MU v Arsenal Preview/ Line-Up: Emery’s Big Chance to End 13 Years of No PL Win at Old Trafford

Arsenal v Manchester United Away – September 30, 2019

Manchester United was formed in 1878 as Newton Heath LYR Football Club by the Carriage and Wagon department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway (LYR) depot at Newton Heath. The team initially played games against other departments and railway companies, but on 20 November 1880 they competed in their first recorded match; wearing the colours of the railway company – green and gold – they were defeated 6–0 by Bolton Wanderers’ reserve team. By 1888, the club had become a founding member of The Combination, a regional football league. Following the league’s dissolution after only one season, Newton Heath joined the newly formed Football Alliance, which ran for three seasons before being merged with The Football League. This resulted in the club starting the 1892–93 season in the First Division, by which time it had become independent of the railway company and dropped the “LYR” from its name. After two seasons, the club was relegated to the Second Division.

In January 1902, with debts of £2,670 – equivalent to £280,000 in 2019 – the club was served with a winding-up order. Captain Harry Stafford found four local businessmen, including John Henry Davies (who became club president), each willing to invest £500 in return for a direct interest in running the club and who subsequently changed the name; on 24 April 1902, Manchester United was officially born. Under Ernest Mangnall, who assumed managerial duties in 1903, the team finished as Second Division runners-up in 1906 and secured promotion to the First Division, which they won in 1908 – the club’s first league title. The following season began with victory in the first ever Charity Shield and ended with the club’s first FA Cup title. Manchester United won the First Division for the second time in 1911, but at the end of the following season, Mangnall left the club to join Manchester City.

In 1922, three years after the resumption of football following the First World War, the club was relegated to the Second Division, where it remained until regaining promotion in 1925. Relegated again in 1931, Manchester United became a yo-yo club, achieving its all-time lowest position of 20th place in the Second Division in 1934. Following the death of principal benefactor John Henry Davies in October 1927, the club’s finances deteriorated to the extent that Manchester United would likely have gone bankrupt had it not been for James W. Gibson, who, in December 1931, invested £2,000 and assumed control of the club. In the 1938–39 season, the last year of football before the Second World War, the club finished 14th in the First Division.………………………………………………………………………………………………

Arsenal v Manchester United

The first game between the two world famous clubs took place away at North Road, Manchester. It was played on Saturday October 13th 1894 and the game ended in a 3-3 draw. Both teams were in League Division 2 and at the time – United were known as Newton Heath and Arsenal as Woolwich Arsenal.

Here’s a look back at some memorable games between the two clubs.

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal
2011 FA Cup – Quarter-Final

Neither side came into this clash high on confidence with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United having lost their previous two matches against Chelsea and Liverpool, while Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had recently lost a League Cup final to Birmingham and been dumped out of the Champions League by Barcelona. Despite Ferguson naming an extraordinarily defensive side on paper, with seven defenders and Darron Gibson accompanying Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez, it was United who ran out 2-0 winners. Fabio da Silva opened the scoring and Rooney sealed it with a second soon after the break. The joy was short-lived however as United were beaten by rivals Manchester City in their Wembley semi-final.

Arsenal 0-0 (5-4 pens) Manchester United
2005 FA Cup – Final

History was made in Cardiff when the FA Cup final was decided on penalties for the first time with Arsenal beating Manchester United 5-4 on spot-kicks after a goalless draw. United had enjoyed by far the better of the game itself with Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy each hitting the woodwork and when Jose Antonio Reyes was sent off in the final moments of extra-time their dominance was confirmed in numbers as well as chances. But the Gunners showed extraordinary resilience and were blemish-free from 12 yards, while Paul Scholes saw his penalty saved by Jens Lehmann. The winning kick was taken by Captain Patrick Vieira in what was to prove his final game for the club.

Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
2004 FA Cup – Semi-Final

Arsenal had won the FA Cup in each of the previous two seasons and the Invincibles were en route to going unbeaten throughout an entire Premier League season when the sides met at Villa Park in April 2004. However, it was Manchester United who progressed to the final against lower-league Millwall thanks to a 1-0 win. Edu and Patrick Vieira both hit the woodwork for the Gunners but with Thierry Henry omitted from the starting line-up and Ruud van Nistelrooy injured for the Red Devils, it was left to Paul Scholes to provide the incision, firing home from close range just after the half-hour mark. United held on to end Arsenal’s 18-game unbeaten run in the competition and claimed the trophy when they defeated Millwall 3-0 the following month.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
1999 FA Cup – Semi Final

This famous FA Cup meeting between the two clubs had enough drama for five classics. David Beckham opened the scoring by curling into the far corner – the first goal Arsenal had conceded in over seven hours. But Dennis Bergkamp equalised midway through the second half with a great turn and shot and the Gunners could’ve gone ahead when Nicolas Anelka had a goal disallowed for offside. When Roy Keane was sent off shortly afterwards, Arsenal were in the ascendancy and looked set to win it when Phil Neville conceded a last-minute penalty by bringing down Ray Parlour. But Peter Schmeichel saved brilliantly from Bergkamp and when Patrick Vieira surrendered possession to substitute Ryan Giggs, the Welshman scored one of the great solo goals. “The luckiest team won” said Arsene Wenger.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
1983 FA Cup – Semi Final

The 1983 FA Cup semi-final was the second domestic cup competition in which the two teams had faced off that season, with Ron Atkinson’s United already 6-3 aggregate winners over two legs of the League Cup. England international Tony Woodcock gave the Gunners the lead at Villa Park but Bryan Robson came up with an equaliser just before half-time. A 17-year-old Norman Whiteside was the hero for United when he thumped in the winner. “It was a great moment,” Robson told the official Manchester United website recently. “To have won the semi-final and be on the way to Wembley was fantastic.” It was to get better for Atkinson’s team when they beat Brighton at the second attempt to lift the trophy with both Robson and Whiteside among the scorers.

