Club football returns with a classic English Premier League fixture in the Saturday kick-off. Manchester United host Arsenal in what’s sure to be a fascinating encounter filled with subplots and played out by two teams riddled with injuries and suspensions. The international break was full of mixed reports about the welfare of players from two of the country’s biggest teams.
Alexis Sanchez is one player with a huge question mark over him. Arsene Wenger said that he was ‘already in the red zone’ before Chile’s World Cup Qualifier against Uruguay and that to play him would be ‘suicidal’. However, play him they did and Sanchez delivered spectacularly. Despite being bandaged up during the match, he scored twice in an impressive 3-1 win.
But just because he emerged through that game unscathed doesn’t mean that he’ll be able to go again on Saturday. Hector Bellerin picked up an injury in the North London Derby against Spurs and only made it worse on international duty with Spain’s U21 team. He won’t be playing. Theo Walcott is a doubt and Lucas Perez is still out of action. Santi Cazorla could return.
The hosts also have plenty of injury issues themselves. A crisis at the back means that Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Antonio Valencia are all unavailable. Jose Mourinho isn’t a huge fan of Luke Shaw but will probably have to play him here. Marouane Fellaini is carrying a knock and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is banned. Even though the Swede is unavailable, Wayne Rooney is unlikely to start due to his escapades on England duty, which made the Sun’s front page. Marcus Rashford could start as the main striker. The prospect of this will excite United fans.
Last season, he scored two goals on his Premier League debut in a win over Arsenal.
Manchester United predicted XI: De Gea, Darmian, Rojo, Fosu-Mensah, Blind, Herrera, Pogba, Lingard, Mata, Martial, Lingard
Arsenal predicted XI: Cech, Jenkinson, Koscielny, Mustafi, Monreal, Xhaka, Elneny, Iwobi, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Giroud