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Man Utd’s rocky ship has been steadied by Michael Carrick but Arsenal are going full steam ahead as fortunes change

BACK ON THE EVENING of September 11th nobody could have imagined the situation Manchester United and Arsenal would now be in.

United had just beaten Newcastle 4-1 on an emotional day at Old Trafford when Cristiano Ronaldo returned and everyone thought the Red Devils were back.

They had won three and drawn one of their first four games to stand top of the table.

Arsenal were 16th having lost their first three without scoring before labouring to a 1-0 win at home against relegation favourites Norwich.

Mikel Arteta’s job was on the line and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s long-term plan had all come together.

Fast forward to today, Arsenal are fifth, United tenth, Solskjaer has been sacked and the plan now appears to be coming together at The Emirates.

They have lost only one of their last ten in the League, to Liverpool, winning seven.

United meanwhile have won one in eight.

The whole picture has changed as caretaker Michael Carrick prepares to take charge of United for his third and final game before Ralf Rangnick’s era begins.

Had United taken the Gunners on in September they would have been certs instead they go into a home game at only evens with one bookmaker to win.


So what can Carrick get from the game tonight and what input will Rangnick have?

Well he will be watching from the stands with Carrick claiming yesterday lunchtime that he is still to talk to him.

When Cristiano Ronaldo was dropped for the game against Chelsea you had to wonder whether high presser Rangnick did not want to accommodate him.

Carrick denied he had an input.

You can’t believe a player of Ronaldo’s goalscoring talent will be left out for a second time running.

Still Carrick will be cautious as he was against Villarreal and Chelsea, he has just needed to get results to steady the ship.

But what was interesting in both those games was how better organised they looked.

In Villarreal it was striking how they switched to three different formations during the game.

4-2-3-1 when defending, and either 4-4-2- or 4-3-3 when they attacked.

From being a rigid static side there was a lot more movement about them.

Carrick has done a very good job to steady a very rocky ship.

Another result tonight, even if it is just a point sees him hands over the reins to Rangnick with the club at least out of the basket case they found themselves in after the 4-1 mauling at Vicarage Road.

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