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Arsenal at Old Trafford is Manchester United’s real cup final according to Erik Ten Hag

Man United might face Man City in the FA Cup final later this month, however Arsenal at Old Trafford is more important for Erik Ten Hag.

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Erik ten Hag & Lisandro Martinez - Manchester United
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has reportedly made big changes during his training sessions this week in preparation for Sunday’s Premier League clash against Arsenal. 

With a personal emphasis on the Gunners, Ten Hag has repeatedly stressed his belief that Manchester United should have emerged victorious at the Emirates Stadium back in September. 

Ten Hag on Garnacho’s offside goal vs Arsenal earlier this season: “That was one of the moments that our season could have gotten into a turnaround. It was short in the season, and that, I think, a little bit sums up our season.”

Alejandro Garnacho’s goal was correctly ruled out for offside by VAR, however Erik Ten Hag has repeatedly stressed the decision was incorrect multiple times throughout this season.

Despite the futility of revisiting past results, Ten Hag has crafted a special plan at Carrington to bolster Manchester United’s chances against Arsenal. According to Miguel Delaney of the Independent, the Dutchman has been diligently working on a “very different” tactical approach aimed at countering Mikel Arteta’s side.

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“Maybe it’s a last attempt to keep his job. Maybe it’s just knuckling down. Maybe it’s all just proceeding as planned. Maybe it’s just something with Arsenal. Either way, Erik ten Hag is said to have spent the week working on a very different plan for Mikel Arteta’s side. The wonder is what response it has,” Delaney wrote.

Erik Ten Hag

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The Red Devils are vying for points for a potential qualification for the UEFA Europa League next seaon, meaning Sunday’s fixture at Old Trafford is not deadrubber for Ten Hag and his men. While Manchester United are hoping to get a European slot, Arsenal are pushing to win the Premier League title race for the first time in two decades.

For Mikel Arteta, the match holds personal significance as he seeks redemption against Manchester United. The Gunners’ title aspirations were dealt a blow with a 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford in September 2022, compounded by a controversial decision that saw Gabriel Martinelli’s goal disallowed.

Both Arteta and Martin Odegaard labeled the decision as “soft,” underscoring a sense of injustice. Motivated by this perceived injustice, Arsenal will undoubtedly approach Sunday’s showdown with determination, aiming to exact revenge for their previous disappointment at Old Trafford.

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