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United
1979 FA Cup – Final

The old cliché about never being more vulnerable than when you’ve scored a goal ought to have been written for this game as Alan Sunderland ensured United’s comeback counted for nothing. The Gunners had gone ahead through Brian Talbot before Frank Stapleton doubled the lead just before half-time with Liam Brady once again the architect. But Gordon McQueen pulled one back from a set-piece with just five minutes remaining and a late equaliser by Sammy McIlroy, wriggling free from his markers, seemed to complete the comeback. However, just as the momentum seemed to be with Dave Sexton’s side, Sunderland popped up at the far post to turn in Graham Rix’s cross and win it for Arsenal. No wonder it was dubbed the ‘Five Minute Final’.

Overall away game record

Arsenal v Man U All Away Games
GP League W D L GF GA
10 Division 2 1 3 6 8 24
63 Division 1 12 17 34 61 120
27 Premier 3 8 16 18 45
100 Totals 16 28 56 87 189

Premier League away game record

Arsenal v Man U EPL Away Games
1 March 24, 1993   1   0 0
2 September 19, 1993     1 0 1
3 March 22, 1995     1 0 3
4 March 20, 1996     1 0 1
5 November 16, 1996     1 0 1
6 March 14, 1998 1     1 0
7 February 17, 1999   1   1 1
8 January 24, 2000   1   1 1
9 February 25, 2001     1 1 6
10 May 8, 2002 1     1 0
11 December 7, 2002     1 0 2
12 September 21, 2003   1   0 0
13 October 24, 2004     1 0 2
14 April 9, 2006     1 0 2
15 September 17, 2006 1     1 0
16 April 13, 2008     1 1 2
17 May 16, 2009   1   0 0
18 August 29, 2009     1 1 2
19 December 13, 2010     1 0 1
20 August 28, 2011     1 2 8
21 November 3, 2012     1 1 2
22 November 10, 2013     1 0 1
23 May 17, 2015   1   1 1
24 February 28, 2016     1 2 3
25 November 19, 2016   1   1 1
26 April 28, 2018     1 1 2
27 December 5, 2018   1   2 2
Totals 3 8 16 18 45

I acknowledge that stats don’t count for anything on game day but they show that it takes a brave person to be confident of a win at Old Trafford – the writer is one of the brave but I once read that a coward dies a thousand deaths while a brave man only dies once, oh boy – am I prepared to die for the cause……………??


TotalArsenal’s Favourite Line-Up to Slay the Mancs:

This is unlikely to be Emery’s line-up, but one can only hope.


109 thoughts on “MU v Arsenal Preview/ Line-Up: Emery’s Big Chance to End 13 Years of No PL Win at Old Trafford

  • Great stuff as always, GN5! We have an abysmal record there and reading your stats doesn’t make me feel very hopeful. MU are suffering at the moment but what is the chance of them kick-starting their season with a thumping win against us on Monday? I fear Emery will play with a soft midfield and leave far too much space between defence and midfield again. The Mancs will love the space and the many chances they are likely to get. Alternatively, he has us sit back way too much and we are unable to go forward with any conviction… Will he get the balance right this time round??

    On Monday, it will be 13 years and 13 days since we last won there…. Unlucky for some?!

  • Great summary, GN5!
    And the proposed line-up is even better. With those XI we would break not only the long not-winning streak at Old Trafford, but also would start piling up away wins against TOP 6 opponents.
    I similarly believe that the line-up is too good (or brave) to be true, but let’s hope that the Manchester squad – taking current form and injuries into consideration – would succumb to a more conservative Arsenal approach as well.

  • From previous post.
    “Well PE you get only away with being stubborn if you are a Genius with results, or ability to convince decision-makers. 😀” @ TA

    Absolutely TA. Now that he’s got his team fully assembled (Holding and co and Pepe and co) the benefit of doubt that he’s been enjoying from the decision makers would now come to stricter test.

  • N5,

    Good stuff. One thing I know about statistics is that patterns must brake. After 13 yrs, 13 days Man U is overdue for a spanking by us. Their catalogue of injuries is part of the scheme of nature to favor our victory. Our three players I want on the field are Tierney, Holding and Chambers.

  • TA, I won’t change anything in your line up. At the moment yours, IMO, is our best team. Am feeling confident we’d get a positive result come tomorrow.

  • GN5. Another fine pre-match.

    The match doesn’t have the fire and brimstone of years ago due to the loss of SAF and then Merinho. Nor are there any “enforcers” like Keane or Ince/Robson/Scholes/P. Neville. There aren’t even any MU players I hate like Sheringham or Horseface.

    That said, McTominay is a vicious little bastard and a diver. Thinking of divers Daniel James loves a reverse two and a half somersaults with pike.

    If we start TA’s team, we win

  • TA, maybe that should read 13 years and 13 days we have not won “in the league”. We won in the FA cup (Welbeck scored the winner) at OT, March 2015.

    That’s said, fine preview, yet again, G5; it’s a different era now and I’d say Emery does have a not-so-bad record against the rest of the top 6 (save Pool and City). As for the line-up, we know Emery won’t start Ozil and Guendouzi will be in there, somehow. But, I like the rest of the selection. If we start on the front foot and are aggressive, Man U will wilt as they are presently a fragile lot.

