Manchester United vs Arsenal: What kind of challenge is Erik ten Hag expecting against the Gunners?

The Gunners are fighting hard for the league title in a close battle with defending champions Manchester City.

File photo of Manchester United football team; Credit: Twitter/ @ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | May 11, 2024 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The game of this Premier League weekend will take place at Old Trafford when Manchester United host Arsenal. This contest holds a huge significance to both teams for various reasons. The Gunners are fighting hard for the league title in a close battle with defending champions Manchester City. Any slip by them could very well be capitalised by City, hence, Mikel Arteta’s boys would be eager to get all three points.

However, it will not be easy for Arsenal in a difficult ground such as the Old Trafford. Despite Manchester United’s massive struggles this season, they cannot be taken lightly by any side. On their day, United are capable of producing a big challenge for any side. Not to mention that the Red Devils are fighting hard to stay in Europe as well. Currently sitting eight in the Premier League table, United would require a top-seven finish to play either Europa League or Europa Conference League.

Erik ten Hag on Arsenal

Manager Erik ten Hag detailed about what type of challenge to expect from Arsenal on Sunday. “We know they are one of the best teams or probably the best team. You can discuss about this. Is City the best team or is Arsenal at this moment the best team? Very ball secure, so very good structures and we know we have to play absolutely to our maximum levels to get a result. But we are capable of it,” ten Hag, quoted on the club’s website, said in his pre-match press conference.

The Red Devils still have a FA Cup final to play against Manchester City later this month. However, for now, ten Hag is focused on getting the win against Arsenal on Sunday. “We always go in a game to win and not preparing for next game. Of course it [the cup final] is at the back of my mind but we want to put out a team that is competitive for Sunday and a team that is eager to win and produce the best team for Sunday to win that game,” he explained.

Ten Hag also spoke about the huge hindrance injuries have played in Manchester United’s 2023-24 campaign. He specifically spoke in depth about the defensive injuries they suffered. “I think they [the owners] have common sense and then see when you have 32 different backlines. When you have eight centre-backs, you use eight centre-backs. They see when you use 13 partnerships in centre-half, when you don’t have a left full-back when we have so many injuries. They know it will have a negative impact on results,” he stated.

The manager added: “And still, we are fighting and it is huge, the FA Cup final. We are very happy to be there and it can still be a highlight for this season. Of course, we are not happy, but we know the reasons why we are underperforming in the league now, that is because of the injuries. I am a realistic person and I see this when I make this analysis. No team will perform when you have so many injuries in key areas.”

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