What a week it’s been for Manchester United! 2-0 down to PSG, most of our first team out injured or suspended, and the reserves go and win in Paris.
As the great Sir Alex Ferguson famously said, “Football, bloody hell!” Or more accurately, “Solskjaer, have my children!”
Next up it’s an away trip to the Jesse Lingard Stadium (aka the Emirates) to face Arsenal and things couldn’t be going better for United.
Solskjaer has managed nine away games for United across the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League, and won them all. Not only that, the football has been adaptive, exciting, and imaginative – teams are genuinely fearful of facing United for the first time in years.
So what threat do Arsenal pose to United? Can they stop Solskjaer achieving a sensational ten away wins in-a-row, and more importantly can they stop United moving four points clear of them in the race for top four?
It’s an amazing thing that Arsenal’s new journey of rediscovery under a new manager many of their fans actually like set sail six months before Solskjaer was installed as United interim manager.
But, it’s United who have swept ahead in a much shorter space of time. So much so that United will be considered favourites in a game that as the hosts Arsenal really should be exerting some authority on.
A new manager is very much like a new lick of paint though. You can pretend it’s a new start, but scratch the surface and the same Jelly baby – spineless – mentality prevails.
Gunners fans won’t like that, in fact, they’re probably constructing a poll to win on Twitter right now called “Is Goldbridge a Forest Fan? Answer yes or yes below”, but would Arsenal go to PSG at 2-0 down from the first leg and win 3-1? Even with their best team? The answer’s no.
The answer’s no because that’s the enormity of the rebuild Emery has. Everyone knows on their day the North London outfit can play great football and beat anyone. But, that’s nothing new and under Arsene Wenger they were the same.
Emery’s got to instil that grit, determination and belief to be consistent – at the moment it’s very much a work in progress.
The harsh fact is Arsenal are in transition and even the staunchest Gooner, even the prat in the hat, will confirm that trusting this side to get a result is like trusting Dracula to look after a blood bank.
Arsenal can’t be trusted and right now Manchester United can. Whatever the team Solskjaer selects, whether it’s his best team away to Spurs or his reserves in Paris, you know United will go out and perform.
With Arsenal there’s still that question mark: Will they be prime Arsenal or Banter FC?
Which is why I’m a little bit concerned about this game. Like James Corden rolling down a freshly mown hill, nothing looks like it can stop United right now. But, every run has to come to an end at some point and if Arsenal did beat us on Sunday they’d actually leapfrog us into the top four.
If this season has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected.
The pressure is definitely on The Gunners though. They are the home side, they are playing catch up in the league and their fans will demand a win. It’s pressure that normally does for Arsenal and let’s not forget that United have Pogba and Martial to come back into the side fresh. Arsenal meanwhile, will be recovering from their Emmerdale Cup exertions on Thursday night.
Who will come out on top? My heart says United, but my head says even a draw would do.
Whatever the result you can guarantee they’ll be fireworks on the fancams afterwards. Let’s just hope it’s AFTV and chill and not United Stand and chill.