With transfer deadline day now over, attention at Manchester United turns to this weekend’s match against Arsenal.
For the second year running, the first post-deadline day game is against Arsenal. Unlike last year when Manchester United won 3-1 at Old Trafford, we are away from home.
And that is a problem. Manchester United’s away record against top teams is dire under Erik ten Hag. It has continued early this season, with a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham.
United do have two home wins, but really need a result of some kind away at Arsenal this weekend to prove a point. A draw would be considered a good result in context.
Merson on Arsenal v Manchester United
Arsenal have not had a faultless start to the season themselves, drawing 2-2 at home to Fulham.
However, an away win for United would be a big call, and not one which former Gunners ace Paul Merson is willing to predict.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, Merson is predicting a 2-1 victory for Arsenal, expecting a close game with Arsenal winning.
He said: “I honestly think this is a hard one to call. Manchester United have had their ups and downs but they can turn up for games. But I’m going with Arsenal because of their home advantage. This one can go one way or the other.”
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Elaborating, Merson picked out Manchester United’s lack of balance as a problem, echoing what most observers have seen so far this season.
He said: “They can’t expect to play Casemiro every game this season. With the amount of talent they have up front, they should be doing better but their midfield is just too easy to cut through.”
United pre-season victory
Manchester United do have one very recent victory over Arsenal which will provide the Red Devils some encouragement.
United beat Arsenal 2-0 in a friendly in New York, and then beat them again on penalties.
From that side, Kobbie Mainoo, Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane are all out injured.
The friendly win doesn’t count for anything but it may just provide a mental boost for United, to offset the away day fears.