Arsenal Clash Could be Key in United’s Top-Four Quest
Source: Paul Pogba via Twitter
Man United are not going to win the Premier League title this season; Manchester City are. However, as things stand at the moment, Jose Mourinho’s side look set to finish in the top four and will probably end up second or third. The Red Devils are doing well in the Premier League and are more consistent than some of the other top teams aiming for the Champions League places, such as Chelsea and Arsenal. There is a very good chance that United will progress to the quarterfinals of the Champions League and beyond. The goalless draw with Sevilla in Spain in the first leg of the last-16 tie last month feels almost like a win and a foot in the quarterfinals.
United, though, cannot get complacent about finishing in the top four of the Premier League this season. After all, the Red Devils ended up sixth last season and could feature in the Champions League this campaign only after winning the Europa League. The race for the top four will go down to the wire, and United have to be vigilant and cannot take their eye off the ball, and it will be interesting to see how manager Mourinho handles his squad and rotates the players in the final weeks of the season.
Hard to put into words my emotions about yesterday. City are a good team and deserved to win yesterday. Alot of people have had thier say on us and we have to accept cristism when we loose. That being said i can’t accept some of the decisions that went against us yesterday. … pic.twitter.com/JgdO9ptqCx
— Jack Wilshere (@JackWilshere) February 26, 2018
Source: Jack Wilshere via Twitter
One of United’s key games in their quest to finish in the top four of the Premier League will be their clash against Arsenal at Old Trafford on April 29. It is arguably the Red Devils’ final most difficult game of the season, and a win against the Gunners could just about secure their spot in the top four. For the Premier League giants to win the match, they will need some of their best players to be on top form, including star midfielder Paul Pogba, goalkeeper David de Gea and striker Romelu Lukaku.
Pogba has not exactly been in great form so far this season, and there have been some harsh criticisms of the France international midfielder from well-known pundits such as Graeme Souness. The former Juventus star has lacked consistency and has not always turned up for the big matches. For United to win against Arsenal, the 24-year-old midfielder will have to be on top form and control proceedings in the middle of the park. Lukaku’s form has been sketchy as well, and the Belgium international will be looking to prove a point against Arsenal, having not always scored goals against the bigger teams in the Premier League.
United goalkeeper De Gea will be key as well. Although Arsenal are not expected to barrage the Red Devils’ goal, the Spain international will have to be alert from threats posed by the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Aubameyang has not been an instant hit at Arsenal since his move from German club Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window for £56 million, but the 28-year-old striker could well regain his rhythm in the next few weeks. The Gabon international striker is a proven goalscorer whose pace could make things tough for the Red Devils.
Mkhitaryan failed to make any significant impact at United before his move to Arsenal in January, and the 29-year-old Armenia international will be determined to show up his former club at Old Trafford. Blessed with the versatility to play as an attacking midfielder or as a winger, the former Dortmund star will be key for Arsenal in the midfield.
Another player who will be key for Arsenal against United is Jack Wilshere. Now fully fit and playing pretty regularly for Arsene Wenger’s side, the 26-year-old has established himself as an important player in the Gunners’ midfielder. An all-around midfield player who has the ability to run past opposition players and pick a killer pass, Wilshere, whose chances of being part of the England squad for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia in the summer of 2018 are 4/5 according to Oddschecker, could dominate the match against United.
Arsenal will be determined to win against United at Old Trafford, and Wenger’s side are going to make it tough for the Red Devils. Mourinho’s side are known for eking out narrow wins, and it would not be a bad idea for the former Real Madrid boss to take a cautious approach against an attack-minded Arsenal and play on the counter in order to pick up what could well prove to be three big points.