  • Agreed Erik, it is hard to really dislike any of the Mancs except for the fact that they wear the shirt with the horrible golden cross at the front. I just hope we aim to control the midfield with men and then take the game to them with our (currently) superior attacking power.

  • Brilliant post, G5!

    If I’d mention a few memorable games, then we couldn’t forget either of our first two Wenger’s 1-0s at OT as those two effectively won us the league. Marc Overmars’ memorable finish in 1998 and Sylvain Wiltord’s pounce in 2002 will never be forgotten.

    When it comes to our poor league run at OT, we have to check what happened since then. In our last victory at OT, 1-0 in 2006, we won with a team of Lehmann-Eboue, Djourou, Toure, Gallas-Rosicky, Ljungberg, Gilberto, Fabregas, Hleb-Adebayor. Baptista and Flamini were introduced later on.

    Take a look at that team and you’ll see four Invincibles in the starting XI – Lehmann, Toure, Ljungberg and Gilberto with Henry being injured. We dominated the game like never before and should have thrashed them with a four or five goal margin. The ball was ours and they were kept at the arm-length with Gallas giving a top defensive performance.

    Next season, we did the same, except they were incredibly lucky and won the game with Hargreaves’ free-kick. Again, four Invincibles in the line-up with Clichy replacing Ljungberg.

    What I’m trying to say is, when we had that old core of champions in the team, OT wasn’t the place where we would arrive with our pants down.

    Ever since then, we were acting like we want to be beaten (I even have a theory that Arsene prefered Ferguson to win the title over the oil-rich clubs like Chavs and City). The same mentality has been kept even after SAF had retired. Just take a look at the results.

    David Moyes, the Scottish Unai Emery, has kept a clean sheet and won 1-0.

    Louis van Gaal, well past his best, was held to 1-1 but only thanks to a late own goal. We went through first half without making a single shot on goal. All that only two months after a superb FA Cup victory at OT over the same rivals.

    In our second visit to LvG, we were absolute favourites, not just because we had beaten Leicester in a dramatic fashion two weeks earlier. United were seriously depleted by injuries so Carrick had to play a CB and their striker was handed a Premier League debut. They won 3-2 and the young striker Marcus Rashford scored a brace.

    In 2016-17, Jose Mourinho was in charge. Again, we were favourites to win but we couldn’t do anything to threaten De Gea until the very end when Olivier Giroud headed home Oxlade-Chamberlain’s perfect cross to secure us a 1-1 draw.

    Then we played a largely pointless game in the spring 2017-18 with our eyes set on both Arsene’s departure and Europa League campaign. We lost 2-1 with Fellaini’s injury-time winner.

    Last season, we paid our last visit to Mourinho and took the lead twice before being frustrated to a 2-2 draw. We also lost our Rob Holding to a horrific injury who is yet to play in a PL game ever since. We should have won the game but we handed them two easy goals, especially the second one.

    It’s painful to acknowledge even Spuds have won at OT three times since our last league victory there.

    Right now, United look like a team that is ready to sack their manager without a clue who to appoint next. Solskjaer’s United have been poor in front of the goal since their great victory in Paris as they have averaged less than a goal per league game since then. They do have a few talented forwards though – Dan James has a brilliant shooting technique with his right foot and Mason Greenwood is another Rashfordesque revelation. That annoying creature Jesse Lingard is always ready to score against us and Paul Pogba, for all stick he gets, is among the most talented players in the league. The absence of Martial, if the reports are true, is a good thing for us as well as Rashford’s – they have scored 5 out of their 8 league goals.

    What I fear of is exactly what TA has mentioned. Put a midfield that is not good enough and our defence will be exposed to their counter-attacking. Torreira has to play. No Xhaka-Guendouzi bull shit axis.

    Maybe there is still time to sack Emery and hand it to Freddie. He had a thing to score against them. He scored on his Arsenal debut against United in our 3-0 victory, he scored in both games in 1999-2000, he scored an equalizer at Highbury before Henry’s brace in 3-1 victory and it was his shot Wiltord pounced on to secure us the double in 2001-02.

  • Yeah, I know, TA. Posted that with a smirk on my face; to be honest, I didn’t pay too much attention to the title of the post. 😀

    Admir, thanks for bringing back those memories. Now, I am worried about the game seeing as we’ve appeared unable to muster a win there for a while, especially when we seem favourites to do so, as we are for this one.

    Something’s got to change this time around.

  • Between GN5 and Admir’s contributions (thanks, both)– I’ve had a good weekend dose of Arsenal, with the match yet to come.

    Thinking a nighttime contest might be an equalizer of sorts mentally. Don’t have the stats in-hand to corroborate, but my sense is that Arsenal have been pretty successful under Emery, when playing away, on weeknights. Which is the extent of my optimism.

    United, a club in some disarray, should be on its’ collective back foot tomorrow. Unless Emery’s plans offer an opportunity for them to lean forward. Not outside the realm. Three returnees to the squad should dictate a strong XI. But predicting whether the manager will take all of the advantages available to him– has been a fool’s errand to this juncture.

    Watched again last night the West Ham 2 – 0 United match (on 9/22) . The Hammers had control of the midfield. Mark Noble and Declan Rice were solid. Neither were any more than that– just what was called for.

    Sadly, experience tells me that Emery will, once again, get some aspect of preparation, team selection, or match strategy very wrong. We’ll again be faced with a hope that either Auba or Matteo, or ‘this-week’s-hero’ might rise above and gain us a result at OT.

