Hello and welcome to Sports Mole
's live coverage of the match in the Premier League between Manchester United
and Arsenal. This fixture has been played to determine league titles in the past but on this occasion, it's simply about both clubs trying to strengthen their bid for a top-four position. How times have changed!
Without further ado, let's take a look at the two starting lineups, beginning with the home side...
MANCHESTER UNITED XI:
De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Dalot, Herrera, Matic, Darmian; Lingard, Rashford, Martial
MANCHESTER UNITED SUBSTITUTES: Romero, Valencia, Fellaini, Mata, McTominay, Pogba, Lukaku
Leno; Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
ARSENAL SUBSTITUTES: Cech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Mkhitaryan, Nketiah, Lacazette
Let's start with United and it appears that Jose Mourinho
has opted for a change in formation to match Arsenal's 3-4-3 strategy. That has resulted in both Paul Pogba
and Romelu Lukaku
dropping down to the substitutes' bench.
Mourinho has decided to select five defenders, which should see Diogo Dalot and Matteo Darmian feature in the wing-back positions. Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo have been provided with rare starts, while Chris Smalling has recovered from the injury which kept him out of the game at Southampton.
Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera have been given duties in the middle of the park, with Jesse Lingard
likely to drop back when Arsenal are in possession. Anthony Martial
and Marcus Rashford also form part of the attack.
It's an extremely offensive-minded bench with Antonio Valencia being the only defender. Marouane Fellaini and Juan Mata are also options, but there is no place in the squad for summer signing Fred. Ashley Young misses out through suspension.
As for Arsenal, Unai Emery
has decided to make just the two alterations to the side which began the win over North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. One is enforced due to Granit Xhaka's ban, and it has resulted in Matteo Guendouzi being brought into team.
The other sees Aaron Ramsey
being preferred to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. The Wales international is due to leave Arsenal at the end of the season, but the playmaker has recorded the most assists in the Premier League during the current campaign.
Emery would have hoped to have Mesut Ozil available again after the German was missing from the weekend's fixture due to back spasms, but there is no place in the 18-man squad for the playmaker.
Arsenal still have plenty of options on the bench, including Alexandre Lacazette
. Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Mohamed Elneny also feature, but the game has come too soon for Nacho Monreal, who has recently returned to training.
United head into this game sitting in eighth position in the Premier League standings and while they are just a point adrift of sixth-placed Bournemouth, there are just two points separating the North-West giants and 11th-placed Watford.
Arsenal are in spot and depending on the results of Chelsea and Spurs, could go as high as third or as low as fifth.
Interesting choice of captain for Arsenal this evening...
United were known for their clean sheets in the Premier League last season but at the start of this week, Mourinho's side had the sixth-worst defensive record with 23 goals being shipped in 14 matches.
The North-West giants have also been conceding far too many goals in the opening 15 minutes of games. As many as six goals have been let in during that period.
United have also gone three league games without success for the first time in 12 months. This is a huge match for the club and Mourinho for a number of reasons.
The club have only suffered one home defeat in the Premier League this season, but they have only played six times at Old Trafford. The same can be said of Arsenal on the road.
Such have been Mourinho's struggles that he has already used 23 players in the top flight this season. As many as 22 have started - and the inclusions of Dalot and Rojo take that tally to 24.
In sharp contrast, Arsenal head into this game with the chance to get to 16 points from away games this season. That would match their efforts for the whole of the last campaign!
They are also 12 games unbeaten in the Premier League and 19 in all competitions. It has been a phenomenal recovery from a side who lost their opening two fixtures under Emery, but the Spaniard will be judged on results in games like the one this evening.
It has been well-documented that the Gunners are yet to hold a half-time lead in the Premier League this season but on the flipside, they have scored 24 times after the break. It's a division high.
However, like United, Arsenal have struggled for clean sheets. They have kept just two in the top flight since the beginning of the season, which came at home to Everton and Watford respectively.
It's a wet night in Manchester (when is it not?) and here are a few of the players and a club legend arriving at Old Trafford.
PREDICTION! Manchester United have struggled at Old Trafford this season, but the visit of Arsenal could be the match to spark them into action. Arsenal are full of confidence ahead of this contest but with United having more preparation time for this fixture, we feel that an entertaining 2-2 draw is the most likely result.
HEAD TO HEAD! Tonight's encounter will represent the 228th competitive clash between the two clubs, with United having won 98 times in comparison to 82 wins for Arsenal.
Neither team has put together three successive wins in this fixture since United did between August 2011 and November 2012, but Mourinho's side can achieve that tonight. Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the Premier League since 2006, although they did prevail in an FA Cup tie
as recently as 2015.
