Mikel Arteta sprung an almighty surprise when he fielded a lineup against Chelsea featuring Rob Holding and Mohamed Elneny, a decision that had most fearing the worst.
For a club aiming to propel themselves back into Champions League contention away at the home of the European and world champions, it was hardly a team selection to inspire.
But this coach knows what he’s doing. It’s only a successful plan if it pays off, and leaving Stamford Bridge with three points and four goals scored certainly constituted one.
Arsenal vs Manchester United game info
• Location: Emirates Stadium, London, England
• Date: Saturday, April 23, 2022
• Time: 7:30 a.m. ET
• TV: USA Network
With the top-four race coming down the final stretch, Mikel Arteta’s side have a great chance to seriously hamper Manchester United’s chances of competing for a Champions League place ahead of next season. A win will also give the north London side breathing space in the top four race.
There will be an extra incentive for Arsenal to get the win, after disappointingly losing the reverse fixture 3-2 this season. It was a match that was for the taking, but the Gunners failed to capitalise.
A win for Arsenal against Manchester United on Saturday afternoon will take Arteta’s team six points ahead of Ralf Rangnick’s side, with still an extra game in hand to play. It would also propel the Gunners into fourth spot before Tottenham play later in the day.
You can follow all of the live coverage as and when it happens in our dedicated live blog below. Arsenal writers Chris Wheatley, Kaya Kaynak and Tom Canton will be updating you throughout the day.
Opting for a more defensively assured system that could fluctuate between three, four and five defenders, as well as bringing the less adventurous and more possession-assured Elneny into the side, demonstrated that. Now it’s about what comes next.
Manchester United are a side aiming to reignite their own top four bid – despite Bruno Fernandes insisting they have nothing left to play for – and just as they could spark their own mini-revival, they could pour cold water over Arsenal’s.
It’s an entirely different proposition facing the side on Saturday. Arsenal being at home and against a team who’ve quite clearly downed tools and are in the midst of their own crisis poses alternative problems to tackle.
On the one hand, why would you change a winning formula? On the other, Manchester United at home is not Chelsea away. There are some interesting selection decisions facing the manager.
However, Paul Pobga sustained a calf problem early into the loss on Merseyside, and will definitely miss out, with Luke Shaw and Edinson Cavani appearing to still be sidelined as well.