    Or we could simply start with 10-men. 🙈🙉🙊


  • My main concern is our lack of control in the mid-field, even a poor United will use that to their advantage. Given our abysmal record at Old Trafford all we can do is hope that this turns out to be one of our very rare victories. During the EPL era we have scored less than one goal per game at United (.67gpg).

    Sixteen league wins in one hundred visits does not lead to a great deal of optimism – but new trends have to start sometime, so why not tomorrow?

  • Great, detailed preview N5. I like your line up, but expect Emery as usual to start Guendouzi. Also, though I think Chambers has looked good lately, and deserves to play, I remember very well that he could not deal with pacey wingers. I think he’s quick for a center half, not so much for a fullback.
    I think United’s attackers are so overrated on talent, but they are quick.
    On my previous comments about Xhaka… he would totally be in my mix if I were coach, but I would like to see more variety and rest for him. He is a great orchestrator under many circumstances, but not ideal in some, like against good pressing teams. I’d keep Torreira back as dm most of the time, unlike Emery making him box to box. I’d definitely sub Granit when we need less slow footed defending.
    I’m watching Leicester at the moment. I used to mock Brendan Rodgers, and scoffed at him as a possible Arsenal manager. I also felt the same about Mourinho. My opinion of Emery lately has me reconsidering all that. I like much of what he’s doing, but I can’t get past the lack of defensive discipline. I’m looking for a solid run starting this week.

  • The problem with using Xhaka on and off is that it would leave us with mixed levels of organisation and leadership in midfield and that is the main reason Xhaka has played 45 games per season since he joined us.

    I also expect Guendouzi to start but I hope it is instead of Willock and not instead of Torreira in my preferred line up.

  • Am more exited about the thought of Tierney and Chambers starting. It’s been a patchwork playing with fullbacks who are not defenders. Once such weak links exist in a team its effect radiates to other areas of the field so much so it can become difficult to identify the problems root cause.

    What I don’t yet have any idea about is how well of a passer Tierney is. If he is better than Kola in that area (Kola’s is so restricted) it would enhance our ability to pass out from the back. Better still if Holding also starts ahead of Sokratis.

    The big question is if Emery would be ready to make 3 changes to the back line. If fitness permits I don’t see why not. The sooner they begin to get use to each other the better. Meanwhile Niles becomes another contender in the midfield.

  • Hey fellas… (And congrats to PE, for winning “the contest,” if I’m reading the picks correctly)

    I saw this on the telly this morning…… It’s on the longer side but there’s a Mike Dean moment at the end for which you might want to hang around… Plus a bit of the football “comedy” we get here in the States…(with a wry, but sad and quite spot on conclusion)…

    Anyhow, give it a watch and report back… (Same with the match itself tomorrow, which I’ll be missing for a doctor’s visit scheduled long, long ago…)

    Now, I’m no fan of these pundits (they will rehash these talking points over and over and over…at every opportunity…just to antagonize Gooners in the moment) but, the canned pieces are decent enough (if you’re in the right mood)… I object to the (lazy) Emery is no different (or has made no improvement) from Wenger (when it comes to defending) criticism and some other talking points. (IMO, we’re playing an entirely different system, and, despite being somewhere between unwatchable and cringe-worthy, I think it’s actually bound to be kinda OK for finishing near the top of the middle of the table, given the current depth of the squad–and the troubles elsewhere.) In general, from what I’ve seen, I think our promotion campaign (back to CL football) appears pretty promising

    That said, I’m fading out in my interest/commitment to this Arsenal team, which feels FAR too results oriented. (According to wiser men on this site, Emery could get the sack if we take a beating in tomorrow’s match–or he’d already have been gone if ManCity had put 8 past Watford before we gave up our two goal lead at their stadium…?!?) It’s not like that, I don’t think (we’d need to be around 20-25 points in January to get Freddy by February, IMO…), BUT, it’s just a long (and grim) grind to see if we can finish top 2 out of the usual suspects (and maybe Leicester)…or enter via the (Back) Door-Ropa competition.

    Arsene never liked that idea (promotion by winning the Ropy League), but, as he would also say, football is a results game. Match to match they (results) seem quite arbitrary and capricious (as they say) but, over time, pretty (f*cking) predictable. Or at least they were for 10 of the dozen or so “Wenger Out” seasons, where the BIG thing I was told is that 4th place is NOT a trophy. So, week to week, we can ride our feelings (up and down) and put out a mess o’ opinions (or “ideas” like starting 11s)…but, I have to ask (myself at least) where’s the excitement (or even better yet, the DEEP feeling or even love or passion)?…

    Did I miss a bit? (Of actual passion led by the players on the pitch–i.e., NOT by the guy who is now our captain, or the slight German fella who is one of his back-ups?…) Coming from a goal and a man down, twice, vs Villa last weekend must’ve been something to see but it’s just one match and I remember quite a few during last season’s unbeaten run where the lads got up (late) for a respectable result. No doubt those are exciting but they also take a toll and I’m looking for something else, a sense that we’re working on a project that folks can get behind. IMO, we need EVERYBODY (players, management, Gooners) pulling in the same direction in order to attract neutrals to the BIG PROJECT, which is making Arsenal not just first alphabetically but in ALL WAYS and justifying the price of it all (the stadium, the tickets, the transfers, the salaries AND the money pocketed by the Kroenkes and/or given away to their cronies), and most importantly the time and mental/emotional energy that I (and everybody else) put into it…

