Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal have found some momentum at the right time this season as they go into the festive schedule. The Gunners stand fourth in the points table, after their 5-0 victory over Huddersfield earlier this week but they are back in action just days later, when they welcome Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United to the Emirates.
Mourinho and Wenger are not the dearest of friends and will surely look to embarrass the other but both squads have too much quality for them to be outplayed easily. The Portuguese manager might stick to his defensive lineups against big sides but Arsene Wenger thinks otherwise. Here is the predicted lineup he might field for this tie, in search of three crucial points:
Santi Cazorla currently remains the only long-term absentee for Arsene Wenger, who is expected to welcome back Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott, both of whom have picked up recent niggles. Alexandre Lacazette, who limped off at halftime against Huddersfield Town, however, is sure to miss this game.
Expected lineup (3-4-3)
Petr Cech was hardly tested in the previous game against the Terriers but he will have a tougher task this weekend, against a well-drilled Manchester United side. Skipper Laurent Koscielny has found some rhythm in the last few games and will be tough to beat for the likes of Martial while German ace Shkodran Mustafi, has been effective at the heart of the backline and will retain his place in the side.
Veteran full-back Monreal has done a decent job this season but could be the weak link that the likes of Lukaku and Mkhitaryan might want to exploit in this crunch tie.
The Gunners have decent options in the middle of the park but the pairing of Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey has been effective and adds a certain balance to the squad, that is important in these crunch games.
Lack of options on the flanks should see Wenger stick with Hector Bellerin at right wing-back and Sead Kolasinac at left wing-back, both of who will have more defensive duties to perform than they did in the previous round.
While Lacazette is out injured, Olivier Giroud took the opportunity with both hands and picked up a brace. That should give him a chance to lead the Arsenal attack this weekend. Former United star Danny Welbeck has always been productive facing his former side and to give Sanchez a rest, he might be starting this tie on the left flank.
Mesut Ozil was the man of the match for Arsenal in the previous game and will be responsible for the creativity in the final third.
Here is how they might line up