Scouting Manchester United’s Next Opponent: Arsenal Dreaming Of Champions League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 19:Juan Mata of Manchester United (R) attempts to take the ball past Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal (L) during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on November 19, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Manchester United return to Premier League action this weekend, after a glorious night in Paris and their rival will be someone who also spent midweek in France. Arsenal will be hosting the Devils in a match that could decide the race for the Champions League places.

Poor Away Form, Home Wins Skewing The Picture

This team has been in a poor away form ever since the 2018 started. Those last six months under Arsene Wenger have been atrocious whenever Arsenal played away from the Emirates, but now it is a similar story in 2019. Arsenal have won just two matches in 2019 away from home, one of them being Blackpool in FA Cup and the other one against Huddersfield, by far the worst Premier League team this year.

Arsenal are also on a run of four consecutive wins at the Emirates, but that in itself is not telling enough. The four teams they have beaten during the run were Cardiff City, BATE Borisov, Southampton and Bournemouth. Yes, it is very important to win against smaller sides rather than slip up, but Arsenal are in need of a big home win – similarly like they won against Chelsea in January or Tottenham in December.

The Need To Look Beyond Aubameyang and Lacazette

Arsenal need to start looking for goals beyond just Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette. Sure, it is great having two players who respectively have 16 and 12 Premier League goals this season, but in the end, when your team has a leaky defence which will inevitably concede more goals than it is good for a side chasing Champions League, than more attackers need to contribute. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is team’s third goalscorer with six goals, while Mesut Ozil has four. And then there is a long list of players with just three goals, including Alex Iwobi.

Also, Arsenal’s 61 Premier League goals are not the most realistic, as there have been hot goalscoring streaks. Their expected goals in the league are 51.44, almost 10 goals less than they actually have. If the team regresses to the mean soon, then their chances of reaching top four will be much slimmer.

Less Time To Prepare

Arsenal will have less time to prepare for this match. Obviously, their match came 24 hours after Man United’s and they were also in France during mid-week. The results have differed heavily, it is worth mentioning, and they will probably have bigger impact on these teams rather than who had more rest. Man United are ecstatic over their huge turnaround in Paris, while Arsenal will be subdued after a 3-1 loss to Rennes. These things could definitely have a big impact on how spirited the teams will be on Sunday.

Four Players To Miss Out

In the end, there are four players which will miss the clash against United. Three defenders are out of contention – Hector Bellerin’s season is already long over, while Stephen Lichtsteiner and Rob Holding will have to sit this one out, as well. Danny Welbeck is the fourth player unable to play and he will miss the encounter against his former team.

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