    Anyhow, I just wanted to put that out there BEFORE the game at Old Trafford tomorrow night, you know, so I’m not (overly) swayed by the result (and/or performance) on a single night. That said, I think it’s an important match and I kinda like the Monday night football. As I remember from 40-45 years ago, with the American (hand-ball…) game, it was something that all (or most) sports fans tuned into (at least over here, in the earlier days of televised sports, when there was little else to distract). So, with the soccer (football) world tuning in (maybe?), what does this game have in store?…

    We shall see… (And, I’d post some Hank Williams Jr.–“Are You Ready for Some Football?” but I know that WordPress would reject two in the same comment… Or maybe I should go with his dad, Hank Williams and “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry,” or “You Win Again,” etc, etc…)

    Finally, cheers for the posts GN5 with the history stuff and the long one by Pbarany which I think is sorta/kinda/maybe an argument to get behind the current manager… Also, there are some good comments in there too…

    Enjoy the match. It’s still Sunday here but…Happy Monday…

  • Speaking of Manchester United, I have watched most of their games this season. Here is a brief report:

    1.Man U v Chelsea 4-0 – they did Chelsea in a way Ferguson did Arsene in the latter stages of their rivalry: Chelsea missed big chances and made stupid defensive mistakes that allowed United to hit them hard. One of the most deceiving 4-0 scorelines I can recall of. Pogba got two assists even if he had a quiet overall game. (I had a huge piece in my mind about Pogba and Mesut but couldn’t find time to write it down. Joys of parenthood, eh.)

    2.Wolves v Man U 1-1 – United went ahead through Martial but the hosts replied with a fantastic strike by Ruben Neves. Pogba should have won the game for United but his penalty was saved by Rui Patricio.

    3.Man U v Palace 1-2 – the first goal for Palace was a travesty of defending by the hosts. Rashford missed a penalty – his shot hit the post. James thought he secured a point for United when he equalized with a lovely finish (I really like how this kid shoots) but Van Aanholt won it for the visitors. Palace are arguably the most counter-attacking oriented team in the league as they are one of rare teams that look better away than at home.

    4.Southampton v Man U 1-1 – United took the lead through another James’ strike but Vestergaard beat Lindelof in the air to equalize. The visitors couldn’t exploit Danso’s red card and the game ended 1-1. Man U had more chances but they were restricted to one goal.

    5.Man U v Leicester 1-0 – one bizarre piece of trivia: when Leicester won the league in 2015-16, one of very few teams that they didn’t beat was Van Gaal’s Manchester United. Now, Leicester look like a better bet for a Top 4 finish than Man U but they still couldn’t get anything at Old Trafford. Rashford scored the winner from the penalty spot.

    6.West Ham v Man U 2-0 – Pellegrini’s side beat United routinely.

    A few observations:

    1) United have scored half of all their goals in their first game of the season.

    2) They have been awarded a penalty in four out of six games including in ALL THREE home games. Given our tendency to give away penalties, maybe it’s the only safe bet for tomorrow night.

    3) They have had just three scorers – Martial (2), Rashford (3) and James (3). Of three, James is the only one that is likely to play.

    4) They have scored more than one goal in just one game.

  • Sorry you got to miss the game for a doctor’s visit, Seventeenho, but health always comes first!

    Agreed with your overall sentiment, even though I cannot see us finish in top-4 unless we see a dramatic improvement in our football (system of play, balance between defending and attacking, etc..)

  • Admir, I watched most of those games too. I thought Chelsea played really well but there was indeed a Wenger-Arsenal feel about that game. We could easily fall in the same trap of attacking with too many players at once and leave the Mancs all that space to run into. They would love that. I will await the line up and then prepare myself mentally for what could happen…

  • Fine observations, Admir.
    I’m quite optimistic about the game (which I also have to sit out due to a bridge championship taking place every Monday evening), and I expect a convincing, undisputed win rather than a lucky 0:1 or 1:2.
    However, what I expect and what actually happen are way too different to pursue a pundit career…

  • Monday nights are not for football, Pb. They are for extra wine or bridge championship games… But maybe it works for us this time round. Not sure how you can expect a win, given our away record (there and in general under Emery) but I hope your expectations turn into roaring reality! 🙂

  • Last night I found a bizarre bit of statistics.

    The last time Arsenal scored more than two goals at OT was…in 1970-71!

  • Well that is one for GN5, Admir! 🙂

    But blimey, let’s hope Pepe gets his first there tonight, Auba scores his one goal a game and Xhaka blasts one in from afar – have I forgotten anybody?! 😳

  • Pb, you can pursue a pundit career. It’s the safest job in the world ….. miles of the mark and never held liable. 😂

  • I have such a positive feeling about tonight’s game. It is based on the fact that I believe I’d see Tierney and one or both of Holding and Chambers plus Man U being in the doldrums (morale/injuries). Maybe banking on the law of averages too.

  • We probably start with Leno, Kola, Sok, Luiz, Chambers, Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ceballos, Auba, Pepe and Saka. So no I am not confident at all. But I am glad that you are, PE. And you won this weekend’s predictions game so maybe you are on a roll…..

  • Admir.

    Arsenal scoring 3 or more goals at Old Trafford has only happened 5 times in 100 league games.
    Oct 13 1894 (3-3)
    Apr 27 1909 (1-4)
    Apr 16 1962 (2-3)
    May 06 1963 (2-3)
    Dec 19 1970 (1-3)

  • Betting this won’t be a high-scoring affair this time either.
    Looks to be a 100% chance of rain, probably heavy– for several hours, starting just prior to game time.

    I’ve lived in hurricane-likely areas almost all my life.
    Never seen one originate where this one did– and turn due North upon spawning.


