Arsenal are going to Old Trafford with the unbelievable luxury that after six games, whatever the result tomorrow, we will remain TotL. Yes we have struggled there often in the last fifteen years but this time we are going there without the usual pressure of needing a result. No pressure.
It’s the home side that need a result and have to make up ground on us this time round, and this has been more often the case in recent years. They will be worried to get beaten and outplayed and that their fragile momentum, much needed after two early losses, will be shattered again.
So win, draw or lose, Arsenal will be fine. Key is of course that Arsenal play well, show character and resilience and fight till the end. No shrinking, ill-discipline or flippancy please. Just play with a high tempo, pass the ball round, make them work and take our chances when they come our way. Key is for the boys to start with focus and without too many nerves. It’s normal to be a bit nervous there, especially for such a young team, but we go there as league leaders because we are beating teams whom our competitors struggled against. So let’s go for it boys and give those Ten Hags a proper game.
The Guardian’s lineups are usually close to the actual ones. They have the Ode and Aaron as doubts; the same goes for Zinchenko. It would be great if two out of three could start but the replacements – ESR, Turner and Tierney – are all capable of rising to the occasion, although Turner may find this a really big challenge if he were to start.
Emile is due a start anyway, and he will relish it. Lokonga will face a big test against this very attacking midfield but he has two great defenders – White and Saliba – behind him. No doubt, Bukayo will also help out defensively.
The two attacking Gabis will have to play really well on the left, and Granit will be key again. He needs to stay focused and avoid provocation. The new Granit should be able to do that. The same goes for Big Gab and Ramsdale, if he starts.
I am looking forward to this game at OT, which I cannot say has often been the case. A real challenge to judge our progress in a game we could afford to lose. Of course we don’t want to do that. 3-1 to the good guys. Bring it on!