The Gunners are coming off their best start to a season since 2004, having won all five of their first five games. Despite United’s slow start, this is likely to be their toughest test yet.
A long list of injured players could make the task even more difficult. Martin Odegaard had to leave the game against Aston Villa on Wednesday night due to an ankle injury, and Aaron Ramsdale was also injured.
This adds to Arsenal’s injury list, which already includes Oleksandr Zinchenko, Thomas Partey, and Mohamed Elneny.
The lack of depth in the squad is something the Gunners sought to address on transfer deadline day as they made a late more for Aston Villa’s Douglas Luiz.
However, after having three bids rejected, Edu was ultimately unable to secure a deal for the Brazilian, meaning that Arsenal go into this particularly condensed World Cup season with perhaps less strength in depth than they would have liked.
While the end to their summer window was somewhat underwhelming, the confidence flowing through Mikel Arteta’s side right now is unlike anything we’ve seen in years at the Emirates.
The Spaniard’s project is well underway and a statement victory on Sunday would certainly send a message out to the rest of the division.
United’s upturn in form coincided with Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia’s respective introductions into the XI and both will continue in defence on Sunday.
Varane has established a stout partnership with summer arrival Lisandro Martinez.
Ten Hag should have new acquisition Antony available to him for the first time, but the Brazilian will likely be named among the substitutes with Casemiro poised to make his maiden start for the Red Devils.
I believe this is where Arsenal’s perfect start could come to an end.
The Gunners have been excellent in their first five games, and while United haven’t been particularly impressive despite their recent upturn in form, Old Trafford remains a difficult place to visit and win.
Mikel Arteta may also be hampered by several major injuries, and while Lokonga stepped up against Villa in the week, Sunday’s game will be a much more difficult proposition.
Both managers want their teams to dominate the ball and control the opposition without it, so it should be an interesting tactical battle.
A chess match is in store, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the spoils shared on Sunday.
That’d be a pretty good result for the Gunners considering their injury crisis.