  • Maybe, TA. On maybe it’s gone with the week just gone.

    Am not worried about the composition of the midfield. To me there’s little to choose amongst the lot. One gives a little bit more spirit, another more energy, another more awareness and so on.

    I want Tierney in. Between him and Kola is a huge difference. Chambers hasn’t got the speed of Niles but am more concerned with aggressive closing down. I wouldn’t use 18 yr old Saka in a match that could turn high octane.

  • Speaking of United, I’ve been thinking about their problems for a while (not that I’m not happy about them) and I stumbled upon a list of the last 20 Ferguson’s transfers at United. Not a single central midfielder was on that list. It includes top purchases such as (sigh) Van Persie, De Gea and Valencia but also flops like Bebe, Büttner and Kagawa (who was No.10 but never ever found his feet in England).

    Moyes’ first signing was Fellaini.

    Van Gaal signed Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger, Blind and Herrera.

    Mourinho signed Pogba, Matić and Fred.

    That’s eight expensive central midfielders of which only the last three are still at the club with one of them begging for leave, one of them being past his best and the last one being considered as a flop.

    And still, during this post-Fergie era, their best CM was Michael Carrick.

  • Looking at your team selection Total I would offer just two other possibilities Cebbbalos for Ozil and Kolasinac for Willock.

    Solskjaer will be revving his team up to use this game as the catalyst needed to reassert their chances of a top four position.

    Emery’s task will be to make a quick start to keep the United crowd out of the game, a quiet Old Trafford will be a great boost for Arsenal and like a death toll for United.

  • Here’s a team news update ahead of Monday night’s match at Manchester United:

    Alex Lacazette
    Left ankle. Alex continues to rehabilitate the injury to his left ankle and is likely to be back in action in October.

    Emile Smith Rowe
    Substituted just before half time on Tuesday as a precaution after a collision. Continues to be assessed and will follow a graded return back into full training.

    Dinos Mavropanos
    Now back in full training with the first-team squad and available for selection.

  • PE, good of you to say that re the midfield composition (I am starting to think you may be Unai in disguise hahahaha 🙂 ). I disagree of course, but now I know how you are thinking. The difference between a midfield of Xhaka-Torreira-Willock(if must be Guendouzi) and Xhaka-Guendouzi-Ceballos is immense imo. The latter is nowhere near top-8 PL material let alone top-4, and if that is the way Emery is thinking I may not even watch the game. I have a feeling that tonight’s game will be pivotal for the season and possibly Un(a)ited…

  • Gunner5, that makes our work more clear cut. Score 3 goals and we are certain to leave OT with a result. Simples!

    Interesting piece of stat there, Admir. Does that mean Fergie didn’t place much value on midfield during the period of his last 20 transfers or simply relied on the academy and/or trusted current players to do the job, while he focused on defence and attack?

  • TA .. or maybe his paid agent 😂. I don’t want to say this loud, but am not sure am keen on Ceballos (dare I say the King is naked?). He is a bit of neither-here-nor-there for me. Early days though.. Guendz’s tracking and defensive awareness are quite poor, but he’s got so much fight and he’s turning into our best creator away from the flanks. Something of 8/10. With his enthusiasm (maybe unstructured) he ends up a 6/8/10. Is it an asset or a liability?

  • PE, I think Ceballos is a fine squad player to have and once he is settled in he will add to the team, but as against Pool, I fear he would be swamped tonight. Guendouzi in the team is fine with me but not instead of either Xhaka or Torreira. I am a big fan of Willock who really seems to have everything you want in a midfielder, plus he has that rare self-confidence for such a young man. If I compare Willock with Guendouzi then I believe the former is more the complete package right now, but both absolutely have a future at Arsenal.

  • 18 players identified in the squad to Manchester. Ozil and Tierney missing. I hope the camera simply missed them.

  • I like Willock’s energy and all round play. I feel he’d grow up the best of the lot. And that’s not far from now

  • Wan-Bisaka said to be out with mystery injury. That would be a huge loss to Man U. He is a terrific right back especially defensively.

  • @goonereris

    Ferguson’s tactics in the latter years were simple: win as many games as you can. That’s why you need a top striker. Or two. Van Persie and Rooney were two top scorers in 2011-12. Nani and Young were excellent wingers with Rafael and Evra as attacking-minded FBs. He couldn’t cope witg the passing rollercoaster of Barca and Arsenal but also couldn’t switch to possession-based football over night. That’s why he tried to get the best of Welbeck – quick, strong, tall, ideal for counter-attacking football – and signed Zaha (who looked like a Ronaldo v2.0 to me at the time – a raw potential with pace and tricks that are yet to find their purpose).

    His midfield ideas were limited to either promoting youngsters (Cleverley) or pulling one passmaster he had back from retirement (Scholes). He did want to sign Nasri and Modrić but couldn’t beat their suitors.

    Now, Solskjaer uses two academy products (McTominay and Pereira) with addition of either Pogba or Matić.

    Oh, yes: no Tierney and no Özil tonight. It’s gonna be a long Monday night.

  • Well summarized there, Admir, re: the ferries twilight years.

    Maybe, this game will be too soon for Tierney; Old Trafford isn’t easy to go to and United are not Forest.

    PE, If Wan-Bisaka is out of it, I would celebrate that. He is one tough kid to go past and Saka would have had a torrid time unless Kolasinac and he double up on him.

  • TA, against Liverpool, I feel Ceballos was restricted by Emery’s tactics on the day and a bit of Liverpool’s pressing (occasioned by our tactics of playing narrow, defensively). If he had instructions to strut his stuff and link up with our attackers, rather than defend, maybe he won’t have looked so overawed by the hosts. My opinion.

