The fourth round of FA Cup will take place at Emirates Stadium on January 26, as two rivals, Manchester United and Arsenal will be expected to slug it out.
The last time these two teams faced off this season was at Old Trafford in the English Premier League (EPL) with Jose Mourinho at the helm for United. Arsenal had to be content with a 2-2 draw in that fixture, despite twice taking the lead.
Since then, Manchester United have parted ways with Mourinho and have appointed former striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as caretaker manager. The return of their ‘Baby-faced Assassin’ has reinvigorated the club with Solskjaer enjoying a record start to his managerial stint at the club.
Solskjaer equalled a record achieved only by Carlo Ancelotti (Chelsea) and Pep Guardiola (Man City) – winning six consecutive Premier League matches at the start of their managerial reigns.
If United beat Burnley at the end of the month, then Solskjaer will set a new Premier League record of seven straight wins since taking charge.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery overcame back-to-back defeats in his opening two Premier League games to lead the Gunners to a 22-game unbeaten run, which came to an end after they lost to Southampton in December. Since then, he has seen his team get knocked out of the League Cup by arch-rivals Tottenham and suffer embarrassing defeats to Liverpool and West Ham in the League.
Arsenal bounced back with an encouraging 2-0 victory against Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium and Emery will be hoping his team can replicate that form against United.
United will have to wait to see whether Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling and Marcos Rojo are declared fit to compete against Arsenal. Shaw took ill before warm-up against Brighton and had to replaced by Diogo Dalot. Smalling and Rojo have returned back to training but it will be a while before they regain full match fitness.
Solskjaer revealed that Marouane Fellaini is expected to be out for three to four weeks with a calf strain but former Arsenal player Alexis Sanchez will be fully fit after missing the last two games through injury.
Hector Bellerin picked up a knee injury in the 2-0 victory over Chelsea and joins Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding on the list of Arsenal players who will not feature again this season. Welbeck a former United striker, scored the winner in 2015 at Old Trafford, which was the last time that these two clubs met in the FA Cup.
Another former United player to miss this game will be Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has failed to recover in time from a fractured metatarsal. Centre-back Konstantinos Mavropanos if fully fit again and will be expected to feature on the bench for the Gunners.
Arsenal (4-2-3-1): Cech; Monreal, Sokratis, Mustafi, Lichsteiner; Xhaka, Guendouzi; Iwobi, Ozil, Torriera; Aubameyang.
Manchester United (4-4-3): De Gea; Shaw, Lindelof, Bailly, Young; Pogba, Matic, Herrera; Alexis, Lukaku, Mata.
Prediction: Manchester United have been in rampant form ever since replacing Mourinho at the helm. Although Emery managed to tactically get the better of
Maurizio Sarri in the 2-0 win over the weekend, he will be faced with a much tougher challenge against United. We could expect a close encounter with United emerging winners by a one-goal margin.