Local derbies are believed to be the most fiercely fought battles in the history of the English game but as far as the Premier League era goes, there is no clash which can match the intensity of a battle between sworn enemies Arsenal and Manchester United.
As a result, the eyes of the entire world will be fixated at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday as Manchester United pay a visit to London to square off against Arsenal in a crucial match for both sides.
Arsenal and United have developed a fierce rivalry in the Premier League era
While the two teams may currently not be enjoying the domination of the English game like they have done in the last decade or so, the match on Saturday holds a lot of significance and one can be sure that it will be a feisty affair.
Arsenal are slight favourites heading into the game due to United’s poor form as well as their injury crisis but the Red Devils tend to raise their game against the Gunners and it will certainly be interesting to see which side will come out on top throughout the course of the 90 minutes.
Here is the Strongest Possible Lineup for Manchester United on the day –
David De Gea could be fit in time for the clash
The majority of Manchester United fans’ heart must have skipped a beat after it had emerged that star custodian David De Gea suffered a dislocated finger while on international duty with Spain.
There were fears initially that the Spaniard could miss up to to six weeks of action due to the injury. However, as a big boost for the Red Devils, it has now emerged that De Gea is 80% fit and is in contention to make a start against Arsenal.
Anders Lindegaard will be the obvious choice if Louis van Gaal decides not to risk De Gea but given the significance of the match on Saturday, it seems like the Spaniard will get the nod.
Manchester United have been enduring a ridiculous injury curse in defence and it is believed that no less than FIVE of their first choice defenders in Marcos Rojo, Rafael, Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Luke Shaw are struggling with their fitness.
As a silver lining though, the trio of Shaw, Evans and Jones have undergone light training and could be available to start despite not being completely match fit while Chris Smalling is also back in contention after serving his one match ban against Crystal Palace.
Smalling should return to the lineup following his suspension
Shaw should be able to shake off the injury concern to retain his left back spot on Saturday while Antonio Valencia is expected to continue at right back in the absence of Rafael.
It remains to be seen which combination van Gaal decides to go with at the heart of the defence and given that only Chris Smalling and Paddy McNair seem to be fully fit, the duo will most likely start on the day. Tyler Blackett, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling should make the bench though.
United’s injury curse seems to have hit their midfielders as well. Jesse Lingard, Ashley Young and Anderson remain long term casualties and t to add to their woes, Daley Blind and Michael Carrick have also been struck with injury problems.
However, the biggest concern is the injury fear surrounding star man Angel Di Maria. Di Maria picked up a knock during international duty and although Argentina manager Gerardo Martino stated that the injury is nothing severe, it remains to be seen whether the winger will be able to start on Saturday.
Daley Blind will be missing through an injury
If Di Maria does miss out, van Gaal will have to adopt a reshuffle in his midfield. Ander Herrera could replace Di Maria while Maroune Fellaini could drop into a deeper midfield role in the potential absence of both Blind and Carrick. Vice Captain Darren Fletcher should also be in contention.
Juan Mata should return to the starting lineup in the playmakers role amid the injury crisis while young Adnan Januzaj will probably start on the flanks.
Falcao could make a return
Thankfully for United fans, their attacking department is not going through an injury crisis and the news that Radamel Falcao is fit enough to make a return will mean that the Red Devils will have all their four strikers available for the clash.
However, Falcao will only start on the bench during the match in preference to the strike force of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie – who are high on confidence after scoring for their respective nations while on international duty.
One can expect the duo of Falcao and James Wilson to feature in some capacity throughout the course of the ninety minutes though – especially if things are not going exactly according to plan.
Via – Lineup Builder