Sports, Football

United confront Arsenal to regain PL form


Published : 01 Dec 2021 09:26 PM | Updated : 03 Dec 2021 10:27 AM

With Michael Carrick set to remain in the dugout, Manchester United prepare to welcome old foes Arsenal to Old Trafford for Thursday's Premier League battle.

The Red Devils took a point from their meeting with league leaders Chelsea last time out, while the Gunners saw off Newcastle United 2-0. Michael Carrick has earned two positive results during his time in 'interim interim charge', but on Monday morning, the news that all Man United fans were waiting for was announced, as Ralf Rangnick prepares to lead the team for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

The 63-year-old's work permit has not been sorted in time for him to take the reins on Thursday, but a Carrick-led Man United performed valiantly at Stamford Bridge to take a point home from a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening.

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Man United centre-back Harry Maguire returns from suspension in time to face the Gunners and is sure to slot straight back into the defence, in spite of his shaky performances this term, with Eric Bailly perhaps being unfairly dropped.

Paul Pogba, Edinson Cavani and Raphael Varane make up a trio of absentees for the hosts, who are still sweating over the fitness of Luke Shaw due to a head injury.

Ronaldo surely cannot fathom being benched for such a crucial game again and could take the place of Marcus Rashford in the first XI, that is if the United boss sticks with the midfield-heavy 4-3-1-2 formation.

As for the Gunners, Saka went down holding his groin in the Newcastle win, and Arteta subsequently confirmed that the 20-year-old - who placed sixth in this year's Kopa Trophy - did feel a muscular problem.

Saka has not been ruled out of this game just yet, but the door has opened for Martinelli to earn a deserved start, and Arteta's only two confirmed absentees at this time are long-term victims Sead Kolasinac (ankle) and Granit Xhaka (knee).

Alexandre Lacazette's run in the starting lineup came to an end on Saturday as Martin Odegaard returned to the first XI, and it is difficult to see the Norwegian losing his place here.

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