Arsenal V MU: Preview and Lineup – A Crucial Game in a Pivotal Month

Having watched the Oily Barcodes game a second time, I think it is fair to say that the team have made progress since the start of the season. There is still work to do, but Arteta’s signature football is starting to take shape. Against Eddie Howe’s sorry-11 we had to be patient by finding gaps in the walls and being careful enough to avoid a counter-attacking goal or two. The really good thing about last Saturday’s early kick-off game was that we always looked in control at the back. This is a great feeling to experience and a rare one at Arsenal in recent years.

Partey had an average game, especially with his passing, but he was disciplined with his positioning and offered great protection to the defence in general. It allowed Lokonga, who was a close MOTM for me, to connect with our four attackers and run the show in an understated way. Our full backs can support attack but also have the engine to get back in time, epitomized by Tavares’ late run into the box and effective shoulder charge to avoid a certain goal. Tomiyasu also has that ability to be at the right place and right time in the box and then clearing the ball very effectively. The partnership between White and Gabriel (and in a way also with Ramsdale) is at the heart of our solid defending these days, and long may it continue.

The attack remains a work in progress of course and, although still hopeful, I am starting to doubt that whichever four of Auba, Laca, Saka, ESR and Ode will find anytime soon the right chemistry to really move our attacking play to another level. All are talented and quality players, but can they actually really work together?! It certainly remains a work in progress and on Saturday they needed a helping hand by our fab full backs who each produced a peach of an assist. But it should also be said that Saka and Martinelli finished their chances superbly, something that cannot be said of Auba lately. The good thing is we almost always find the net and with a lean, mean defence-machine we have a good chance of winning most games.

Arsenal are currently shared fourth and only seven points away from the top. The next two away games in the North-West – MU and Toffees – will tell us a lot of where we really stand, I reckon. The Red Mancs on Thursday will be the pivotal game for us. They need to win and get their season back on track, but their new, interim manager will not be able to lead them from the dugout. Is that good news or bad news? I don’t know but if we can keep the crowd as quiet as we did against the Foxes then we have a good chance. Should we absorb pressure and play on the counter or take the game to them from the start? I feel the latter is the best way forward and we will need to take our chances when they come. Hopefully Auba and/or Laca have a very efficient game. Key is of course to win the battle in midfield and we need a top-notch performance from Partey tomorrow. If Partey and Auba have a really good game, we will be victorious tomorrow.

My preferred lineup is:

Saka may not be fit in time and then I would imagine Ode will play. Small chance Pepe will play but this game may pass him by, so here is hoping Bukayo is fit to play.

Come on You Rip Roaring Gunners, Make us Proud!!

By TotalArsenal.

45 thoughts on “Arsenal V MU: Preview and Lineup – A Crucial Game in a Pivotal Month

  • That’s a big “if” there, TA (re: Auba’s and Partey’s form on the night); hopefully, that factor won’t be the only condition under which we win that game. To be honest, I’d take a point now and so, would be pleasantly surprised if we got all 3 points.

    Maybe, Arteta opts for Tierney for this one, having shown his trust in Tavares in picking him again, after his error at Anfield. If Saka is unfit, no need pushing it so, indeed Gabriel Martinelli is a good shout. The key decision will be whether to play Laca or Ode. My head says Laca.

  • Cheers Eris, I expect the rest to continue to play at their recent high levels, but Auba and Partey hold key positions and their form has been a mixed bag recently. Hence my believe that they hold the key to success for is.

    Good call re Tierney.

  • Auba is starting to be a worry and I’m a bit bemused that Arteta keeps starting him. He has responded well in the past to being left on the bench and coming on as an impact player. We also need to start using some of our other forwards although Old Toilet is probably not the best place to take risks.

    I’m very happy with the form of our FBs and would be delighted to see them and our CBs getting some goals too. Unfortunately, I think Nuno has been using a very large barn door for his shooting target! It’s interesting to note how many goals Chelsea’s defenders are getting.

    I thought that Carrick made some good calls on Sunday and was brave to bench Ronaldo. I would have preferred Ole to be still at the helm for our visit.

