The weekend’s biggest Premier League fixture, Manchester United at Arsenal, will be sans a couple of key/star players. For the Gunners, their leading scorer, Alexandre Lacazette, has been ruled out due to a groin injury. Meanwhile the Red Devils could be without the anchor of their middle and most important player to their offense, Nemanja Matic.
In addition to Matic, United have another injury doubt in Marouane Fellaini, who missed the midweek victory at Watford. Additionally, another central midfielder, Captain Michael Carrick continues recovering from his heart condition.
Matic’s injury is muscular in nature, Mourinho inferred.
On the plus side, both Eric Bailly and Phil Jones could be back to full fitness for this one. We probably won’t know for sure until the Jose Mourinho weekly manager press conference tomorrow. We’ll have video of that, as well as the session with Arsene Wenger, posted here for you on Friday.
We’ve considered all these injury doubts though in our MUFC starting XI prediction, which you can view over at this link.
Flipping over to the home sideline, obviously Lacazette, the club transfer fee record breaker this past summer, is the primary concern. He was substituted at half-time with a groin injury in the 5-0 destruction of Huddersfield Town. Meanwhile star forward Alexis Sanchez was also replaced after feeling some issues with his hamstring.
Wenger expects Sanchez to be a go, but Lacazette has been ruled out.
“Sanchez had a little hamstring problem – that’s why I took him off but I think he will be alright,” Wenger said.
“Look, we have offensive weapons, you know. We have Danny Welbeck, we have Giroud, we have Jack Wilshere who all came on. They are all offensive players. I will see what I do for Saturday but ideally you wanted him (Lacazette) there.”
A potential key to this game revolves around Gunners midfielder Mesut Ozil, and what United do to neutralize him. The German superstar has been criticized a lot this season, but he’s recently re-found his form, and it’s due to his finding his fight again, says Wenger.
The bookies are showing the Gunners at 8/5 to win, 12/5 for a draw, and Manchester United at 83/41. That’s just about a pick’em there.
Prediction: Arsenal 0, United 0
As always, feel free to post your own MUFC and/or Arsenal starting XI (and match final score) predictions in the comments section.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune corporation blogging community Chicago Now.
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