English Premiership

Can Mourinho and United break Gunners' undefeated streak?

2018-12-05 10:44
Unai Emery (Getty Images)

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 Tottenham Hotspur.

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 deadlock.

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 Saturday.

"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 celebrations.

"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 spectacle.

 

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Fixtures
Sunday, 16 December 2018
Southampton v Arsenal, St. Mary's Stadium 15:30
Brighton & Hove Albion v Chelsea, The American Express Community Stadium 15:30
Liverpool v Manchester United, Anfield 18:00
Friday, 21 December 2018
Wolverhampton Wanderers v Liverpool, Molineux Stadium 22:00
Saturday, 22 December 2018
Arsenal v Burnley, Emirates Stadium 14:30
Manchester City v Crystal Palace, Etihad Stadium 17:00
West Ham United v Watford, London Stadium 17:00
Newcastle United v Fulham, St. James' Park 17:00
Chelsea v Leicester City, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Huddersfield Town v Southampton, The John Smith's Stadium 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Brighton & Hove Albion, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Cardiff City v Manchester United, Cardiff City Stadium 19:30
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