  • Normally I’d like our chances in this fixture with us as underdogs. Since Arsene left though, we’ve kind of excorcised that demon.

    The timing is not good for us. United played with much stronger effort last week, and will be trying to impress the new coach even more against us.

    A team at home with lots of talent, actually working for their jobs will be a much bigger challenge. I never say this against United, home or away… but I would settle for a point this time, because of the circumstances.

    Still praying we smash them. We are the good guys.

  • Amen to that, J.
    Yes, Total, I’ll get a photo to you, mate.
    Neil Maupay did us a favour this morning (NZ time). Puts our result against Brighton into perspective.

  • Hoping for a Win, regardless of who pays. Auba is definitely a worry but we don’t seem to have an option. With all his link up play Laca seems goal shy as well. Whoever plays i just need us to Win and get 3 points. Its going to be 1:15 AM start here in India, still contemplating whether to wake up in the middle of the night to watch the game. Don’t want to be disappointed by the performance and the result, yet don’t want to miss the game.

  • Good comments. Yes we would all take a draw now and move on, but the team will need to face this adversary – oh how different it would feel now if they had to play at our place! – and show what we are made of. CoyGs 🌋 🌋 🌋

  • Saka and Lokonga start from the bench. Martinelli and Elneny on for them, while Tavares, Odegaard Auba and ESR retain their places.

    Tierney has to show understanding now and wait his time to seize back the shirt. That’s a huge statement call by Arteta. I like it, if you ask me. Tavares will match Wan-Bissaka and also ensure Sancho gets subbed for being anonymous again.


  • Manchester United starting XI: De Gea; Dalot, Lindelof, Maguire, Telles; Fred, McTominay; Sancho, Fernandes, Rashford; Ronaldo.

    Manchester United substitutes: Henderson, Bailly, Jones, Lingard, Mata, Van de Beek, Diallo, Greenwood, Martial.

    Arsenal starting XI: Ramsdale; Tomiyasu, White, Gabriel, Tavares; Elneny, Partey; Martinelli, Odegaard, Smith Rowe; Aubameyang.

    Arsenal substitutes: Okonkwo, Tierney, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Lokonga, Pepe, Saka, Lacazette, Nketiah.

  • Weight of expectation weighing down on Thomas Partey. Been guilty of losing the ball in dangerous areas while also misplacing easy looking passes.

  • But, I am sure he will settle down and be immense.

    We get the ball in the net but De Gea has gone down to give the ref and VAR a decision to make here.

  • That should be a goal. The ref’s whistle only went off after ESR had put the ball in the net. Curious.

  • We have to keep playing as if scores are even still. Won’t like to see us withdraw into defensive mode so early.

  • As usual, it is one rule for the Arsenal and another for others. How could the ref not stop the game for the head injury to Tavares? Had they scored, I wonder how the VAR would see that.

  • 1-1 going into half time is not a bad place to be but we could easily have cleared our lines to prevent the equalizer. We have had some less than stellar passing at times; the hosts have not fared much better in this regard.

    You feel we are playing within ourselves and could really do a bit more to hurt them. Start by allowing Tavares go on his marauding runs and see what happens, with Elneny acting as cover. We have been very disciplined, so far.

  • Atkinson tried to steal that goal from us, disallowing it after the fact.. that was dirty as can be by a ref. He was caught by VAR and therefore didn’t get away with it. His face when he received the word was like a kid caught doing something and realizing they didn’t get away with it.

  • yep poor by Arsenal. very stupid decision by Ode.

    Elneny a poor choice – that’s some Arsene away shit. Why give him game time when he’s pissing off?!

    Pointless playing Auba when it’s a game like this.

  • Beaten by a poor United, but the boys will learn from it. Really missed the maturity of Xhaka tonight. I said we would win if Auba and Partey would have good games, and I think this game showed it. Still we remain fifth and can now focus on getting a run together.

  • Well, it was not to be. We played with a plan but appeared to keep changing whenever we let them score. We needed to be more intentional with our passing at times and consistent with the game plan. We had a period when we dominated them and that was when we should be going for the win.

