Cape Town - Manchester United will look to break Arsenal’s impressive
undefeated streak when they host the Gunners at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
With hosts United still struggling to solve their
centre-back crisis, Phil Jones will have his work cut out against an Arsenal
attack with their tails up.
At the other end of the park, striker Romelu Lukaku needs to
find his shooting boots. The Belgian has managed just five goals in 18 appearances
in all competitions in 2018/19.
For Arsenal, one cannot deny the impact made by Aaron Ramsey
and Alexandre Lacazette coming off the bench in their stunning 4-2 win over
It was a bold move by manager Unai Emery, but it paid
dividends as they played a vital role in turning the match around, with Ramsey
providing two assists and Lacazette netting in the 74th minute to break the
United have earned just two points in their last three
encounters and currently sit in seventh in the standings. The Red Devils' last
Premier League victory came at AFC Bournemouth in early November, seemingly an
eon ago for the Old Trafford faithful.
Since, United were punished 3-1 in the Manchester derby by
the reigning champions and have only managed draws against the lowly Crystal
Palace and Southampton. As such, manager Jose Mourinho is pessimistic about his
side's top four chances.
"Last year I said it was fantastic to finish second
considering the quality we had compared to other teams who were fighting for a
top four finish," said the Portuguese native after the Southampton draw on
"This year, as we're facing even more problems, it
proves what I said when the season started: that it would be very tough for us.
Now we must try and win as most points as we can, almost a miracle, to finish
in the top four."
Meanwhile, Emery has been a large part of the winds of
change currently sweeping through Arsenal. The Spaniard has led the Gunners to
19-match undefeated streak in all competitions and the club are sitting pretty
in fourth on the league table.
Buoyed by their comeback victory over Spurs, Emery hopes a
good result at Old Trafford can put an exclamation point on Sunday's
"It will be a very big challenge for us on Wednesday
and it will confirm our good moment, or whether we need more," said the
former PSG boss.
"It is very difficult to win there because they are a
very big team with big players and have a big atmosphere pushing them, but it
is an exciting match and my motivation is very big."
In team news, Ashley Young is banned after being shown his
fifth yellow in the Southampton clash, he is serving a one-match suspension and
will miss the Arsenal fixture. Left-back Luke Shaw left the field gingerly on
Saturday at St. Mary’s and remains in doubt.
Arsenal's German star Mesut Ozil failed to get on the pitch
against Tottenham due to a back injury and will likely miss the Old Trafford