Old Trafford is no longer the fortress it once was. It needs to be sparked back into action and Wednesday’s visit of Arsenal could prompt that.
When you look at Unai Emeri’s Arsenal side, you don’t quite see the same bunch of pushovers that Arsene Wenger settled with as his managerial career nosedived. Jose Mourinho knew he could rely on a petrified Wenger to cave in when their teams met.
People felt sorry for Wenger, but not United. Not Sir Alex Ferguson, nor the managers that were to be appointed at Old Trafford in his aftermath.
But Emery is trying to build something of his own at Arsenal and you’ve got to admire that. At least he’s not folding his cards before games and exhausting fans through methods of dire football and shameful results.
It’s early days and if the past thought us anything, it could still go either way. Arsenal are beatable with a number of weaknesses, and United have the players to exploit. Pogba against City, Rashford against Liverpool, Martial against Chelsea. These United players may not perform consistently, but they’ve done it in big games, so don’t completely write off the Reds.
However, unlike Arsenal, United’s managerial situation is uncertain. Mourinho is unlikely to be United manager by the start of next season and you’d imagine the players are aware of that. Meanwhile, the Gunners have players trying to work their way into Emery’s plans and things are going too well for it to go flat all of a sudden.
Arsenal were impressive in their 4-2 win over Spurs. They went toe-to-toe with their rivals and wanted it more, winning every battle on and off the pitch. The handbag scenes throughout the game were ace and everything you want to see in a derby. If this fixture can spark a brawl or two, part of me will feel satisfied.
Lucas Torreira has already warned his Arsenal teammates about their visit to Old Trafford, as per TEAMtalk. Perhaps he’s aware of how quickly things can get bad? Hopefully, United can inflict some pain on Arsenal this weekend and put them back a step or two.
Though United are missing too many defenders for the game — not that we have any good ones — and Mourinho might go with Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic in defence again.
As a result, I can’t see us getting anything from this game.
Prediction: Man Utd 1-2 Arsenal – 11/1 via Oddschecker (Bet365)