With three wins on the spin, the crisis seems to be over at Manchester United. After unceremoniously dropping their first two matches of the season against Brighton and Brentford, the Red Devils have responded with victories over Liverpool, Southampton and Leicester City to vaulted themselves to fifth-place in the Premier League with a 3-0-2 (W-D-L) record and a -2 goal differential.
There are still plenty of questions about how good United truly are and if they’ve just been able to take advantage of a relatively soft schedule, but we should have a better idea of where this team is at with a tough match against first-place Arsenal on Sunday. The match will begin at 11:30 a.m. ET and will be broadcast on USA Network.
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While there are still skeptics about the Red Devils, it’s hard to find much fault with Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal through the first five matches of the campaign. Sure, the Gunners have certainly benefited from a soft schedule that’s seen them play Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Leicester City, Fulham, and Aston Villa, but they’ve passed every test with flying colors and currently sit with the second-best expected goal differential (+7.3) in the league.
Arsenal’s attack seems potent and the arrival of Gabriel Jesus seems to be a huge boost, but it’s the Gunners defense that has been most impressive. Only one team (Man City) has a better xGA rating compared to Arsenal so far.
United also offer plenty of starpower going forward with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo and Christian Eriksen, but their defense has been inconsistent out of the gates, though they did seem to take a step in the right direction with back-to-back clean sheets against Southampton and Leicester.
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All due respect to Saints and the Foxes (and a depleted Liverpool team), this will likely the stiffest test the United defense have faced to date this season and there are still reasons to doubt that the Red Devils can cope. United are still learning Erik ten Hag’s pressing system and are vulnerable to quick attacks when they’re caught out of shape.
There will come a time to sell high on undefeated Arsenal, but this is not that time. Just consider this: Had this match been played two weeks ago, Arsenal would likely be around +140 on the three-way moneyline. The market has become infatuated with Manchester United once again.
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