Unai Emery’s Arsenal welcomes Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium on Friday night in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
With 25 FA Cups between them, Arsenal and Manchester United are the two most successful sides in the competition. Their previous clashes have provided the tournament with some of its most iconic moments; and with both of them full of confidence coming into the tie, we expect them to make a few new memories, tonight.
Arsenal v @ManUtd
= One of THE great #UCL counterattacking goals 🤩
Ronaldo ➡️ Park ⤴️ Rooney ↗️ Ronaldo ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/TeEADQNB2U
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 25, 2019
The London club have done quite well under their new boss, Unai Emery. Yes, they are yet to break into the Premier League top-four, but they certainly are in contention. Ahead of Arsenal’s weekend clash against local rivals, Chelsea, Unai Emery asked his men to show intent, claiming a defeat would practically end their top-four challenge. The players responded in the best possible way and produced one of their best performances of the season to beat Chelsea 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium.
Having already crashed out of the Carabao Cup, the FA Cup and Europa League are the only two trophies the Gunners can practically aim for, this season. They have a relatively good record against fellow Premier League clubs, winning 12 of their last 13 ties, with the only defeat coming against Watford in the 2015/16 campaign.
— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) January 24, 2019
The Gunners will be without Hector Bellerin, who has been ruled out for up to nine months with a knee injury. Former Manchester United pair, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck, as also sidelined with ankle injuries. Rob Holding (knee injury) will also miss the tie.
Projected XI (4-1-2-1-2):
Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Koscielny, Kolasinac; Xhaka; Torreira, Guendouzi; Ozil; Lacazette, Aubameyang
Unai Emery on Manchester United:
“It’s a different team. It’s the same players but they’re playing with a big performance now,” as quoted by BBC.
“I was watching their last matches and each player has a lot of confidence, with big performances, and now they are very dangerous.”
“For us, it’s good because it’s a very big test for us in this competition.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has really turned the club’s fortunes around. Since replacing Jose Mourinho at the helm, the Norwegian has overseen seven consecutive victories across all competitions. Following last week’s 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion, Manchester United find themselves tied with Arsenal on fifth and within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.
To be fair, the Norwegian still hasn’t faced many stern tests in his managerial career, but he, certainly, has done enough to be lauded for Manchester United’s evident improvement. He has brought back the enthusiasm that the team lacked under Jose Mourinho. The Red Devils have scored 19 goals in their last 7 seven matches, conceding just 4 – a proper indication of Solskjaer’s commendable work.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 25, 2019
Solskjaer doesn’t have any injury concerns as of now but is expected to give Marcus Rashford and David de Gea a little breather. Alexis Sanchez will start against his former team, while Luke Shaw is also fit to feature after recovering from illness.
Projected XI (4-3-3):
Romero, Young, Lindelof, Jones, Shaw, Matic, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Rashford, Sanchez
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Arsenal:
“That’s the one fierce football rivalry of my years here as a player.”
“We were always the closest rivals. They won the double, we won the treble. The games were just fantastic.”
“We had a great team, and they had a very good team. There were some tackles flying in between the two teams. They were fantastic games.”
The #FACup has thrown up some amazing ties between Arsenal and Man Utd over the years
Let's take a look, starting with the #ARSMUN semi-final that had it all
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) January 25, 2019
On paper, this seems like a pretty even contest. 13time champions, Arsenal, will be desperate for a win, but Manchester United’s winning-momentum could end up knocking them off their porch.