Michael Carrick, Interim Manager of Manchester United. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw against Chelsea on Sunday, with a second-half Jorginho penalty cancelling out Jadon Sancho’s opener.
That result left United eighth in the table, with just one win in their last five top-flight outings.
For their part, Arsenal returned to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Newcastle United. The Gunners lie fifth in the table, five points above United.
Looking ahead to Thursday’s match, Merson was quick to emphasis just how meaningful the fixture could be for both sides.
Speaking to Sportskeeda, he said: “This is another huge football match. Arsenal are back to beating the teams they should beat and got a good result against Newcastle. They struggled against Brighton and Liverpool in the Premier League and haven’t been very good away from home.
“Manchester United rode their luck a couple of times against Chelsea, but got an excellent result in the end. Carrick made a big statement by leaving [Cristiano] Ronaldo out, and I think it worked. They took Rashford and Sancho off for Ronaldo after they went 1-0 up, and Chelsea dominated the rest of the game.
“United haven’t become a good team overnight. Carrick will take a chance against Arsenal – I’d be shocked if Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo don’t start. They aren’t very good defensively, however, and can’t afford to be too open against Arsenal. I reckon both teams would be pretty happy with a draw this week.”
Merson has predicted a 1-1 draw on Thursday evening.
What’s United’s form against Arsenal?
United haven’t beaten Arsenal since a 3-1 FA Cup triumph over the Gunners back in January 2019. Since then, the North Londoners have recorded three wins and two draws against the Red Devils, with the most recent meeting between the two sides ending in a stalemate at the Emirates 10 months ago.