AN AIR of optimism has enveloped Old Trafford and it is this feel-good factor that many of the faithful Man Utd fans believe that will carry them past Arsenal tomorrow.
Much of this hype stems from the Red Devils’ demolition of RB Leipzig in the midweek Champions League clash that was highlighted by a hat-trick by Marcus Rashford.
The young England forward has certainly given Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reason to be encouraged after a somewhat indifferent start to the new campaign.
And it is something that they will welcome, more so as they are languishing in 15th place in the standings after five league games.
But there is more to this side than just the prowess of Rashford. Teenage striker Mason Greenwood starred in the win over Leipzig, alongside defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka and midfielder Donny Van de Beek.
And if they could keep an upward trend about things and feed off the experience of Edinson Cavani upfront, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba in the middle of the park, central defender Harry Maguire and goalkeeper David De Gea, this team might yet turn into a formidable outfit.
At the moment, they are not. Too often, they blow hot and cold. And that is mostly because their big-name players are just not performing at the levels they should be. This will give Arsenal encouragement of their own.
Mikel Arteta saw his side go down to a sucker punch in the last 10 minutes at Leicester on Monday, but he knows this squad has improved significantly since taking over last December.
New signing Willian did not play at Leicester due to an injury, but could figure against Man United after coming on in the second half during their 3-0 Europa League win over Irish minnows Dundalk on Thursday. And if he does, they stand a really good chance at making things uncomfortable for the host.
With the Brazilian featured alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — who were both rested in the midweek Europa League win, this is a fearsome trio that demand a lot of respect.
It has been suggested by some that Arteta play Aubameyang through the middle of the attack. This is something that I tend to agree with.
This lad, for me, is second only to Sergio Aguero in the Premiership in that position. He is an exciting and natural talent — a joy to watch when he is in full flight.
If Arteta does go that way and use him as a central-striker instead of down the wing as he has been, one gets a feeling that Maguire and Company will have a lot of defending to do.
Of course, Man United will be hoping that their newly found optimism will be more telling and have something to show for it.
Solskjaer’s side can use the Leipzig result to further consolidate their growing confidence and leave behind the nightmare result against Spurs early this month — after which they have won four and drawn one of the five matches they have played since.
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