We are also providing coverage of Chelsea's fixture against Wolverhampton Wanderers this evening. You can follow that contest by clicking here
It's time for the two teams to start making their way out at Old Trafford. There's an expectant atmosphere this evening, with United fans demanding improvements and Arsenal's travelling faithful anticipating another positive result.
A reminder of the two starting lineups...
MANCHESTER UNITED XI: De Gea; Bailly, Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Dalot, Herrera, Matic, Darmian; Lingard, Rashford, Martial
ARSENAL XI: Leno; Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Iwobi, Aubameyang
KICKOFF: Arsenal get us underway!
It's been a quiet start from both sides, although United have had the one break forward with Rashford failing to pick out a teammate with a through-ball.
SHOT! Mourinho appears to have got his message across because his players are playing at a high pace. Rashford takes his chance to get a shot on goal from distance, but his well-struck effort from 25 yards is straight at Leno.
Arsenal are finally starting to get their foot on the ball, but United are doing their best to close their opponents down and keep them in their own defensive third.
Martial wins a corner on the left and it's a chance for United's backline to get forward. However, the set piece is played short and eventually comes to nothing.
United have been the better side during the early stages, but Arsenal are beginning to warm into this. No more shots to speak of, but it's been an entertaining opening.
SHOT! The home side surge forward through Martial and the Frenchman has options either side. However, he instead tries a speculative effort from 25 yards which is easily claimed by Leno.
Better from the visitors who manage to get Iwobi down the left, but a defender comes across to divert his cross behind for a corner.
Nothing came from the resulting corner, but it was at least a show of intent from Arsenal. The likes of Dalot and Darmian have been allowed to spend too much time in attacking areas.
That constant pressing from United has stopped now and Arsenal are now able to dictate play and put together moves from the back. They look settled while United are prepared to take a breather.
Arsenal are getting closer and again, it's down the left. Kolasinac drills in a low cross and although Smalling can only half-clear the ball, Darmian is well positioned on the far side.
The visitors are fixating on trying to isolate Dalot and their tactics are working. The defender gets a good tackle in on this occasion but more often than not, it's two on one.
It's been all Arsenal over the last five or six minutes. They are still to get a threatening shot away, but they are making all of the running.
GOAL! Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (Shkodran Mustafi)
Arsenal take the lead and the defending and goalkeeping is abysmal. Mustafi mistimes a free header from a corner and it should be easy work for De Gea, However, the Spaniard fumbles the ball behind him and it goes just over the line, despite the best efforts of a defender.
United started this game on the front foot but within a quarter-of-an-hour, that had changed. Arsenal deserve their lead and it's now up to the home side to deliver a response.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal (Anthony Martial)
There is your response. A free kick from Rojo is well saved by Leno but Herrera is able to get the ball back across goal for Martial to fire home from close range. Herrera was probably marginally offside, but the goal stands!
We are going to have a break in play while Holding receives treatment on the sidelines. Both sets of players are probably pleased for the stoppage!
Play is back underway while Holding continues to receive treatment and it looks like Arsenal are going to have to make a change. That's a big blow for the visitors.
Arsenal win a corner on the right but it comes to nothing. The set piece had come from Ramsey having a shot deflected wide of the target.
SUBSTITUTION! Lichtsteiner has been introduced for Holding and has taken his place on the right side of a back three.
YELLOW CARD! Mustafi goes into the book for a foul on Rashford as the England international attempted to cut inside on the byline. Easy decision for the referee.
YELLOW CARD! Rojo is also yellow carded for a late challenge on Guendouzi, who was trying to clear the ball from out of the penalty area.
YELLOW CARD! Now Lingard is cautioned for a cynical trip on Torreira. Things are heating up!
YELLOW CARD! This is unbelievable. Bellerin now enters the book for a foul on the right flank!
YELLOW CARD! Anyone for another yellow card? Here you go. Matic tugs the shirt of Aubameyang to halt a counter-attack and it is a fifth yellow card in six minutes.
Just the minute to go until half time now. I think both teams will be happy to hear the whistle so that emotions can cool down.
There will be three minutes of added-on time.
Ramsey is really struggling with a knock picked up in a recent tackle. I think Emery will give it until the break to make a decision on the Wales international.
HALF TIME: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal
The half-time whistle goes at Old Trafford and the two teams are locked at a 1-1 scoreline. Both sides have had their moments and being level is probably fair at this stage.
Arsenal took the lead in calamitous circumstances. Mustafi was able to free himself of his marker at a corner but the German miscued a header straight at De Gea. However, the Spaniard somehow managed to fumble the ball behind him and just over the line.
It took United just four minutes to equalise. Leno did well to save a free kick from Rojo but Herrera was quickest to react and after the ball was sent back into the danger area, Martial had the easy job of firing into the net from six yards out.
The two teams are back out for the second half. Ramsey has failed to shake off his knock, so Mkhitaryan has been introduced.
KICKOFF: United get us back underway.
There's not a lot to report from the opening stages of the second half. Kolasinac thought that he should have won a corner having got into the penalty area, but the referee disagreed.
Both teams are trying to create something going forward but the defences are on top at this stage. United are doing their best to step up, however. That wasn't the case during the second quarter of the first half.
More of the same from both teams. It's taking a while for the two sides to get into their stride again. United are showing more ambition at this stage.
Yet another injury for Arsenal, this time for Torreira. This would be disastrous. However, the Uruguayan enforcer is back on his feet. Remember that Arsenal only have one more substitution.
It's all United now. Dalot is released down the right flank and he has plenty of time to pick out a teammate. The wing-back probably has too much because he can only find the first man.
Emery has just one alteration up his sleeve. If he had more, you would think that he would tinker with his team because they are simply second best now. Mourinho has plenty of options in reserve too.
SHOT! Rojo is given the chance to get a shot away from distance and the Argentine sees an effort tipped over the bar by Leno. The ball was heading over, but the goalkeeper helped it on its way.
Better from Arsenal who again target the left flank to get forward. Nothing comes from it, but it at least makes United think for a few seconds. That hadn't been the case for about 10 minutes.
SUBSTITUTION! United have an injury concern now and it sees Lukaku replace Martial.
SUBSTITUTION! Emery is not hanging around. Lacazette is introduced into the action and Iwobi makes way.
The action has slowed down a touch now, which is most definitely to Arsenal's liking. They need a period to regroup and to find the right balance. Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang will not do the same defensive work as Ramsey and Iwobi.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal (Alexandre Lacazette)
The visitors retake the lead and again, it's a weird one. Lacazette plays a one-two with Mkhitaryan and although Rojo gets across to prevent the shot, he can only kick the ball against the Frenchman and the ball finds the bottom corner!
GOAL! Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal (Jesse Lingard)
Some of the defending in this game has been appalling and it's no different here. Straight from the kickoff, the ball is sent forward and after Kolasinac diverts the ball back towards his own goal, Lingard reacts fastest to poke a shot past Leno!
CHANCE! Arsenal squander two chances to go back in front! Aubameyang should convert from six yards after meeting Kolasinac's cross, only for De Gea to stick out a leg, and then Mkhitaryan somehow fires over from three yards out!
SUBSTITUTION! A second alteration from United sees Fellaini come on for Rojo.
SHOT! There surely has to be another goal in this game. Aubameyang attempts to find the far corner with a long-range curler, but De Gea gets across to parry the ball away.
SUBSTITUTION! United make a third change and Pogba is on for Lingard.
Arsenal are showing the greater intent to win this match but it is giving United more space at the back. I really cannot see this remaining 2-2.
As I say that, United start to launch the ball into the penalty area in the hope of getting Lukaku into the action. The Belgian has not really been involved since his introduction.
Arsenal are winning the midfield battle at this stage, and it's probably why United are taking the direct approach. Eight to go. Still no more chances.
The chances have dried up since I mentioned that there will surely be another goal. I will keep my mouth shut. United are in possession now, but in their own half.
SHOT! Rashford takes it upon himself to get a shot away from 30 yards out, but the strike is straight at Leno.
Fellaini has just pulled the hair of Guendouzi. There is clearly some jealousy there. Nothing comes from the resulting set piece.
This game is petering out a little now. I think both teams will be content with a point, if that is how it stays.
CHANCE! Arsenal put together a fine move down the right with Mkhitaryan deceiving two players before crossing for Torreira, who sees a first-time effort well saved by De Gea. Mkhitaryan produces the most brilliant of finishes from the rebound but he is a yard offside.
There will be four minutes of added-on time.
Bailly is down with cramp. It's not really a surprise given his lack of appearances.
FULL TIME: Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal
The full-time whistle goes at Old Trafford and the two teams have played out a 2-2 draw. Arsenal will be disappointed having twice led and created the better opportunities, but United were probably deserving of a point.
That will be all from Sports Mole
for this match. Thank you for joining us this evening and we hope to see you again soon.
If you would like to read our on-the-whistle match report, you can do so by clicking here. Goodbye for now.