Arsenal’s title credentials were put into question after the Gunners suffered a humiliating 5-1 loss at the hands of Liverpool over the weekend. However, despite all the doom and gloom surrounding Arsenal’s horrendous display, the fact of the matter is that they are only 1 point off of top spot at the moment.
Arsene Wenger will be desperately hoping to prove that the Liverpool disaster was an aberration rather than a deep-rooted problem, when they welcome eternal foes Manchester United to Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
The clashes between the two rivals have been feisty affairs in recent history, but this time around the tables have seemed to have turned and it is Arsenal who are fighting for top honours, while United are left scrapping to claim a Champions League spot.
Wenger could have not have picked a better fixture to prove that his side have put their horror show against Liverpool behind them by earning a victory over United. However, although United are struggling at the moment, it will be anything but a straight forward game for the Gunners against their wounded, bitter rivals.
Wojciech Szczesny was almost a spectator as he picked the ball out of the back of the net on five occasions against Liverpool. Although not at fault for any of the goals he conceded, the Pole would have certainly been hurt and will be looking to bounce back strongly against the dangerous looking Manchester United attack.
The formidable defence of Arsenal was shred into pieces by the rampant Liverpool attack in the weekend. Arsenal’s open minded tactics did leave the back-four vulnerable against the Reds, but the manner in which they conceded the first two goals from set pieces, would have certainly annoyed Wenger.
With Tomas Vermaelen still struggling with injury, Wenger will have to persist with the centre back pairing of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker, but may look to make a change in one of the full-back positions. Nacho Monreal had a poor outing against Liverpool and could well make way for Keiran Gibbs, while Bacary Sagna should retain his place in the lineup ahead of Carl Jenkinson.
Arsenal’s midfield was very poor against Liverpool. The Gunners midfielders could not get a grip of the game and it was their cheap handing over of the possession far too often, which allowed Liverpool to run riot.
With the likes Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Kim Kallstorm still out with injuries, Wenger does not have too many options to ring the changes, but the Frenchman could be tempted start with Tomas Rosicky in place of Jack Wilshere, while the likes of Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnabry may also be in contention ahead of the poor Mesut Ozil and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain. Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla should retain their place in the lineup though.
Olivier Giroud was ploughing a lone furrow up front against Liverpool and could not make much of an impact due the Arsenal midfielder’s disappointing performance. The Frenchman will again lead the line for the Gunners, but will be hoping to get more joy against the shaky United defence.
Szczesny; Gibbs, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Sagna; Podolski, Arteta, Rosicky, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud