Bitter rivals in the North and South of England collide this weekend as the Premier League serves up two massive derbies. On Saturday at 12:30pm, Manchester United host Manchester City, then on Sunday with a 4:30pm kick off, Arsenal make a short trip to take on Tottenham Hotspur.
Any derby match promises to be fierce, but these fixtures are fascinating as all four teams’ campaigns could be shaped depending on the results.
The Gunners are currently first in the league whilst City are second, both of them are in a chase to be crowned champions. Meanwhile, United are fourth and Spurs are fifth, they’re locking horns with each other, as well as Newcastle and Liverpool, for a spot in the top four.
There will be eager eyes from the capital watching on at Old Trafford. Arsenal will be wanting the Red Devils to eclipse the Blue Moon rising to aid their title efforts, and Spurs will be hoping Manchester is blue to help them gain points on United.
Ten Hag’s Revolution
With that said, how is Manchester United’s form going into this fixture? Since these sides last met in City’s 6-3 thumping, United have only lost once in ten league games.
Notable results are a draw and clean sheet against a reinvented Newcastle, a comprehensive 2-0 win over Tottenham, and a 1-1 draw away at Chelsea after a late equaliser from Casemiro.
Their only loss came against Aston Villa. The midlands side were at home and probably will have had a spring in their step as this was Unai Emery’s first game in charge.
Erik Ten Hag evidently demanded improvement from his side, in their next four fixtures, they gained the maximum possible points and conceded just once. But will this momentum be enough to trouble Pep Guardiola’s side?
Despite being five points behind the current leaders – and with form below their high standards – City are still considered favourites to claim the title.
Before the international break, to the delight of Mikel Arteta, City were beaten at home by Brentford. This result will have riled Guardiola and he’ll have wanted a reaction.
That came at Elland Road with a 3-1 win over Leeds, two of the goals through Golden Boot candidate Erling Haaland. But testament to their uncharacteristic patchy form, they then dropped points at home in a 1-1 draw against relegation threatened Everton.
Inevitably, City’s one goal was scored by the Norwegian goal machine. He already has 21 goals to his name, three of them against United in their earlier league meeting.
With an improved defensive record, will Manchester United be better prepared to halt Haaland and stop another embarrassment?
Although Antonio Conte is a proven winner, this season with Spurs has been anything but smooth. They’re currently outside of the top four and playing with a style that isn’t deemed desirable.
As well as lacklustre football, they’re routinely leaking goals and have struggled against opposition where you’d expect them to win.
They drew 2-2 with Brentford – but did come from two down to secure a point. They were unable to repeat this in their next fixture and were beaten 2-0 by Aston Villa.
Pressure is beginning to mount on Conte and a positive result was imperative. Luckily for the Italian, his side travelled to Selhurst Park and emphatically beat Crystal Palace 4-0.
In what might bode well for the season and indeed the derby with their North London rivals, Kane and Son were both on the score sheet. Will the duo carry on their goalscoring form?
All Guns Blazing
Arsenal, for the first time in years, are looking like serious contenders to win the league. In impressive form, they’ve won four of their last five league fixtures. They beat Chelsea 1-0, Wolves 2-0, West Ham 3-1 and Brighton 4-2, and drew 0-0 with Newcastle United.
The form shows that Arsenal can be lethal in attack whilst having a defence that’s difficult to breach. Arteta deserves credit for assembling a well-balanced squad that’s laden with top class quality.
Gabriel Martinelli, Martin Ødegaard and Bukayo Saka are all potent in attack. Ødegaard has the ability to unlock tight defences, so he could have a productive match against a side that lacks defensive discipline.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, a key player, Gabriel Jesus has suffered with an injury. Thankfully for The Gunners, though, Eddie Nketiah is relishing the opportunity to lead the line. The young forward has bagged a goal in his last two games.
Though their defence is galvanised, we’re expecting David De Gea to be a very busy man on Saturday. With Haaland being rested in their FA Cup game, there’s no doubt he’ll be raring to go. We think City will win 2-1.
Tottenham will go into this game with confidence following their 4-0 victory, but we don’t think they’ve enough stability at the back to stop Arsenal bagging a few goals. We can see this derby ending 2-0 to Arsenal.
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JD Football | November 21, 2023