Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has this evening provided a brief insight into his team selection to take on Manchester United.
Reds vs Gunners
The marquee fixture of the Premier League weekend is currently being played out at Old Trafford.
The clash of course sees Man United and Arsenal go head-to-head, in a key outing for both sides.
Ahead of kick-off in Manchester, it was the visitors who held the advantage in the English top-flight table, albeit just, sitting in a lowly 13th, with 9 points from 6 games.
As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Red Devils, they had managed an equally unimpressive 7 points from their first 5 league fixtures.
Despite their struggles over the early weeks of the campaign, though, United, to their credit, had looked much improved of late – bagging 3 wins and a draw from their last 4 outings across all competitions, including a 5-0 drubbing of RB Leipzig during the week.
Xhaka latest/Auba staying put
As such, ahead of kick-off at Old Trafford, Mikel Arteta was no doubt wary of his side underestimating their potentially explosive hosts.
It therefore came as little surprise that the Arsenal boss opted to return to a tried and tested 3-man backline, which proved so effective over last season’s run-in, this evening.
What did come as a surprise, on the other hand, was the midfield setup employed by the visitors.
Arteta came to the decision to leave usual first-choice pairing Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos out, in favour of summer signing Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny:
🚨 Three changes from last Sunday…
➡️ Holding, Elneny, Willian
⬅️ David Luiz, Xhaka, Ceballos#MUNARS
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) November 1, 2020
In turn, speaking ahead of kick-off in Manchester, Arteta was inevitably drawn on his midfield selection, with an emphasis on those left out.
The Spaniard, though, was quick to assure that his decisions were simply fatigue-based, with Xhaka in particular having played ‘a lot of minutes’ of late:
‘Granit played a lot of minutes in the last 4-6 weeks, and there are other players who have played really well,’ Arteta explained.
During the same interview with Sky Sports, meanwhile, the Arsenal boss was also pressed on his insistence in utilising Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from out wide, rather than in a central role.
This comes with the Gunners captain currently in the midst of a rare Premier League goal drought.
Arteta, though, was again keen to defend his decision, urging his side’s other attacking stars to put Aubameyang in a position to succeed moving forward:
‘Auba scored many many goals playing in this position (left wing), that cannot be the excuse. It’s how much we generate for him in zones & areas where he’s really dangerous & prolific. This is what we have to try & do more consistently.’
🗣”He has scored many goals playing that position”
Mikel Arteta responds to calls for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be played in a central position for Arsenal instead of on the wing pic.twitter.com/ggYt66F1RX
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) November 1, 2020
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has this evening provided a brief insight into his team selection to take on Manchester United. Reds vs Gunners The marquee fixture of the Premier League weekend is currently being played out at Old Trafford. The clash of course sees Man United and Arsenal go head-to-head, in a key outing forFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed