There should not be a single Arsenal player, member of the coaching staff, or fan, that underestimates the difficulty of today’s home game against Man United this lunchtime. This will be a tough game, make no mistake.

Firstly, United will be hurting after the absolute tonking they got at Liverpool. That’s a fixture those lot always look at as a big one and to come away with a humbling like that will have hurt them and spur them on even more to put on a display away from home. They will see this as the perfect game to prove that they are not a completely busted flush and we should be very wary of the damage that their attacking players can do to an Arsenal defence who, let’s not forget, have been leaking goals lately. The win against Chelski was grand, but in it we had a seventh and eighth goal conceded in four games. That’s not exactly water tight and it needs to be something we are wary of today.

Secondly, United welcome back some important players who weren’t playing against Liverpool in midweek, as Ronaldo comes back in, along with McTominay and Varane to the side. Those are three players that instantly improve the spine of their team and will make them a lot better than the paltry showing at Anfield.

Thirdly, there will be a bit of a siege mentality, or an extra drive in the team, to be there and show unity with what happened to Ronaldo and his family this last week. They will want to be there for their teammate in horrible circumstances and I am expecting a few United players to give that little bit extra than they’ve been giving at times this season.

And lastly, they have had an extra days rest, with the Premier League making us play on Wednesday evening and then in the lunchtime kick off on a Saturday. Doesn’t happen to any other team, but has happened to us twice this season so far. Arteta alluded to the fact that the team haven’t had much time to train, it has been about recovery, with the players training on the Emirates turf last night in prep for this game. In elite football every small margin can be crucial but my hope is that the fatigue from Wednesday night’s excursions don’t have an adverse affect on us.

So I for one am not counting my chickens.

I do, however, think that the win on Wednesday will hopefully give us that extra spring in our step. I hope that adrenaline shot of positivity that came from victory at Stamford Bridge, hasn’t worn off on the players just yet and they can pop the ball around well today. We’ve seen the difference between an Arsenal team who is low on confidence and one that is flying high and in the Watford game, the Brentford game at home, as well as the first half against Villa, I thought we played some excellent football that looked like a side moving with confidence. Defeat on Wednesday night could have seen us look a little introverted in terms of the movement of the ball and our approach, but that victory has given hope of the top four race, but also will hopefully give extra belief again today.

Personally, I also hope those Arsenal players remember the game at Old Trafford. I thought we were the better team overall, we should have got a minimum of a point out of the game, yet ended up with nothing. Yet again United skanked us at Old Trafford so I’m hoping that those Arsenal players want revenge tonight. Want revenge, but don’t underestimate our opponent. United have got wins away at West Ham, they got a big win away at the Toilet Bowl against The Scum, they’ve managed to pick up surprise points when people thought they wouldn’t get many. So my hope for today is that the players are focused and control the game.

How they do that and the starting XI that Arteta picks will be an interesting one for me. United will most likely play in a back three with wing backs, Matic and McTominay in the middle of the park to break down the play, with Ronaldo up top. He’ll be flanked by Sancho and Fernandes and I think they will look to hit us on the counter today. They have players with the ability to do it and that’s why I wonder if Mikel sticks with the same side that played on Wednesday night, that can shift between back three and back four depending on the situation. Personally I’d like to see Martinelli back in the side running at Wan Bissaka and Saka pinning back Telles. Eddie up against a back three will be interesting; Man United will sit deeper than Chelski did in midweek I suspect, so he won’t get the same space that he had in West London, but at least he will be full of confidence after his brace.

With the experience of McTominay and Matic in their midfield I suspect we probably need to match that up with Elneny and Xhaka, which means that the main decision I thinkArteta has to think long and hard about is the back line. Is Tomiyasu fit enough to start? I’d be surprised. But if he can get 20 minutes at the end then we can have him ready for West Ham. The decision then becomes whether he goes with Cedric or White on that right hand side and if Cedric isn’t in the starting line up and Holding is, I do believe we are trying to replicate what happened against Chelski.

To me that is a dangerous approach, because the game is going to pan our very differently, because of the location of the fixture as well as the confidence and calibre of the opposition. Chelski away was a team in which they knew they were better than us, would have more ball than us, would come on to us. So it allowed us to spring traps for them. Today United will play that role on us. They will know that we will come out more at home and will look to draw us in and hit us on the counter. So we need to be ready for that.

If we are actually going to somehow get a victory this lunchtime, it feels like we’re going to need to be absolutely on top of our game today. Let’s hope Mikel has his team prepared.

Come on you reds!