  • Ceballos. Early days. The man has clearly got talent but whether the PL is the place for him remains to be seen.

    Tonight. No Tierney or Ozil? FFS what is happening at AFC? Perhaps Tierney is undercooked but Ozil?
    I am not one for conspiracy theories but we had a recent visitor who suggested that there was something askew with Ozil. Perhaps he is right. To not play our best player in such an important game is bizarre, especially given the lack of Lacazette.

    Still… who knows? Perhaps Emery does.

  • Ceballos was absolutely amazing in his first game, and has been average ever since – I fear that the coach has him playing out of his comfort zone.

  • I’m already nervous about the defense and worried that young Saka will get overwhelmed by the occasion.

  • We will miss Ozil in this one, GN5, but Saka may just play with the nothing to lose attitude, just like Rashford did for the Mancs a couple of years ago..

  • Just listened to Emery’s pre-match interview and it now pretty much confirmed to me that he doesn’t value Mesut Ozil at all. He pretty much had nothing to say at all except “not today” when asked about Ozil. It very much saddens me and pisses how awful and uncalled for Emery is treating our own Mesut. My guess is Mesut will be gone in either of the next couple of transfer windows. What a way to try to ruin a fantastic player’s career, Unai! Thanks a lot and great job! 😥😣

  • Gino,

    I really worry that Emery is forcing the players into his “version?” of football and is coaching all the wonderful skills out of our gifted players, ie: Ozil, Pepe, Torreira, (the departed Niki).

  • On Ozil. bad contract decision, with a new coach incoming. This is as bad as it could have played out. But I think Emery could have handled it much more diplomatically, and got something out of the player, or at least enough to show he’s still viable as a talent to attract another club. That’s a big part of managing. It’s not coddling if it’s good for the club to save the relationship.

  • You are right to be worried TA. It seems to me that Emery is so worry about losing this cushy job that he just wants to win no matter how ugly. So, gifted, highly technical players are no longer to express themselves on the pitch because they have to play Emery’s way or risk getting benched or sometimes being left out completely.

    We might as well get used to winning ugly and playing awful football as long as Emery is in charge. SAD!

  • My prediction: Pogba will look like a world-vlass CM, Rashford will look like a deadly striker and United will look like a serious team, all because we haven’t given Emery an hour to empty his desk.

  • I am angry about Ozil omission but let’s focus on the game. I reckon Xhaka will play a bit deeper and both Torreira and Guendouzi will push up regularly to fill the hole left behind by Mesut’s omission. That will leave Xhaka exposed of course but without this we just don’t have enough creative passing in the final third.

  • Rashford listed in the United XI.
    Surprising with the wet weather. Considering he’d left last week’s match with thigh or hamstring strain issues.

    OLE showing desperation at a player’s expense?


  • Hmmm. I see a silver lining with the team on show, actually. We’ll just have to wait to find out.

  • almost ten minutes played and we lack calm with the ball, especially up-front. Need to settle down a bit and now Chambers is on a yellow. But xhaka and torreira are keeping the centre solid. Pepe sort yourself out man, and show what you are capable of.

  • TA , you or someone else have commented this season, the midfield seems disjointed from the front 3. Same so far today. Also, Chambers making further forward runs than Pepe. Our cb’s still very high.

  • robert pires commenting on canal+: “arsenal play exactly as ue has asked them to play”
    parking the bus against the ghost of a top-six team, allardycing the arsenal football club, so that was the “enthusiasm” we were promised?
    not expecting anything from the second half, but looking forward to thursday: at least there’s an outside chance mesut and joe will be picked (not even sure of that)

  • This is like watching Newcastle v Brighton.

    And of course the commentators go wild over a Man U game.

    FFS Emery let the team loose we need at least a point………….

  • Awful team selection.

    Awful shooting technique by Pepe. He looks like far worse than Gervinho.

    Xhaka should be in the same bus with Emery. A captain who ducks is a coward.

    I’d take Mourinho with both hands now, just to get rid of Emery.

    It should be a rule: if Laca can’t play, Mesut has to.

    Saka is the only positive for me from the first half. He reminds a lot of Cristiano Ronaldo when he was his age. That’s why we need someone who won’t ruin him.

  • Saka and Pepe a story of weight above shoulders. The game really, really is missing Mesut for that bit of passing composure and finishing. IF you play Xhaka, Torreira and Guendouzi in midfield, which I applaud, you do need to play another attacking midfielder on the wing…. The game is crying out for Mesut but the man is left handling his remote control……..

    We don’t and we do deserve to be behind, but that is for later analysis.

  • It’s a very dreary watch when you think of the potentials of the team. I think Pepe just hasn’t done much to warrant starting the 2nd half, unless someone is going to gee him up for it. Young Saka is giving Ashley Young more trouble, for Pete’s sake.

    Emery’s tactics of having us sit back to absorb pressure then try to hit on the break, is affecting the forwards; you just feel if Saka gets the instruction to run at Young, there is more he can show. As for the goal, I saw a few opportunities to cut off the danger before it became imminent but we just seem to lack the nose for trouble.

    This United team can’t prevent us scoring goals but only if Emery allows them play. And I know the conditions not the best. Now, maybe they have us where they want us; coming forward to seek a goal while they wait patiently for the breaks.

