From being at the bottom of the Premier League table three weeks ago to now up to fifth, Manchester United seem to have turned their fortunes around.
Three wins on the trot and two successive clean sheets are the ideal preparation ahead of a stern test against current table-toppers Arsenal on Sunday.
Martial out again
While the defence is certainly looking quite strong, there are still issues up front with regards to the personnel available for selection for Sunday’s clash.
“It’s difficult to say when I talk about Luke Shaw and Aaron but Anthony Martial will not be involved on Sunday. I cannot tell at this moment (when the trio will be back),” the Dutch manager said during his pre-match press conference.
Antony debut on the cards
New signing Antony has received his work permit and is available for selection and fans will be hoping to see their latest acquisition in action against the Gunners.
The Brazilian is still to have a training session with the rest of the players as the manager mentioned and that might indicate that the manager is still not sure about starting him but a debut is still expected.
“Today, he did his first training, individual[ly]. Tomorrow, we have a team session and Saturday we have a team session, so I will think about it and then we will take a decision.”
Ten Hag on Antony: “Today (Thursday), he did his first training, so [an] individual [session]. Tomorrow (Friday), we have a team session and on Saturday we have a team session, so I will think about it and then we will take a decision.” [mu] #mufc
— The United Stand (@UnitedStandMUFC) September 2, 2022
Ten Hag praised the defensive organisation of the entire team and mentioned the togetherness being shown by the defensive unit is adding up in making it difficult for the opposition to score.
“Collectively, I see the whole team as defending. That makes it easier for our defenders. But I think what they do well is they cooperate, they do it together, they support each other, and then they have a good performance.
“It’s difficult for opponents to create chances, that is what we see at this moment on the pitch.”
Squad rotation will be key
The games are set to come thick and fast with mid-week fixtures as well as weekend league fixtures. And squad rotation will likely be key. Casemiro is yet to start a game while Cristiano Ronaldo is also due a start.
Ten Hag will have all these in mind when selecting his strongest XI against Mikel Arteta’s team, who are enjoying a fine start to the season and have been playing together for a considerable period of time.
“I have to think, I have seen Arsenal, a tough opponent, they have started really well as we all know in the season and you can see there is a team who are [a] long [time] together, with a coach who brings his philosophy in the team.
“So, this is a good test and I’m really looking forward [to it]. We will pick the right XI to start but as you see, it’s not only a team, we have a squad and also, today, the subs who came on did really well so I’m happy with that. That is what we have to construct further.”
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