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Arsenal’s underperformers owe Arsene Wenger against Manchester United

02 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Arsenal’s underperformers owe Arsene Wenger against Manchester United

While the Frenchman was obviously wrong to rest Petr Cech against Olympiacos, he was also badly let down by several outfield players

Clearly, the decision by Arsene Wenger to rest Petr Cech for the must-not-lose Champions League tie against Olympiacos was incorrect.

That Arsenal were beaten partly due to a horrendous error from David Ospina – the player preferred to Cech in goal – only added to the Frenchman’s embarrassment.

But while criticism for the manager’s stubbornness and arrogance is legitimate, it is not the only reason for the Gunners’ inauspicious start to the new season.

The team Wenger selected at home against the Greek side featured eight full internationals and was more than good enough to win the game.

But, not for the first time, his players betrayed the faith he has shown in them.

They cannot perform so feebly when Manchester United visit on Sunday.

Only Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott performed dutifully in the Champions League clash on Tuesday – scoring a goal apiece – and they will be expected to deliver again.

Sanchez returned to form in spectacular style with a hat-trick against Leicester last week and the Chilean is 8/1 to score first in an Arsenal win.

Walcott, meanwhile, is beginning to justify his own long-held belief that he should play as a central striker.

The 26-year-old has 16 goals in his last 20 starts in all competitions – including two in his last two – and is 6/4 to continue that impressive run by scoring at any time.

If the other nine players can match the standard of the two pacey, in-form forwards, then Arsenal can achieve what would be only their second victory over United in 10 meetings.

They are evens to improve that record on Sunday.

Like the North London club, United are managed by an authoritative presence who has absolutely belief in his principles.

The difference between Wenger and Louis van Gaal recently, though, is the latter’s commitment to playing his best team whenever possible.

His side have won four of their previous five matches in all competitions and are unbeaten at the Emirates in their previous four trips.

The Premier League leaders are 5/2 to extend that run with a draw and 11/4 to claim their third win in five.

Another in-form striker is Anthony Martial, who is making all those who made snide remarks about him on transfer deadline day look very silly indeed.

And while the Frenchman did not score against Sunderland or Wolfsburg, those fixtures were probably his two best performances since moving to England.

The 19-year-old is 7/1 to score his fifth goal of the season in a United win.

How Martial’s striker partner must wish to be that age again.

Wayne Rooney, who turns 30 this month, is struggling to lift the malaise that has entrenched him since the start of the new campaign.

The United captain was desperately poor against the German side on Wednesday, first missing an open goal before comically losing control of the ball in the second half for no apparent reason.

But Rooney has flourished against Arsenal throughout his distinguished career, netting 14 times in total.

His late strike in the 2-1 win at the Emirates last November was the last time the forward scored away from home and he is 5/2 to end that drought.

Sunday’s fixture will provide the first real insight as to whether Van Gaal’s team can genuinely challenge for the title this season.

And while there were whispers of discontent at the Dutchman’s rigidity in the season’s opening weeks, United’s recent spirited displays clearly show the players are fighting for their manager.

Currently, the same cannot be said for Arsenal.

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