Ahead of the clash between Manchester United and Arsenal on Sunday, Gary Neville [per Sky Sports] has highlighted the battle between Arsenal’s lone striker Theo Walcott and United’s two centre-backs as the key to determining the winner of the game.
A former Red Devil himself, Gary Neville – who now works as a pundit outlined Chris Smalling and Daley Blind’s possible exposure to the pace and drive of Walcott at the Emirates Stadium, with United boss looking to avoid defeat against Arsenal.
United are currently number one on the log after seven games, with Arsenal three points behind them in fourth place. With Chelsea’s woeful start to the campaign not looking like ending yet and Manchester City also suddenly out of form, the winner of the tie on Sunday will send a real statement of intent to their opponents about their title ambitions.
Now Neville believes Walcott is Arsenal’s man to do the job.
“United can only play one way under van Gaal. He won’t change; he’ll try to dominate the ball, he’ll send his full-backs forward,” Neville said.
“That means Daley Blind and Chris Smalling could become exposed if Arsenal can win the ball back in good areas. For that reason, [Wenger] will probably stick with [Theo] Walcott.”
The Mancunian Reds have been solid so far this season with Smalling performing outstandingly at the heart of the defence, alongside makeshift centre-half Daley Blind – who was shaky at first but now well-settled.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has to choose either Olivier Giroud or Theo Walcott for the encounter, and with the former Montpellier striker suspended for Arsenal’s defeat to Olympiakos last night, it is left to be seen whether the French boss will start the England striker on Sunday.
Should Arsenal beat United 2-0, both sides will be tied on points, goal difference and goals scored in the league table.