Manchester United vs Arsenal: Three player battles that will decide the match
When Manchester United and Arsenal face each other in any competition, most of the footballing world comes to a stand still and it will be no different when two of the most marketable teams in the world battle it out at Old Trafford during this Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off.
The two sides have had contrasting seasons so far, with the Gunners just two points off the top. On the other hand, Manchester United have found themselves in a bit of a mess after a flawless start, which saw them win their first three matches in August.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has never defeated his Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho in a league match in his career and although the Frenchman might not admit it, that is something that could be a psychological handicap for the visitors going into this weekend’s game.
While the managers might have their own strifes, here, we look at three battles that could decide the match between Manchester United and Arsenal:
David de Gea v/s Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez and David de Gea are, arguably, the two most important players for their respective teams.
Sanchez, who has been given a new role this season - playing up front as the lone striker, has shone and according to many is the best bet for the PFA’s Player of the Season gag in April. In 11 league appearances, he has six goals (highest for club) and three assists (joint-highest for club).
De Gea, on the other hand, has had one or two troublesome moments this season, but is still so very vital to the Red Devils. His recent diving one-handed save off Philippe Coutinho in the game against Liverpool will stay in the memories of football fans for a long, long time to come.
The battle between the two could most likely decide the match with the Chilean eager to get one over a man who has kept four clean sheets in 11 appearances in the Premier League this season. With Eric Bailly still nursing a knee ligament injury and Chris Smalling out of action due to a broken toe, De Gea will be hopeful that his make-shift centre-backs step up to the plate.
Manchester United’s defence will need to be at their best to contain a world-class player like Sanchez, who apart from scoring goals, has also proven to be a danger to opposition teams by dropping deep and letting wingers Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi make advanced runs from the flanks.