The turn of a new year is overhyped. People throw around platitudes like ‘new year, new you” and “leave [whatever] in last year” only to disregard the words mere minutes after the clock strikes midnight. New Year’s Eve, at least for me, has consistently been an expensive letdown. I may not even stay up until midnight, apparently I’m the Ebenezer Scrooge of NYE.
Arsenal could use a new year’s refresh and reset — we all know 2019 was NOT their year. That (hopefully) starts tomorrow against Manchester United at the Emirates. The Gunners are languishing in 12th place in the table, 7 points back of the Red Devils. I’ll spare you too much table-gazing, but suffice it to say a loss tomorrow would be really bad for Arsenal.
Are you familiar with the phrase “in rarefied air” to describe being in elite company? Right now, Arsenal are in Los Angeles smog. They’ve won one match in their last 15 in all competitions, one in 12 in the Premier League. The loss to Chelsea at the weekend was their fourth consecutive home defeat, something not seen at the club since 1959. They haven’t won a match at the Emirates since October and have the fifth-worst home record in the Premier League. It used to be that regardless of the club’s struggles away, you could count on the fortress that was the Emirates. Not anymore.
Fortunately for Arsenal, noted climate-change activist Héctor Bellerín is nearing a return to help clear the air. He, along with Dani Ceballos, Rob Holding, and Gabriel Martinelli will be fitness tested to determine their availability. Sokratis missed the Chelsea match because of the concussion he sustained at Bournemouth. There has not been an update from the club on his status. Granit Xhaka was not included in the matchday squad for the Chelsea match because of possible transfer-itis. I suspect he has not recovered in time to play tomorrow. Sead Kolašinac has yet to return to training following the right ankle injury he suffered against Manchester City but is expected back sometime this month. Kieran Tierney is out until March.
For Manchester United, Paul Pogba is expected to feature in some capacity for just the second time in three months. Defender Eric Bailly could make his first appearance since tearing his MCL in a summer friendly. Midfielder Scott McTominay is out with a knee injury.
WHAT: Arsenal v. Manchester United
WHERE: The Emirates
WHEN: January 1st, 2020 (HAPPY NEW YEAR!) 12 PM PT | 3 PM ET | 8 PM BT
US TV: NBCSN and UNIVERSO. Streaming here.
For all your international streaming needs, check livesoccer.tv. As always, please do not discuss or share links to illegal streams here.