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Arsenal v Man Utd set up for classic between two sides reborn since last clash

Almost three months ago to the day Arsenal beat Manchester United 1-0 at Old Trafford.

It was a desperately poor game between two sides resembling a pale imitation of those that used to do battle in the classic early ’00s fixtures between the clubs.

But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 69th minute penalty was enough to see the Gunners move up to ninth and leave United in 15th and with the pressure very much on manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

A quarter of a year later, some things have changed and some have stayed the same.

But if there is one thing to expect from Saturday’s clash it is that is should be a much, much better game, with both the Gunners and United having found their attacking flair.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s penalty saw Arsenal beat Manchester United in November

That defeat to Arsenal was United’s last before their shock loss to Sheffield United on Wednesday.

In that time they scored three or more goals in five of their 13 Premier League games, often looking scintillating going forward with their pacey, skillful front-line.

Paul Pogba was the man at fault for the defeat to Arsenal after he clumsily fouled Hector Bellerin in the box.

But the Frenchman is a man reborn recently, and will no doubt be out to prove a point on Saturday.

Despite their setback against the Blades United are still very much in the title race, and victory against the Gunners would send out a big statement that they intend to push rivals Manchester City all the way.

Manchester United are a team reborn since that defeat
Manchester United are a team reborn since that defeat

It will not be easy, however, against an Arsenal side that look revitalised, re-energised and with one eye on European qualification.

While November’s match was the turning point for United in a positive way, for Arsenal it was the complete opposide.

It marked the start of a woeful run of form which saw them fail to win any of their next seven Premier League games, and left Mikel Arteta on the brink of the sack.

In keeping with this most bizarre of campaigns, however, since a much-needed 3-1 victory over Chelsea on Boxing Day they are unbeaten in the division, and host United looking like a team reborn.

Youngsters like Bukayo Saka are shining for Arsenal
Youngsters like Bukayo Saka are shining for Arsenal

Youngsters like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are shining, Mesut Ozil is no longer lurking in the shadows and the likes of Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette appear to have finally found their scoring boots again.

And the addition of the exciting Martin Odegaard is also likely to give them a boost in the second half of the season.

Above all, the Gunners appear to be finally enjoying their football again, and are expressing themselves on the pitch without the fear of making errors.

All things considered, then, Saturday’s encounter is set up for a potential classic.

Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer go head-to-head again on Saturday
Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer go head-to-head again on Saturday

Neither side will be content with a draw, and both are likely to go out and take the game to their opponents from the start.

Goals have not been difficult to come by for either recently, while question-marks still remain over the defences.

Here’s hoping a high-scoring thriller will banish the memories of that dreadful November bore-fest as Arsenal and United’s transformation continues.




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