Seeking revenge on the only team to have beaten them in the Premier League this season, table toppers Arsenal host third-placed Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Gunners can open up an 11-point gap over Erik ten Hag’s side with victory in front of their ardent fans, while the visitors endeavor to stay within touching distance of Manchester City.
United have an eight-point gap to make up to Arsenal and a three-point deficit to make up to Man City, whose vastly superior goal difference should keep them safe in the runners-up spot for now.
The Red Devils may drop to fourth by the time that Sunday rolls around if Newcastle can do what they could not – beat Palace away from home – but a 16-game scoring streak certainly serves as reason for optimism ahead of a trip to North London.
Not since being thumped 4-0 by Brentford in August have Man United failed to score away from home in the league, and only two of their nine road games since have ended in defeat, although they also have just one clean sheet to their name on rival turf since October.
United exposed the shortcomings of a youthful Arsenal side with a 3-1 win at Old Trafford in September – although it has since been reported that VAR made a mistake in disallowing Gabriel Martinelli’s goal for a foul on Eriksen by Odegaard – and Arteta masterminded victory by the same scoreline over the Red Devils at the Emirates last season.
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 program 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.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Martinez, Shaw; Eriksen, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Rashford; Weghorst