Arsenal away from home is still a different animal to Arsenal at The Emirates, which is something we must address – so this trip to Old Trafford to take on old enemies Man United is the perfect opportunity to remedy that.
Mind you, the fact we have travelled to Manchester and haven’t won for the last thirteen years means it won’t be an easy task.
We have looked a little better than in the previous two seasons on the road at the very least, although that wouldn’t be difficult. There can be a few reasons for optimism before the game kicks off though.
First and foremost is the wretched form of the home team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may well be at the wheel, but the vehicle itself is currently in the slow lane with engine trouble. The midweek Carabao Cup escape versus Rochdale showed a distinct lack of creativity in midfield, something that the side has been guilty of all season.
We have been firing in the goals so far this campaign, and if we can keep the attack operating as it did in our second half against Aston Villa last week, then we could be in business. If we turn up like we did in the first half though? We could be facing a deficit to claw back.
Regardless of how poorly United are playing right now, they are still a force at home and we are seriously going to have to firm up our brittle backline. They still have players to hurt us and we need to ensure our defenders keep their composure.
Who will Unai Emery pick to finally end our dismal run at Old Trafford?
Alexandre Lacazette is still missing from the squad with his ankle injury, so the red-hot Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should continue up top. All that is left to decide in attack is if Nicolas Pepe will join him up top or from a wide position.
Mesut Ozil started in the 5-0 win over Forest in the Carabao Cup and while he may not have racked up the assists, his work helped the attack flow and stay on the front foot. Will it be enough for a rare PL start?
Dani Ceballos will be his main rival for a spot, but what is up for discussion is central midfield. Granit Xhaka was this week named as captain, so his name in the lineup is almost guaranteed. Will we go for three in the centre or just the sole partner for the Swiss man? If so, then Matteo Guendouzi will most likely get the nod as the young Frenchman is fast becoming an instrumental figure for us.
In defence, the calls for Calum Chambers to start ahead of either Sokratis or David Luiz grew louder after Chambers put in a sumptuous display in the Carabao Cup. Rob Holding Is another champing at the bit to get a start, but this match may be too soon to start for Hector Bellerin, who played the full 90 in our U23 2-2 draw against Liverpool just three days prior.
Player to Watch
The teenage striker is causing waves in the red half of Manchester and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is not afraid to play him. He has broken his duck already and has the full repertoire of abilities. His pace and touch will cause us problems so we need to cut off his supply line to keep him quiet. With Rashford injured, Greenwood will carry his sides hopes of goals.
How this Could Go
The main worry is our ability to make things infinitely tougher for ourselves through stupid errors. We have made more than any other side, and our fondness of giving away penalties – again more than any other – is a real cause for concern at Old Trafford where getting decisions is always rare.
If our defence stick a leg out, we will give away a spot kick and that could murder our hopes of a win. We need to remain cool and prompt United to play around us – something they have rarely done this season. Should we stay staunch, we can grab the points.
It will be down to if we shoot ourselves in the foot. Weed out those errors Arsenal!
Predicted Lineup – Leno, Chambers, Sokratis, Holding, Kolasinac, Xhaka, Torreira, Guendouzi, Pepe, Ceballos, Aubameyang
Predicted Scoreline – 2-1 to The Arsenal