Arsenal-Manchester United, two philosophies but the same determination

With a very young team, Mikel Arteta took Arsenal to the top of the Premier League. Erik ten Hag shaped a Manchester United in his own way to get the Red Devils back on track. Shock to be expected this Sunday (5:30 p.m.).

The madness of youth in the face of an almost perfectly oiled collective. This Sunday, Arsenal receives Manchester United in its home of the Emirates Stadium. A real clash between the Premier League leader and the fourth in the championship, who only needs one point to get on the podium.

Arsenal, a rhythm of champion

Since the start of the season, Arsenal have been impressively consistent in the Premier League. Only two draws and one defeat in 18 league games. Second attack in the championship thanks to its fiery and complementary young players (42 goals scored, behind Manchester City and its 50 pawns). A solidity found behind. After some trial and error at the start of the season, Mikel Arteta found the magic formula: 14 goals conceded, only Newcastle did better (11).

Only one defeat in the first leg of the championship for the Gunners, against … Manchester United. On September 4, the Red Devils won 3-1 at Old Trafford thanks to a goal from Antony and a brace from Marcus Rashford. “We still have to learn», tempers Mikel Arteta in a press conference, he who has one of the youngest teams in the Premier League.

There were important lessons about this gamecontinues the Spanish tactician. At many times we were in complete control of the game, but we know that it is one of the qualities of Man United, to proceed on the counter. We will have to be at our best level to win on Sunday.»

Manchester United is recovering

After three defeats in the first seven days of the championship, including a scathing 6-3 conceded in the derby at the Etihad, Manchester United returned to their faults. Only since then, the club from the north of England has had a string of excellent performances. Only one defeat in the Premier League since October 9. After 19 days, the Red Devils have 12 victories and can more than ever dream of the Champions League, they who are still in the race in four competitions.

Fourth on equal points with third-placed Newcastle, Manchester United are six points clear (and one game less) over Tottenham and eight over Brighton. “I think we have a good group, a competitive groupsays Erik ten Hag simply and humbly.

Yet the Dutch tactician has a lot to do with the Red Devils’ return to form. If the 4-2-3-1 has been installed since the start of the season, the players diverge on the lines. Now orphaned by Cristiano Ronaldo, who rebounded in Saudi Arabia, Erik ten Hag can compose his team as he wishes. For the past few weeks, Luke Shaw has often taken up a central position alongside Raphaël Varane, leaving the left lane to Tyrell Malacia, a young Dutch defender strongly desired by his coach.

A repositioning that leaves Harry Maguire, yet a part of this team, and Lisandro Martinez, recruited for more than 50 million last summer, on the bench. Casemiro now finds his full measure in the middle, most often accompanied by Christian Eriksen. Wandered sometimes to the right, in particular due to the injury of Jadon Sancho (“He still has a long way to go to come back” explains Erik ten Hag), sometimes in the axis, Bruno Fernandes is one of the key men of this team. Holder in 18 league games, most often with an armband. Marcus Rashford, child of the club, also regains his splendour, with four goals in the last five games.

A duel to relaunch the title race

His work is truly impressive. I think he changed things pretty quicklyclaims Mikel Arteta, about his counterpart on the Mancunian bench. He has set up a very clear way of playing. The players seem to have bought in, they have very good energy and a lot has changed in a very short time.»

Arsenal are in great shape but it’s up to us to stop this good run. We know what we want to do and we need a very high performancerecognizes Erik ten Hag for his part.

In the event of victory at Arsenal, Manchester United could return to equality on the local rival (Manchester City receives Wolverhampton at 3 p.m.) and only five points behind the Gunners. If the first crowning in the championship after 19 years of waiting seems to reach out to the Reds of London, the race for the title could be relaunched. For a return phase to three of the craziest contenders.