Arsenal will back into the top four this evening by avoiding defeat at Old Trafford against Manchester United, whilst three points would move us within two points of the defending champions in second place.
We have every reason to feel confident of getting a result on Monday night football based on United’s performances of late. They struggled in beating Astana 1-0 in the UEFA Europa League nearly two weeks ago, lost 2-0 at West Ham United in the Premier League and then relied on penalties to beat Rochdale in the EFL Cup last week.
Our own form has been inconsistent but three points would go a long way towards our top four ambitions. With an attack that includes Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe should be able to get us a goal or two on the road.
United have problems in their own attack with Anthony Martial ruled out and Marcus Rashford a doubt. It means 17-year-old Mason Greenwood could lead the line against us, supported by the likes of Jesse Lingard, Andreas Pereira and Daniel James.
Unai Emery will be without Hector Bellerin but Kieran Tierney could make his Premier League debut after returning from his lengthy layoff in last week’s 5-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest in the EFL Cup. Alexandre Lacazette is still on the sidelines, meaning Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will play in his favourite position as the central striker.
Manchester United have a lengthier injury list. As well as Martial, Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot are all ruled out. Paul Pogba is also a doubt with an ankle injury.
Calum Chambers could come in at right-back in place of the suspended Ainsley Maitland-Niles after his performance against Nottingham Forest that saw him record three assists. Kieran Tierney is expected to be handed his Premier League debut in place of Sead Kolasinac at left-back.
It would be nice to see Dani Ceballos start in a 4-3-3 formation in an attempt to take the game to Manchester United but I expect Emery to be more conservative and start Lucas Torreira alongside Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi.
Bukayo Saka has been impressive when given the chance down the left wing and I see him getting the nod ahead of Reiss Nelson in this game.
Predicted Arsenal XI: Bernd Leno; Calum Chambers, Sokratis, David Luiz, Kieran Tierney; Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira; Nicolas Pepe, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Bukayo Saka
Manchester United are there for the taking as West Ham proved last weekend and as Rochdale nearly proved midweek.
However, we dropped points against Watford recently and relied on a late free kick to beat newly-promoted Aston Villa. Our defence has started the season very poorly and I can see Unai Emery being conservative in this match.
Don’t surprise to see us fall behind in the match before we try to take the game to Manchester United, and maybe even bring on some playmakers like Dani Ceballos or Mesut Ozil in the second half as we pick up a 2-2 draw.