Manchester United vs Arsenal – Predicted XI – Januzaj in, Kagawa out

by Tom Newbold

David de Gea: De Gea will have to be alert against the current league leaders on Sunday.

Chris Smalling: In some respects it is a worrying thought to think of Smalling at right-back on Sunday but David Moyes has shown a preference towards the Englishman in the absence of Rafael and there is no confirmation as to whether the Brazilian will be fit enough. However, the withdrawal of Fabio at half-time from Manchester United’s Under-21s game today does raise interesting questions about whether Moyes may be preparing him for this game. It will probably be a toss up between Smalling and Fabio for the right-back position, with Smalling slight favourite.

Jonny Evans:  If fit, Evans will surely be one of the first names on the teamsheet against a mobile Arsenal side.

Nemanja Vidic: Despite the fact this would be Vidic’s fourth consecutive start in a row, the captain should be able to handle it baring in mind the five day gap between this fixture and the previous game. It is unlikely that Rio Ferdinand will play twice in a week and the positional changes for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones all point to Vidic being at the heart of United’s defence on Sunday.

arsenal-homePatrice Evra: Evra’s role will be doubly important on Sunday as he employs he usual trademark forward runs with carefully tracking back and positioning himself well to defend against Arsenal’s fluid attack.

Antonio ValenciaThis would be Valencia’s third game in a row as he looks to continue his good form whilst also providing a necessary balance on the right hand side.

Phil JonesJones could be an essential feature in the side on Sunday as a destroyer of play in a similar way to the games against Real Madrid, Tottenham and Everton last season. He was also rested for the most part in midweek, hinting at a start against Arsenal.

Michael CarrickDespite picking up a minor injury, Carrick is set to start this game unless injury absolutely prevents him. Cleverley is another recovering from a knock but will probably only start on the bench.

Adnan JanuzajThis would be a huge game for the youngster to start in but United’s October Player of the Month deserves his place and his young, hungry attitude could be the key to winning the game for the Red Devils.

Wayne RooneyRooney will need to be at his best to ensure United attack quickly and effectively and not allow Arsenal to win the ball back quickly.

Robin van Persie: Another rested from the starting line-up in midweek, Van Persie’s movement and ability to hold up the ball could be key on Sunday.

Formation: 4-4-1-1

United will need to be extremely wary without the ball, but the inclusion of Phil Jones in midfield should go some way to counteracting the midfield control of Arsenal.

The Reds attacking needs to be sharp and precise and therefore technically good players like Carrick and Rooney will need to be on their game. Should United play with purpose and avoid sloppiness, they will have a good opportunity to win this game. Should they abandon those principles, it could be a tough afternoon for Moyes’ men.

What is your starting XI? Leave yours in the comments below.

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