Man Utd vs Arsenal: 3 key battles to watch at Old Trafford

  • Arsenal will make the trip to Manchester United on Sunday
  • A rare Old Trafford win would bring the title race down to the final day
  • The Gunners can claim a first league double over United in 17 years
Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Premier League / Michael Steele/GettyImages
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2. Kobbie Mainoo vs Declan Rice

Declan Rice
Arsenal FC v Manchester United - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

This is a fascinating midfield matchup featuring two POTS nominees (albeit in different categories).

Plaudits since his November breakthrough are putting Kobbie Mainoo firmly into the Euro 2024 conversation, and his good work at both ends of the pitch have already seen him earn two international appearances.

However, the 19-year-old has faltered amid the general United collapse and seems more vulnerable without an experienced central partner, especially as Casemiro is deputising at centre back due to several defensive injuries.

Paired with Christian Eriksen, Mainoo now shoulders more of the defensive responsibility but struggles to cover large areas (owing as much to United’s weak structure as anything else) and lacks in athleticism, which can leave him exposed.

That should be music to the ears of Declan Rice! Our midfield star is in outstanding form and appears to love his box-to-box role, allowing him to drive through the middle and create/score in addition to his less-aesthetic duties.

Gaping holes in the ten Hag setup and a makeshift backline may grant Rice copious room in which to operate and, consequently, condemn our hosts to another painful afternoon.

They might work alongside each other in Germany next month, but Rice must steal the show here.

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