Mikel Arteta’s perfect Arsenal make the long trip north on Sunday afternoon as they take on longtime rivals Manchester United.
What was once a fierce on-pitch battle between the Premier League’s best two outfits has evolved into somewhat of a social media war between Gooners and United supporters. The days of Roy Keans vs Patrick Vieira are long gone. Now it’s Robbie Lyle against Mark Goldbridge!
The respective falls from grace for both great clubs mean it’s been a long time since the two sides were competing against each other for the most lucrative honors, but both sets of fans believe they now boast the right manager to return them to the promised land.
Erik ten Hag’s reign as United boss got off to a woeful start, but three consecutive wins mean they head into Sunday’s bout with plenty of momentum. Arsenal, meanwhile, top the division through five games, but Arteta will be without several key stars for the weekend’s game.
Predicted Arsenal XI vs Manchester United
Here’s the starting XI the Arsenal boss could pick for the trip to Old Trafford.
Goalkeeper & Defenders
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – Ramsdale is one of several injury doubts for this one, but I think he’ll be fit to start.
Ben White (RB) – White came off midway through the second half against Villa with Arteta perhaps having an eye for Sunday. It was also a good opportunity to hand Takehiro Tomiyasu a more prolonged cameo. Nevertheless, White should retain his place at right-back for Sunday.
William Saliba (CB) – Next.
Gabriel (CB) – It was a less hectic game for Gabriel in the week as Villa rarely posed a threat. The Brazilian was excellent the last time Arsenal won at Old Trafford two years ago and the Gunners will need a similar display from him on Sunday if they are to prevail.
Kieran Tierney (LB) – Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as if Oleksandr Zinchenko will be ready to start on Sunday. Thus, Tierney will get the nod for the third consecutive game.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – The Swiss international continues to impress. Xhaka is playing at such a high level right now and is surely one of the first names on Arteta’s team sheet. It’ll be interesting to see what role he plays on Sunday.
Sambi Lokonga (CM) – Lokonga starred last time out, but this is the most daunting challenge of his Arsenal career thus far. With Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey both missing, the young Belgian will continue alongside Xhaka in the middle of the park.
Martin Odegaard (CM) – Odegaard suffered a knock in the victory over Villa and is a doubt for Sunday’s game. Arteta is hopeful that his skipper will train on Saturday. I’m sure Odegaard himself will be desperate to start a game like this.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – Saka contributed once more in the week and despite many claiming that the young Englishman is enduring a poor run of form, there’s simply no way he gets dropped from the XI. His battle with United’s Tyrell Malacia will be one to watch!
Gabriel Jesus (ST) – Jesus was back on the scoresheet on Wednesday and is a shoo-in to start on Sunday. However, the Brazilian failed to score in 11 Manchester Derby appearances during his time with City.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – Martinelli’s superb start to the season continued in the week as he netted the winner against Villa (thanks, Emi!). He’ll fancy his chances up against Diogo Dalot on Sunday.