Seeking revenge on the only team to have beaten them in the Premier League this season, table toppers, Arsenal host third-placed, Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The Gunners can open up an 11-point gap over Erik ten Hag’s side with victory in front of their ardent fans, while the visitors endeavour to stay within touching distance of Manchester City.
Receiving a kick in the back from a supporter after producing a man-of-the-match performance in the North London derby, one can expect Aaron Ramsdale to continue his wind-up merchant tactics in front of the Man United end if Arsenal continue to destroy almost any foe in their path.
Ramsdale came up with a number of crucial saves against Tottenham Hotspur before being targeted by a spectator – a 35-year-old man has since been charged with assault in connection with the incident – and at the same end of the field in the first half, Hugo Lloris’s own goal and a sublime Martin Odegaard effort were just reward for a thoroughly dominant Arsenal display.
Things could have got even better for Mikel Arteta’s side if Thomas Partey’s sensational volley made the net ripple rather than making the woodwork rattle, but yet another win in the top flight extended Arsenal’s lead at the top to eight points following Manchester City’s derby defeat to Manchester United.
That gap has been cut back down to five after City recorded their own win over Spurs, but Arsenal – who now have a game in hand on the champions – are on the verge of breaking the 50-point barrier at the halfway point, which would put them on course to match Man City’s centurions of 2017-18.
While rivals supporters enjoy pointing out that there is still a long way to go in the Premier League season, Arsenal are answering nearly every examination that has been put before them and are unbeaten in their last 12 top-flight games – winning 10 of them.
Newcastle United may have ended Arsenal’s 10-game winning streak at the Emirates earlier this month, but the Gunners have not conceded a single goal since the turn of the year and have all the motivation they need to right the wrongs of their Old Trafford defeat.
The Red Devils faithful would have likely shown more emotion than Michael Olise did after his stunning free kick on Wednesday night, as Ten Hag’s side missed the chance to temporarily rise to second in the rankings with a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
A sublime Christian Eriksen-Bruno Fernandes combination saw the latter curl home to give the Red Devils the lead just before the break, but a scorcher of a free kick from Olise cannoned off the underside of the bar on its way in during second-half stoppage time, denying Man United a 10th successive win in all tournaments.
Still sitting pretty in third place as Ten Hag works his magic, Man United have an eight-point gap to make up to Arsenal and a three-point deficit to make up to Man City, whose vastly superior goal difference should keep them safe in the runners-up spot for now.
The Red Devils may drop to fourth by the time that Sunday rolls around if Newcastle can do what they could not – beat Palace away from home – but a 16-game scoring streak certainly serves as reason for optimism ahead of a trip to North London.