Arsenal vs Manchester United: 3 key battles that could decide the outcome

Arsenal vs Manchester United predictions: 3 key battles

Arsenal host Manchester United on Sunday in a crucial game that could define both teams’ chances of Champions League qualification for next season.

The Gunners’ good run hit a minor speed bump last weekend when North London rivals Tottenham held them to a 1-1 draw.

Manchester United, on the other hand, have been on an incredible run since the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former Manchester United manager is yet to be beaten in the Premier League since taking charge of the Red Devils in December.

An exciting game is in prospect and here are 3 key battles that could define the outcome of this massive clash:

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Paul Pogba vs Matteo Guendouzi

A battle between two French midfield talents will be an exciting one since both players have been in incredible form.

Pogba has shown glimpses of his form at Juventus since the departure of Jose Mourinho and has 8 goals and 6 assists to his name since. The 25-year-old seems to be in the form of his life and his performance will be massively crucial for the Red Devils in the middle of the park.

One player who can stop Pogba’s run is Arsenal’s teenage sensation Matteo Guendouzi. The 19-year old has been one of the standout performers since his arrival from Ligue 2 side Lorient in the summer.

Guendouzi has shown incredible composure way beyond his age and has been touted to be the next big thing in French football.

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Guendouzi’s impact on Sunday will be crucial for the Gunners, especially with Lucas Torreira suspended for the game after his red card in the North London derby.

His positional discipline will play a massive role in limiting Pogba’s influence on the game and the winner of this battle could potentially win the game for his side.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan vs Luke Shaw

The former Manchester United man will relish the opportunity of playing against the club that let him go in January 2018. The Armenian has been in incredible form since his return from injury and has been directly involved in 5 goals in his last 4 Premier League games.

The 30-year-old’s movement with and without the ball is of massive importance to the Gunners and his end product could sway the game towards the Gunners’ favour.

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The job of controlling the Armenian will be in the hands of Luke Shaw. The former Southampton defender dealt with the likes of Mo Salah and Kylian Mbappe in recent games and is at his best this campaign.

Shaw’s speed will be vital for Solksjaer’s side especially when he has to catch Mkhitaryan on the break. His attack will also have to be at his best and with Hector Bellerin out for the Gunners, Shaw will have space to exploit on the flank.

Romelu Lukaku vs Sokratis Papastathopoulos

Arsenal’s main goalscoring threat will be from Romelu Lukaku. After a dry spell which forced him out of the squad, the Belgian has silenced his haters by finding the net 6 times in his last 3 games.

Lukaku has always been a thorn for the Gunners having scored 3 goals and provided 5 assists against the Gunners in 11 appearances. Unai Emery’s side will have to keep the Belgian quiet if they are to pick up anything from the game.

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Sokratis Papastathopoulos will have his hands full with the Belgian on Sunday but the Greek defender isn’t shy of a battle. Having dominated Harry Kane throughout the game last weekend, Sokratis will be high in confidence and his skills as a defender is something that cannot be questioned.

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The former Borussia Dortmund man is always up for a fight and another solid performance at the back will highly increase Arsenal’s chances of a victory on Sunday.

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Written by Shamanth Jayaram

24-year old Electrical engineer turned football writer, born and brought up in Bangalore.

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