It appears that Arsene Wenger wasn’t responsible for the mess in north London. Arsenal have performed even worse since Wenger was sacked, and Unai Emery was fired earlier this year after a little more than a year on the job. The Gunners have completely collapsed since Emery was replaced, and the storied club is in the bottom half of the table. At the midway mark of the season, Arsenal are on pace to have their worst campaign in 25 years, and Manchester United can make things worse for the Gunners on New Year’s Day.
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- Arsenal vs Manchester United
- Date and Time: January 1, 2020, 3 p.m. ET
- Location: Emirates Stadium, London, England
- US Television Coverage: NBCSN
- Betting Line: Manchester United PK -119, O/U 3
A few months ago, there were rumors that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could be on his way out at Old Trafford. Manchester United only won twice in their first nine games, falling to 14th in the table. However, the board decided to stay the course, and they have been rewarded for that decision. The Red Devils have only lost twice since that point, moving up to fifth in the table.
Manchester United’s two losses were on the road to Bournemouth and Watford. Those were disappointing results, but this club has repeatedly proved that it can play with the big boys. The Red Devils drew Liverpool at home in late October and defeated Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City within four days in early December. They could only earn a point at home against Arsenal in late September, but they will be gunning for all three points on Wednesday.
After the eighth matchday of the Premier League season, Arsenal were in good shape. Their only loss of the year was to Liverpool in Anfield, and the Gunners were in third place in the table. Everything went awry after that though, and Arsenal haven’t been able to stop the bleeding.
The Gunners have won just one of their last 12 league matches. That one win came on the road against West Ham United, and they have lost each of their last three home tilts. Arsenal blew a 1-0 lead in the Emirates against Chelsea late on Sunday with Jorginho and Tammy Abraham scoring in the 83rd and 87th minutes.
Scott McTominay is the only long-term injury for Manchester United at the moment, and the midfielder is expected to miss a month with a knee injury. Marcos Rojo, Eric Bertrand Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, and Axel Tuanzebe are all supposed to miss this game, but they could be available this weekend.
Kieran Tierney, Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac are long-term injuries for Arsenal that won’t be available until February at the earliest. Sokratis Papastathopoulos will miss this match with a concussion he sustained against Chelsea, and Hector Bellerin and Rob Holding are both doubtful. Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos, and Gabriel Martinelli are all questionable.
Manchester United Player to Watch
Marcus Rashford has been incredible for the Red Devils this season. He has shined despite Paul Pogba’s persistent grumbling and threats to leave, and it’s been Rashford’s play that has helped Manchester United right the ship. Rashford has a team-high 12 goals, and he has scored nine of those goals in the Red Devils’ last 12 games.
Arsenal Player to Watch
It’s hard to imagine how bad Arsenal would be this season without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang has the second-most goals in the Premier League, and he has provided a steady hand up top. He has scored each of Arsenal’s last three goals despite being the only real scoring option on this team.
Arsenal’s issues in the back will cost them a chance at points here. The Gunners have a -4 goal differential, and they are allowing 1.5 goals per game. Injuries have made a fragile back line even more thin, and the Red Devils will take advantage.
English Premier League Prediction: Manchester United 2, Arsenal 1
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