Manchester United VS Arsenal Preview: European Implications

Manchester United take on Arsenal at Old Trafford on Thursday in what will be interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s first game.

Arsenal come into this game with doubts over the fitness of winger Bukayo Saka. Other than that, they can expect to see a continuation of their recent improvement under Mikel Arteta.

The center of their midfield is a concern for an away game against a big side. While Thomas Partey is good, he isn’t fully fit and while Albert Sambi Lakonga is a promising young player giving a good account of himself so far, he is inexperienced and this was evident in Arsenal’s recent defeat at Anfield.

Up front, Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang hasn’t scored in four games and doesn’t seem to fit into Arteta’s system. If he isn’t scoring he isn’t doing anything else, leaving the offensive burden on Arsenal’s young players as a result.


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There is a lot more uncertainty for Manchester United, who are in a precarious position. If they lose, they will be 8 points behind Arsenal and remain 8th in the table.

Normally you might expect the fabled New Manager Bounce to spur a good performance out of Manchester United. However, the temporary nature of Rangnick’s appointment obscures the impact of this. Will the players really go out of their way to impress a guy who’s going to coach them for the next six months before moving into an undefined consultancy position?


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Both Arsenal and Manchester United will have to play with the pressure of Wednesday’s results on their heads. Leicester, West Ham, Tottenham and Brighton all have the chance to put pressure on them in the table.

If Arsenal win, they will at least keep pace with West Ham in joint fourth. If United win, they could move up to a more respectable 6th and keep their European hopes on track.