emirates represents possibly his toughest test since taking the Old Trafford reins.
Unai Emery will be putting much focus into this game, as the Spaniard will be keen to cement his first season with a trophy - and this cup along with the Europa League - represent our best chance. So the lineup will be a strong one - but will the tactics match our supreme effort we displayed in our victory over Chelsea last week?
Emery will want to keep the rhythm and the feelgood factor in his side, so Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will most likely have his partner in crime, Alexandre Lacazette, start with him in a three-pronged attack.
Does that mean Aaron Ramsey will keep his place ahead of Mesut Ozil? The German is fit and ready to go, and with Ramsey potentially moving in this window if a deal can be agreed, could Ramsey be put on ice in order to preserve any budding deal?
Lucas Torreira has forged a strong partnership with Granit Xhaka, and these two started with Matteo Guendouzi last week to good effect. All three will have to be mindful of United’s runners from deep though.
In defence, it has been mentioned that Konstandinos Mavropanos could play, and the young Greek defender had a great game in his debut last season versus the same side. Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis are the other central defenders available for selection.
With Hector Bellerin out for the season, Emery must rotate Stephane Lichtsteiner and Ainsley Maitland-Niles, although Carl Jenkinson is another option should we need it. Maitland-Niles seems to have the edge over the veteran Swiss defender for now, and could get the nod forthis huge game.
Player to Watch
Paul Pogba is slowly appearing to transform into the player United signed from Juventus. Solskjaer has given the French midfielder the license he craves to create havoc, rather than be pigeonholed into a regular position. It has made an instant impact on Pogba.
Pogba has enjoyed a fruitful scoring run and has more importantly, begun to exert his influence on games. At Juve he was a game changer, he wasn’t a box to box man. Pogba grew his reputation by making things happen. Ominously for us, he’s begun doing that again for United.
In order to snuff him out, we need to track his runs. Lucas Torreira is the man to do that, although Lacazette showed fantastic temerity to give Jorginho a torrid time last week. If we stay as tight to Pogba as we did to Jorginho, we can leave United weaker than they are.
How this will go
United have been starting Lingard, Rashford and Martial in attack, leaving target man Lukaku on the bench. So that means that if their pace doesn’t hurt us, then their plan B of the big Belgian could bear more fruit.
We need to utilise the pressing we showed against Chelsea, to shrink the midfield. If we allow United to break, their pace could rip us open, so we could copy what we did against Chelsea.
We let them have possession, but hound them into errors. Then we run forward and have more favourable odds in breaking into the box.
This could go either way, but the last time we played United in the FA Cup, Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal scored to give us a rare Old Trafford win and safe passage in the cup.
Lineup - Leno, Maitland-Niles, Koscielny, Sokratis, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Iwobi, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Scoreline - 3-2 to The Arsenal