Arsenal v Manchester United - Five key battles

Szczesny v De Gea, Mertesacker v Rooney, Ozil v Carrick and more

Arsenal entertain Manchester United at the Emirates this week in the stand out Premier League fixture.

It’s an important game for both sides with the Gunners looking to get their Premier League title bid back on track while United are clinging on desperately to the hope of Champions League football for next season.

The stakes are extremely high at the moment, which means a high pressure and entertaining game is guaranteed.

We’ve taken a look at the key battles which will break out all over the pitch.

Wojciech Szczesny v David De Gea

Both goalkeepers are going to have to be on top form.

De Gea will most likely have to keep his concentration for longer spells because Arsenal have the ability to dominate possession for long periods.

However, Szczesny has to ensure that his defence doesn’t drift too high up the pitch because United do have the ability to hit Arsenal down the channels or over the top on the counter attack.

Per Mertesacker v Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney will probably fancy the challenge of going up against Arsenal’s big central defender.

Rooney has got it in him to give Mertesacker a troublesome night, pulling him out of position and trying to leave him exposed against the greater pace of other attacking players.

Mertesacker needs to be all over Rooney like a rash because he’s one of the only United players who can win this game on his own.

Bacary Sagna v Adnan Januzaj

Januzaj needs to start this game because he’s someone else with that wow factor and a United player who can make things happen.

Sagna has the ability to contain him and the experience to cope with the pace and movement but Januzaj will fancy his chances of getting in behind down the left hand flank.

Mikel Arteta v Juan Mata

Arteta needs to use every little bit of his experience to stop Juan Mata from getting on the ball and being influential in this game.

The Spaniard can dominate possession, protect the ball and setup a good chance for United to score in a split second.

It will be far easier for Arsenal to keep him quiet if David Moyes persists with the tactic of using Mata out on the right hand side over bringing him into the middle.

Mesut Ozil v Michael Carrick

Ozil needs a big game because he’s gone missing in recent weeks.

Carrick won’t try and physically rattle Ozil, he’ll try and prevent the ball from reaching him in the first place.

Carrick is one of the best in the business when it comes to occupying space, cutting off angles and making interceptions.

Olivier Giroud v Nemanja Vidic

Giroud needs to try and keep Vidic on the back foot in this game because the Manchester United captain will be eager to press forward, getting right in the Frenchman’s face.

Giroud can indulge that Vidic tactic if the rest of the Arsenal attack is firing and if he can drag the Serbian out from the middle of the defence, it creates a hole for someone else to run into.

image: © crystian cruz

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