Arsenal are at the Emirates Stadium for Friday’s crunch FA Cup fourth round showdown against arch-rivals Manchester United.
The Gunners come into the game after a morale-boosting derby triumph over Chelsea in the Premier League and this should provide them with the much-needed confidence to tackle the United side, who have been shown plenty of resurgence under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The Norwegian boss has transformed United’s fortunes with a seven-match winning streak including six in the Premier League, which sees them within goal difference off Arsenal and three points behind the top-four positions.
The last meeting between the teams was at Old Trafford in December where they settled for a 2-2 Premier League draw. Shkodran Mustafi and an own goal from Marcos Rojo twice offered the Gunners the lead, but they were pegged back on both occasions with Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard respectively levelling for the hosts. The game was mostly decided by defensive errors by both sides.
Players to watch for:
Aaron Ramsey – Arsenal: The Wales international appears on his way out of Arsenal in the summer with the club having no plans of extending his contract beyond then. Still, he has played with full commitment which was showcased against Chelsea where he impressively man-marked Jorginho and limited his passing range. Gunners boss Unai Emery has tended to utilise Ramsey in the big games but he may have a more freer role during the Cup outing where he could be tasked with the job of distributing to the front duo of Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Ramsey has six assists to his name this season despite starting in less than 50 percent of the club’s league matches.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United: The young Englishman has been simply superb for United since getting the chance to regularly lead the line under Ole. Rashford has bagged five goals and an assist in the seven matches since Ole took charge of the club and during his period, he has impressed with both his crossing attributes and reaction in front of goal. The forward remains a threat with the directness to his style of play and he could possibly exploit the right side of the Gunners backline with Ainsley Maitland-Niles likely to take up the makeshift role after the long-term injury for Hector Bellerin. Rashford will be eyeing his maiden goal against Arsenal since his league debut three years ago where he stole the headlines with a brace and an assist.
United have unquestionably improved on their performances under Ole but they do continue to possess a vulnerable backline, whose blushes have been regularly saved by goalkeeper David de Gea. Hence, we are anticipating a high-scoring draw.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United
Image – Getty