  • I just don’t like the way we play nowadays. We used to dominate possession and get teams tired. Now all we do is play defense (or at least try to) and rely on the counter all the time. There is no impetus, no combination plays, no sexiness to our football anymore. It is not pretty on the eye.
    It really baffles me how Man U was able to score from our damn corner. Why did we only leave one player (slow Guendouzi) near the midfield line to defend (against an always possible counter) while everyone else was in Man U’s box? Come on Unai!!! It was almost halftime!
    We must be very allergic to clean sheet or something.

    Let’s go get 3 goals now!

  • How does emery make the decision to sub off Torreira in this game? On comes Ceballos, anyway.

  • We were almost caught on the break there but for Guendouzi’s headed clearance. We are a bit cowardly (save a few players), frankly. I would take off Pepe for Willock and wait a bit before bringing on Ceballos. Aubameyang puts the ball in the net and Var checking it. Looks a goal.

  • And Saka now blasts one well over the bar. But VAR checked for something but nothing given.

  • This is quite painful to watch. I am trying to figure out which team is the worse. I hope we can hold on for the tie.

  • A better 2nd half, well at least we showed some spirit and didn’t lose the game.
    So far Pepe is the most expensive flop in Arsenal history.

  • I am glad we got at least a point out of this somewhat boring game but I think we were very lucky. Looks to me like the referee would have awarded Man U a penalty (by way of VAR) for a handball (slightly raised arm) by Kolasinac but the play never stopped and just went on forever, and amazingly, we got away with it. Then we scored a few minutes later. We were lucky there and we were also lucky that VAR intervened in our favor for the (non)-offside goal. That linesman needs to pay a visit to the optometrist.

    I am however worried that we will not be able to make top 4 playing like this. Hopefully, our returning players will give us a much needed boost going forward. Oh how we miss Lacazette… But a point is better than no point and we will take it.

    On to the next game.

  • To put our mediocrity in perspective we are 9 points (3 games) behind Liverpool after 8 games played!!!

    Our best hope is that we are in an “also ran” place for 3rd or 4th place. Sorry to have to state the sad facts……………………..

  • another shameful performance under ue’s watch – where and when will it stop, i wonder?
    what this mamager’s been doing to mesut for more than a year is a disgrace for the whole club
    martinell-nelson): what a great team we’ll have … thursday, to weaponize standard liège, in the group stage of the europa league!! (although i suspect ue will find another twisted way of humiliating mesut even further)
    this is getting so ridiculous …
    but of course: hail bukayo! what a kid! i wish freddie were given the chance to do for this squad what he did for the lad …

  • Like it or not, we also missed Mesut Ozil very much today. Gosh, it really wasn’t that long ago both Arsenal and Manchester United were two of the most dominant teams in the Premier League (and possibly in Europe) and now, both teams are playing like a mid-table team. How times have changed…

    How do we get out of this funk, let loose and start playing like the real Arsenal? We have so much talent in our squad this season I feel like I am getting cheated.

  • Am happy with a point because I think United were the better side. Our midfield though was not porous. I can count about 4 players in our more attacking areas Ozil would have been better than.

    Pepe seems lost. Can’t sit all that money on the bench. Big questions would be asked. Maybe he should be switched to the wide left position until he acclimatizes.

    Chambers exhibited good spirit. Bellerin can take his time getting fit.

  • I’m not a tactician but it’s obvious to me based on the 2nd half’s against Villa and United that this team needs to be let free to strut their stuff, our attacking talent is really scary!!

  • PE – bigger money (wages) (Ozil) does not even warrant a place on Emery’s bench,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Sub standard stuff and we are 4th………………

  • Yes LE GALL,

    It is awful and humiliating how Emery has been treating Ozil ever since he took over. Nobody in the entire world can convince me that THE ONE AND ONLY Mesut Ozil, in his prime, a World Cup winner, a masterful and extremely skilled player is not even good enough to make the Arsenal bench. Come Unai, whatever your issue is with Ozil, for the sake of Arsenal and the supporters, be a man and sort it out instead holding some kind of a pathetic grudge. This is so unnecessary, it is a total disgrace and frankly a disservice to Arsenal FC. Why make him our highest paid player and not play him or even have him available on the bench to sub in? Doesn’t make any sense to me at all and it is time to either play him and tell us the truth. We all deserve to know. No more stupid excuses for excluding him from the team. It is driving me completely insane.

  • Two poorly managed teams met and both were too poor to beat the other one.

    It’s a shame the biggest pool of attacking talent we have had since Invincibles is wasted by Emery. He should be ashamed of himself. This Man U side is a mid-table team right now, can’t score more than a goal if their lives depended on it and yet we have to be extremely happy we didn’t lose.

    Auba is magnificent. Saka was a joy to watch and got an assist from this game.

    Next stop: Liege. We’ll probably batter them and then return to grinding out victories against Sheffield United.

  • Our 8th through 16th games are against the rest of the pack (Leicester?) so we should? be able to maintain our spot in the top four.

    8 Bournemouth H
    9 Sheffield U A
    10 Crystal Palace H
    11 Wolves H
    12 Leicester City A
    13 Southampton H
    14 Norwich City A
    15 Brighton H
    16 West Ham A

  • Admir– don’t count your Sheffield’s just yet. Held Pool to 0-1 (Wijnaldum 70′).
    Or Bournemouth. A point back at present.


    The season after Van Gaal– Mourinho’s United took 15 draws, only 5 losses– for 69 points and 6th place in the PL. Arsenal tallied 70 last season. Looking on pace for 64-65 points this time. At best.

    In almost all phases– Emery makes winning more difficult.
    Not sure Unai Emery is suited to manage– the way the PL plays.


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