Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Who’s the better underdog?


Ardfern | Wikimedia Commons

Alexandru Medina

The Premier League this year has been a showcase for many young athletes, more specifically the underdogs that are fighting for first place: Manchester United and Arsenal.

Many believed that Arsenal and Manchester United would have been battered left and right by big teams such as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. But these underdogs have successfully created lineups that work in their favor.

Arsenal has had a long struggle climbing the leaderboard for over half a decade, only managing to achieve top three in the Premiere League twice. Currently it leads in first place, a clear five points ahead of second place Manchester City. Manchester United needs several wins to catch up to the 16-point difference from first place.

As of March 22, Arsenal has scored 66 goals, conceded 26 goals and recorded 12 clean sheets this season. Arsenal is averaging 2.3 goals per game this season, making them a dangerous offensive team whose chemistry matches Manchester City’s scary lineup.

Defensively, Arsenal has less than one goal conceded per match, 414 clearances and 66 saves. Arsenal’s defense is arguably the best in the Premier League today.

But even its team chemistry and aces Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard and Gabriel Martinelli may not be enough to beat a rising star that many teams struggle to stop: Marcus Rashford.

Rashford has scored 14 crucial goals this season. Of the 69 shots he’s taken, 32 have been on target, making him a troublesome opponent. Manchester United also has Alejandro Garnacho, Carlos Henrique Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Bruno Fernandes and many more notable players that have made a huge impact on developing the team’s chemistry.

Its defense had also conceded less than one goal per game, a tackle success rate of 57%, clearances totaling 536 and 71 saves Moreover, it impressively has an 81% pass accuracy and a cross accuracy of 24%. Only time will tell if this will be enough.

There is no doubt that Manchester United has the best collection of players in the league right now. If it had more time to develop as a team after Cristiano Ronaldo had left, it would have surpassed Manchester City by now. Nevertheless, Arsenal is plausibly the better underdog in the league right now because of the strength the team displays on the field.