    United were there for the taking but all we did was show them too much respect, even as the senior players didn’t guide the rest of the young ones as to how to go about this.

  • Yeah, I am in Nigeria. Good thing too as I could have been caught up in all the Omicron brouhaha.

    PB, that is after the fact. We wanted to hear from you before the game. 😜😉

  • A few observations from tonight.
    Partey was poor and maybe the prem is alot tougher than la liga.
    Martinelli was outstanding and needs to play alot more.
    Maguire pulling Tomy down should have been a pen.
    If we had a clinical striker we would have won the game and this needs to be the priority this window.

  • That was probably a good game for the neutral but for me, it was a game of “what ifs”.

    What if Auba could remember how to shoot?
    What if Ode hadn’t made that challenge?
    What if Aaron had stayed still for the penalty?
    What if Partey had played one of his better games?

    I agree with everything Eris said about our game management and senior players.

  • Hi PB, good to hear from you.

    Good comments and all agreed. There were plenty of positives for this young team. We played the better football but just lacked the maturity to really hurt the Mancs, who were there for the taking. More tomorrow.

  • Choosing El Neny over Lokonga and Amn….. bad decision for today and for the future. Why? Makes no sense. He can’t keep up with our sharpest passing the way we’ve been playing. I don’t get bringing on 2 strikers, taking Auba off and leaving on Partey and El Neny. Wasteful subs.
    Martinelli was very good. Nuno never gives up. He’ll need a rest from Tierney on Monday.
    Øde with a CAM tackle.
    VAR was correct. But what’s not fair is the favoritism… they handed them the game. They stopped play to review it….which is very rare, but they didn’t do that for the foul on Tomiyasu, which was a clear penalty too.

    It’s like in real life, you can have the most perfect system of laws, but if you don’t apply them equally, what good is it?

    All that in mind, not a great job by Arteta today. We turn the page now.

  • A result that leaves me feeling both infuriated and frustrated, but we’ve been here so many times before and under every Arsenal manager I can think of in my time as a fan, because as a club, regardless at how appallingly poor Man United are playing at any given time you can be sure that Arsenal will always seem to find a way to go and visit their dump of a stadium and play like a bunch of dorks.
    Maybe it’s psychological?

    Arsenal success at OT is a very very rare thing and it’s probably the reason why I can remember most of them. I don’t think that Arsenal even won at OT the season United got relegated back in the 1970’s it’s that type of Jonah venue for us.

    Im so cheesed off but we move on although it’s a major blot on Arteta’s copybook for sure…

  • Really dissapointing game. As everyone said we gave them too much respect. We still don’t have leaders who can manage the game. We stopped playing after the first goal and gifted them the intiative. It has irritating to see McGuire coming into out final third which shows how much we had retreated.
    Where was our defence today. For the first one we gave them so much space in the penalty box. Second one Nuno lost the ball high up the pitch and after that 3 passes and it’s a goal. Who was covering for Nunos run? We cannot be allowing so much space to quality players. Defending was all over the place which again led to Fred being in our box and Ode making that stupid tackle from behind in our box.
    It’s not a penalty on Tomi much the same way in the previous game Ode pulled down a player in the box during a corner. We lost this game purely due to our inabiliyt to impose on a match when we have the lead. It’s a symptom that Mikel needs to eradicate else we will suffer more. The so called exp players needs to go and iam happy playing all youngsters. What’s the point of Auba, Partey etal iam not sure.
    Very dissappointed hoping for good result against Everton.

  • It’s just crazy how reliant we are on saka and ESR. Martinelli is showing something which is great to see. Oozes xfactor.

    We’ve shown a lot this season but our 3 biggest transfers have shown next to nothing – pepe, laca, and auba. At least laca has been putting in a shift.

    Dying for a clinical striker in the mould of an eduardo. Shit I’d even take a giroud. At least then we’d be in with a shot when we keep whipping in high balls.

    Hopefully we can get rid of laca and nketiah in the jan window. If pepe isn’t in arsene’s plans try to move him on too. With them sticking around it just delays our improvement.

    We need an arshavin like injection in the jan window. Someone to add intent and boost the morale of the entire team.

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