After a gargantuan effort on Thursday, Arsenal now face the ‘not so hard’ test of heading to Old Trafford for the last time in Arsene Wenger’s reign.
Usually Manchester United away is one of the biggest games of the season, however, with this game being sandwiched in between the Europa League semi-final legs Sunday’s game may need to take a backseat.
As is common knowledge by now, the Europa League is Arsenal’s only route to the Champions League for next season.
With this in mind, there could be a possibility of a slightly weakened side being played but how realistic that is, I’m not sure.
This game will be massive for Wenger not just because it signifies the end of his rivalry with United, but it is also his last clash with Jose Mourinho as Arsenal manager.
However, history doesn’t favour the Frenchman when he makes trips to Old Trafford as he’s only come out on top there in the league since September 2006 when an 18-year-old played through Emmanuel Adebayor to touch past Edwin van der Sar.
Since then, Arsenal have only won there once and that happened to be on the way to one of our recent F.A. Cup triumphs. In 2015 Danny Welbeck came back to haunt his old club as he rounded David de Gea before sending Arsenal to the semi-finals that year.
Thankfully for Arsenal, Welbeck has hit a rich vein of form of late. As well as scoring five in his last ten off the left wing, he’s also proved to be a nuisance for defences with his constant pressing and movement on and off the ball.
Something that could also help Arsenal at Old Trafford his Welbeck’s record against his boyhood club. Since moving to Arsenal, the 27-year-old has scored three times against United with two of which coming at his old stomping ground. With all this in mind it could be worthwhile giving a start to ‘Dat Guy Welbz’ this weekend.
But one thing that could hinder this Arsenal side at Old Trafford is fatigue. In the 1st leg of their Europa League semi-final, not a single substitution was made despite the efforts put in by all that played.
With players like Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey who are susceptible to wear and tear injuries, it could be risky for them to play out another 90 minutes. Especially on a pitch the size of Old Trafford.
If anything, this could be one of Wenger’s biggest tests in recent times as Arsenal manager, and whether he can earn his second Premier League victory over Mourinho, we’ll have to wait and see.