Life has been rocky for Mourinho at Old Trafford so far. With his trophy-winning pedigree and the huge sums of money they spent in the summer, they were expected to launch a serious title challenge.
And the start hasn’t been that bad. They still sit in 6th place, 6 points behind 4th placed Arsenal, and 8 behind leaders Liverpool. Smaller point gaps have been recovered.
But to reignite their title challenge, they must beat Arsenal in their next fixture and claw their way back towards the top teams. We look at three ways in which they can do this.
It is a tactic that has long worked against Arsenal and is one that will likely work in Manchester United’s favour if they are to beat them this time around. Arsenal are famed for being a team that can play amazing football, if you let them.
But it is only natural, that a team full of creative, ball playing passers, aren’t going to be the toughest of creatures.
That is why it is vital that Manchester United get into the faces of the Arsenal players early on and disrupt their passing. Arsenal simply do not play their best football when their players are worried that they might be on the receiving end of a crunching tackle.
Defend in numbers
Another age old and proven tactic against Arsenal is to defend in numbers and make it difficult for their intricate passing to penetrate your defence. Lock the door and opportunities will present themselves on the counter attack.
Arsenal have many pacey players in their attacking ranks at the moment and it is vital that this Manchester United defence limits the space in behind their defence, and thus limit the effectiveness of Arsenal’s speedsters.
Players such as Ozil, Cazorla and Sanchez thrive on dropping into little pockets in front of the defence and passing their way through a defence. So it is vital that United defend these spaces and limit the space for Arsenal to operate.
It is equally important, though, that the Red devils spring into attack when the chance presents itself, as the United fans will grow frustrated at watching their team camped in their own half for 90 minutes.
Use the flanks
All of the chances that Tottenham created in the recent North London derby against Arsenal were from wide positions and with the pacey wide players Manchester United have, this is an area that they can exploit against Arsenal.
Arsene Wenger loves his fullbacks to push up, and this leaves space for the opposition to exploit. And with Ibrahimovic in the box waiting, you’d fancy him to make the most of any balls they were able to deliver from out wide.
Plus it is looking like Hector Bellerin is out injured, which will leave Arsenal particularly vulnerable in this position, so United need to focus on that flank in particular.