Arsene Wenger is going through one of his worst seasons as an Arsenal manager as his side have little chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season. But they have a great chance to pull their hopes up this weekend when they welcome fellow top-4 rivals Manchester United to the Emirates.
The Red Devils are now unbeaten in their last 24 league games and are sure to put in a strong performance on the night. Both teams cannot afford to drop any points going into this game as it would effectively knock them out of the Champions League next season. Wenger is expected to go with his strongest XI on the night and will take nothing less than all three points from this game. Here is the predicted lineup that he might field for this tie:
Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla is the only player ruled out for the rest of the season. Lucas Perez and Shkodran Mustafi are not too far away from first team returns while Granit Xhaka is the only other player ruled out of this game.
Expected lineup (3-4-3):
Wenger has stuck with a 3-man defence in recent times and he might not shift back for a crunch game like this. He should start Petr Cech on goal to add solidity at the back. French defender Laurent Koscielny will keep his place at the heart of the Arsenal defense.
This might see Gabriel Paulista play on the right side of the back three, where he has been decent in the last few games. Shkodran Mustafi is not back in action and should replace Rob Holding at the left-side of the back three, completing Arsenal’s backline.
Granit Xhaka may not be back in time for this tie and this should see Wenger stick with Francis Coquelin in the midfield for this game. While Mohamed Elneny is waiting for his chance, Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey, who has been superb recently should partner Coquelin in the midfield.
Spanish full-back Nacho Monreal is the first choice for left-wing back and should start there while Hector Bellerin, as good as he is, should be replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has had some productive time, playing as a right wing-back.
German playmaker Mesut Ozil is not in the best of forms at the moment but he needs to step up if Arsenal are to take anything from this game. With Danny Welbeck not as productive recently and Lucas Perez, not full fit, Wenger should start Olivier Giroud, to add some strength to their attack.
Chilean winger Alexis Sanchez will start on the flank and will be the biggest threat for United on the night.
Here is how they would line up: