Arsenal vs Manchester United: Three players who must start

by Leo Nieboer

Manchester United simply cannot afford to be any more than eight points behind Manchester City when the two sides meet on December 10.

Pep Guardiola’s men take on David Moyes’ West Ham United on Saturday and you can only really imagine that to be a bloodbath.

Jose Mourinho‘s men, therefore, will need to do something they haven’t done since March 2016 – win away at one of last season’s top five.

And with that in mind, here are three players who the 54-year-old must start at the Emirates on Saturday.

Paul Pogba

Never before have Man United needed their star man to step up and take control of a big game more than now. Pogba’s return to the side last month has galvanised their Premier League form, with Mourinho’s men netting four goals twice in their last three league matches.

Supporters will be desperate to see the Frenchman take the focus away from Mesut Ozil and put Arsenal’s midfield on the back-foot by releasing players further up the pitch. For all that he has impressed so far since arriving in August 2016, Pogba still hasn’t taken control of a big game away from Old Trafford. Now is the time.

Marcus Rashford

The 20-year-old knows what it takes to get the better of this Arsenal defence. Arsene Wenger’s men will dominate if their defenders are allowed time on the ball to move play through the lines, and Rashford’s cut and thrust will be necessary to force their back line back and truncate their overall movement.

He was rested during the week and Mourinho, who will likely let Arsenal have the ball, clearly sees the forward as a key component when it comes to breaking with pace.

Marcos Rojo

Many feared that Rojo’s blistering form of last season would not resurface following a prolonged period on the sidelines, but his first couple of displays since returning have shown that the Argentine, like all good professionals, has picked up from where he left off.

Chris Smalling and Phil Jones provided scant cover or assurance during the 2-0 defeat at the Emirates in May, with debutant Axel Tuanzebe emerging as the outstanding defender, and United will need the defender to spearhead a far more organised display at the back this time around.

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