All you need to know about Mikel Arteta's Arsenal
Manchester United’s first match of 2020 sees us travel down to London to take on one of our oldest rivals, Arsenal.
A classic fixture throughout the history of the Premier League, games against the Gunners are always eventful affairs, regardless of how well either side is performing.
With Mikel Arteta newly installed in the Emirates’ hotseat and United starting to put results together over the festive period, this is one you do not want to miss.
As we count down to kick-off, here’s the lowdown on Wednesday’s opposition…
Arsenal are in the midst of something of a defensive injury crisis, with Calum Chambers (leg), Kieran Tierney (shoulder) and Sead Kolasinac (ankle) definitely ruled out of the clash with the Reds. Sokratis is also likely to miss out with concussion. Youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Bukayo Saka have been filling in for the Gunners at full-back in recent weeks, and may have to be called on once again, unless Hector Bellerin, who is a doubt with a hamstring problem, can recover in time. Forward Gabriel Martinelli, who has hit eight goals in just under 900 minutes’ of first-team action in his debut season, will be hoping to have recovered from a similar issue in time to play. Granit Xhaka (illness) and Dani Ceballos (hamstring) could also return to boost the home side’s midfield.
Arsenal have experienced their worst-ever start to a Premier League season, and currently sit 12th in the table after 20 games. Since defeating Vitoria de Guimaraes in the Europa League in October, the capital club have won just one of 15 games – a 3-1 success over West Ham United at the London Stadium in early December. The Gunners’ home form has been a particular concern in recent weeks, with a winless run of seven including defeats in the last four to Eintracht Frankfurt, Brighton & Hove Albion, Manchester City and Chelsea. Should United come away from the Emirates on Wednesday with a victory, Arsenal will have lost five consecutive home games in all competitions for the first time in their history.
OUR RECORD AGAINST ARSENAL
Chelsea became the first side to register five Premier League wins at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a number United will match if we can claim all three points on Wednesday. Since the Gunners moved to their current home in 2006, we’ve played them 13 times there in the Premier League, emerging victorious in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2017. We’ve drawn with Arsenal on a further three occasions and lost six times. While we fell to a 2-0 defeat on our last visit to N5, we did record a memorable 3-1 victory in the fourth round of last season’s Emirates FA Cup, courtesy of goals from Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial.
Mikel Arteta, who made 150 appearances for the Gunners between 2011 and 2016, was unveiled as the club’s new head coach on 20 December 2019. Another Arsenal legend, Freddie Ljungberg, had served as interim manager since the departure of Unai Emery at the end of November. Arteta was Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City, but this is his first full-time role in management. The Spaniard had a watching brief for the North Londoners’ goalless draw at Everton prior to Christmas, but was in the dugout for another away point, a 1-1 stalemate with Bournemouth, on Boxing Day. Arteta looked set to experience his first win as boss against Chelsea three days later, but a late Blues’ turnaround condemned the Gunners to defeat in their final game of 2019.
ONES TO WATCH
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored on his Arsenal debut in February 2018 after joining from Borussia Dortmund for a then-club record fee, and he’s barely stopped finding the net since. The Gabon international has registered 45 goals in 69 league games for the North London club, sharing the Premier League Golden Boot with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane last season. Although this campaign has been tough for the Gunners, Aubameyang is currently the second highest marksman in the league, behind Jamie Vardy, and has scored exactly half of the 26 goals the Gunners have managed so far – including the equaliser in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford. The man they call ‘Auba’ is, in fact, looking to become the first Arsenal player since Thierry Henry in November 2001 to score in three consecutive Premier League games against United.
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