The host Gunners entertains the visiting side Burnley in the return fixture of the Barclays Premier League with so much to expect as the big guns minus the main rival (Chelsea at the top of the Premier League summit) like Liverpool, City and Tottenham Hotspur while United needed a late goal from their Veteran skipper Wayne Rooney to draw United back in the game which was cagey at Britannia Stadium (Stoke City).
The Gunners will be travelling to South Wales to lock horns with the relegation threatened Swansea City side who had already fired two managers notably Bob Bradley in just few games in charge in an attempt to crawl out of the danger zone following a run of poor performances in the Premier League this season.
The visitors also are not having the best of time as they picked up 7 points out of a possible 12, dropping 5 points all during the Christmas period as the London side found themselves out of the top four (fifth position on the league log) following a 3-3 comeback draw with Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth side at home.
Arsene Wenger is clearly a bit concerned about the focus and commitment of his Arsenal team ahead of the visit of Stoke City for today’s Premier League match, as he spoke about the need to stay focused and not allow complacency to affect us in the Arsenal.com preview.
The Frenchman was also full of praise for the way the Gunners have been applying themselves of late and while he feels that there is still room for improvement, Wenger has been impressed with the determination to win and the fact that we have not rested on our laurels so far.
Some Arsenal fans and football pundits were left a little confused in midweek after Arsene Wenger chose to hand a rare start to Olivier Giroud. Not because the French international forward is no good but because he finally got a start in a match that was probably the least suited to the big man´s talents as a player.
After starting him against PSG though, we all expected him to be in the line up for the game against Bournemouth in the Premier League today, as it looks to be the ideal sort of encounter for Giroud, against a deep lying and determined defence, but Wenger has surprised everyone again and left Olivier on the bench.
It’s been reported today that Arsene Wenger fully intends on offering Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere a new deal this season, despite the player seeming out of favour at the club.
While Arsenal are not exactly in a bad place right now, as we sit just three points off the top of the Premier League and are already guaranteed a place in the next round of the Champions League, you could argue that we have not really pushed on as we would have hoped after comfortably beating our bogey team Chelsea.
I may be in the minority of Arsenal fans here, but I still believe that our French centre forward Olivier Giroud is a very good player and is a very realistic option for Arsene Wenger to use in the centre forward role. So even if the Chile international star Alexis Sanchez has been passed fully fit and the Frenchman has no qualms about using him then I would not be surprised to see Giroud in the starting line up against Manchester United today.
There is no doubt that the big game of the Premier League weekend is the trip of Arsenal to face our old rivals Manchester United, and with all of the other main players in the EPL title race playing games after us that we really expect them to win it is a hugely important away game for Arsene Wenger and his players.
As usual, however, the month of November has thrown a number of problems at the Gunners and the manager has revealed in the press conference which you can see in full on the Arsenal website that our brilliant young defender Hector Bellerin will miss the trip to Old Trafford and around the next four weeks of action as the Spanish international has an ankle problem.
England are set to face Spain at Wembley, in which could be Gareth Southgate’s hardest game since becoming interim boss of the national side, despite it only being a friendly between two second string sides.
To appease the Premier League club managers, Southgate has rightly refused to risk any big stars in which is basically a meaningless affair, but it is an opportunity to have a look at some of the fringe players who will be trying to impress the manager in the hope of becoming a first-teamer in future.
In some ways I think that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal players will be pleasantly surprised to see the Tottenham team sheet for today’s north London derby at the Emirates stadium. On the other hand, the negative and defensive team that Mauricio Pochettino has selected could end up being very hard to break down and is aimed at frustrating us, like the famous bus parking tactics of Jose Mourinho.