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Preview: Arsenal v Man Utd, key man returns, Holding starts + prediction

By on May 6, 2017

Rob-Holding-arsenal

Arsenal know anything but a win over Manchester United at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon will all-but end our fading hopes of finishing in the top four.

With Manchester City winning earlier today, we now sit nine points adrift of the top four and even with two games in hand, we simply have to win our remaining five matches to stand any chance of playing in the Champions League next season.

Based on recent displays, it’s difficult to imagine us being capable of putting that sort of run together as we were absolutely woeful against Tottenham last weekend, but hopefully the boys respond against United tomorrow.

Jose Mourinho has been up to his old mind-games tricks again ahead of the game after suggesting he’ll play his kids but I don’t believe that for one minute. No doubt he’ll rotate but the United side will still be full of internationals and I’m expecting a tough game.

Team News

Mustafi is back in contention after recovering from a thigh injury that’s kept him out in recent weeks so he should return to the defence.

Xhaka is a doubt after picking up a knock against Spurs last week. The midfielder still has a ‘chance’ to be fit according to Arsene Wenger but the likes of Coquelin and Elneny are on stand-by.

Ospina is back in the squad after overcoming a back injury but Perez remains out after suffering a set-back in training.

As for United, they will be without Young after he picked up a hamstring problem on Thursday night while Rashford won’t be risked after also limping out of the win over Celta Vigo.

Ibrahimovic, Rojo and Shaw are all out for the season while Mourinho could rest the likes of Pogba, Bailly, Valencia and Mkhitaryan.

Preferred line-up

With Mustafi back, I’d like to see him replace Gabriel in the right side position of the back three. Koscielny should obviously keep his place while I think Holding deserves to get a recall as he didn’t put a foot wrong before being dropped.

If Xhaka is fit then he should start otherwise I’d go with Elneny. Oxlade-Chamberlain has been excellent in the right wing-back role but Bellerin is the long-term occupant in that position so I’d move The Ox in to the middle – where he was also impressing.

Up front, we have to start Welbeck ahead of Giroud and use the Frenchman as an impact substitute.

football formations

Man utd could line-up like: De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Carrick, Herrera, Pogba, Martial, Mata, Rooney.

Prediction

Many people have us as favourites because they think Mourinho is going to play a cr*p team. However, United are right in the mix for the top four and Mourinho won’t want to see their 25-game unbeaten run come to an end against Wenger. I fully expect a strong United side that will give us a good game but hopefully we have enough at home to edge it. I’m backing Arsenal to sneak a 2-1 win. Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd

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