Arsenal play host to Manchester United in Saturday’s crunch Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium. The clash was once regarded as the decider in the title race, but the teams are now more or less vying for the Champions League qualification spots. Ahead of the weekend clash, we look into two aspects of the game which could ultimately decide the eventual result.
Mesut Ozil – Alexis Sanchez partnership: The duo have been reluctant to extend their contracts beyond next summer, but Arsene Wenger has realised their utmost importance by taking a big risk in the final year of their respective deals. The Ozil-Sanchez partnership was rarely seen in the early part of the season owing to injuries to one or the other, but the last couple of matches have indicated their influence on the Gunners’ style of play. Ozil and Sanchez combined splendidly during the 5-0 thrashing of Huddersfield Town in midweek, and the pair will have to show up if Arsenal are to claim a third straight win at home over United – the first time it will have happened in 16 years.
Mourinho to park the bus or attack?: Mourinho has tended to deploy a tentative approach while facing a top-six club on the road, and this has not quite worked with United. The ‘Park The Bus’ formula has been fruitful for the Portuguese tactician at his former sides, but there seems a missing link with the Red Devils, who were heavily criticised for their ultra-defensive performance in the 0-0 draw versus Liverpool. Mourinho has hinted that United will attack when they have possession (ManUtd.com) of the ball on Saturday, but their movement could be restricted with Nemanja Matic likely to miss out. The Serbian is a doubt with a leg muscle injury, and Mourinho could revert to his defensive tactics as an away point is probably a satisfactory result for United.
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