The title race is getting intense in the Premier League 2022-23. Arsenal are well clear in the chase as it stands, but are being hunted down by Manchester City. Although they dropped two crucial points against Crystal Palace recently, one can consider Manchester United, their opponents for Sunday, to be a close contender as well. Erik Ten Hag and Mikel Arteta have have revolutionised both the historic clubs who have been pretty much struggling lately and now, they face off for the ultimate clash.
Arsenal find themselves heading into a match against Manchester United for the first time as title favourites after nearly two decades, possibly only dating back to 2003-04 when they won the Premiership unbeaten. Also, this is just the third time Arsenal will be hosting United while being on top of the table and they won both the matches previously.
Arsenal have been in magnificent form across all competitions. Having entered the next round of the Europa League well before the FIFA World Cup break, they also confirmed their credentials in the next round of FA Cup. They defeated Oxford City comfortably in that competition and talking most recently of their Premier League ventures, well, they went to the hostile territory in Tottenham and registered a scintillating victory.
Manchester United can take some inspiration from the way Newcastle United approached the game at Emirates. The Magpies came to North London and frustrated the Gunners in every possible way to nick a pretty sensational 0-0 result, that momentarily sparked Manchester City’s hopes of doing something outrageous in the title race.
However, with Manchester City dropping points in the Derby against United, Mikel Arteta found his team with an opportunity to go further clear on the table, which they did quite comfortably. A victory against Manchester United could go as far as eliminating one of the big fishes in the league chase a good few months before the business end but they will have to work their socks off to get a big result here. However, history tells us that if a team were to win the Premier League, they got to win games like these.
Arsenal were hunting Mykhaylo Mudryk in the transfer market, but were dealt with a massive blow as Chelsea took the player home against all the odds for a staggering fee. With Gabriel Jesus away for a long period of time, the struggle for Arteta will be to deploy a team without a proper striker. Although Gabriel Martinelli has been proving to be a great source of goals for the side and the side have gone unbeaten in 11 Premier League matches in a row, only failing to score on one occasion.
Manchester United are looking to complete their first league double over Spurs for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson left the club. The Gunners have looked a little shaky in the reverse fixture but Arteta will do everything in his power to ensure he finds the right recipe on Sunday.
They will be disappointed with what happened in the fixture against Crystal Palace. Bruno Fernandes scored early on in the match, but they conceded a late goal which sealed their fate for just one point. As it stands, they’re eight points behind Arsenal, but have played one game extra. A defeat at the Emirates could prove to be a killer blow, which will leave them 11 points behind and with a game played extra.
Adding insult to injury for Erik Ten Hag is the absence of Casemiro in the midfield, who unfortunately picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Palace and will be ruled out for this match.
ARS vs MUN, Premier League 2022/23
Date: January 22, 2023
Time: 10:00 PM IST
Venue: Emirates Stadium, London
Arsenal Premier League form:
Arsenal form (all competitions):
Manchester United Premier League form:
Manchester United form (all competitions):
Arsenal wins: 86
Manchester United wins: 98
Arsenal team news:
Coming through the North London derby unscathed – with Ramsdale fine despite being targeted by a disgraceful supporter attack – the Arsenal lineup will pick itself with Gabriel Jesus still facing several weeks out with a knee injury.
Reiss Nelson is also unlikely to be back from a hamstring issue in time for Sunday, while Mohamed Elneny and Cedric Soares will both need assessing after picking up knocks, although the duo’s chances of starting this one were minimal anyway.
Another goal for Bukayo Saka would see him become only the third Arsenal player to score in three consecutive league games against Man United, following in the footsteps of the esteemed Freddie Ljungberg and Thierry Henry. Martin Odegaard, the Gunners’ skipper, has been in terrific form as well, having smashed eight goals and assisted five more in the Premier League.
The Gunners have now confirmed the signing of Leandro Trossard from Brighton & Hove Albion, and having registered the Belgian attacker before 12pm on Friday, they are keenon making his debut here in this big fixture.
Manchester United team news:
Faces were palmed across the Man United fanbase when Casemiro cynically scythed down Wilfried Zaha at Selhurst Park – picking up his fifth yellow card of the season and incurring a suspension for this crucial clash.
Fred should therefore come in to partner Eriksen in the middle, while Jadon Sancho has returned to training after following an individual programme but is unlikely to be considered for a start just yet.
Diogo Dalot and Anthony Martial’s issues will also need assessing, while Axel Tuanzebe and Donny van de Beek remain out, but Jack Butland will be back on the bench after being unable to face his parent club.
Should Martial not be deemed fit enough, another start will come the way of Burnley loanee Wout Weghorst, forcing Marcus Rashford – who has four goals and four assists from 10 league starts against the Gunners – out wide.
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Xhaka, Partey; Saka, Odegaard, Martinelli; Nketiah
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Eriksen, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst
Arsenal have won five of their last seven home matches against Manchester United and with their ongoing form, they once again are firm favourites to pick up a big win. United do stand a chance of completing a double against the title favourites, but that will be very difficult. Another uncanny stat is that 11 of Arsenal’s 17 wins against Manchester United have come on Sunday.
The Gunners are also in brilliant goal-scoring form this season, having smashed 42 goals already. They also failed to score on just one occasion in their last 18 matches. Only Manchester City have scored more goals than the club and Newcastle United are the only club with a better defensive record. It has been 21 days since the turn of the year and Arsenal have played thrice, but they are yet to concede even once, maintaining their solidity.
As for Manchester United, the onus lies heavily on Marcus Rashford as Antony has not been firing as much as the club would love him to. Their latest acquisition Wout Weghorst is still adjusting to the conditions in the Premier League. Their defence can be a little shaky on occasions, especially on away travels and a cleansheet would be a massive achievement for the side, something they would not be realistically thinking about.
United will try to break out on counters and use their pace on the diagonals. However the side will find it difficult to keep themselves in good shape against the high-flying Gunners unit, who run in different shapes and directions. Our prediction is for Arsenal to crunch a 2-0 win.