New manager believes his defence is structurally sound but Manchester United’s attackers will test that theory

New Arsenal, same old Arsenal. There were 87 minutes on the Emirates Stadium clock last Sunday, the score was 1-1 against Chelsea and Arsenal had five men inside the opposing penalty area as they pushed for the winner. The move broke down, Chelsea countered at pace, Tammy Abraham scored what would be the decisive goal and, for the umpteenth time, everybody questioned whether Arsenal had any defensive instinct.

Manchester United are the visitors to the Emirates on New Year’s Day and it will be the showpiece fixture at 8pm, even if the Premier League table shows it is a meeting between 12th and fifth. Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team have kept their season alive by rinsing attack-minded opposition on the break and the United manager would have licked his lips as he pored over the Abraham goal. Do Arsenal have to be wary of United’s rapier-like threat. “Very,” replied Mikel Arteta, the club’s new manager.

Related: Mikel Arteta says he wants ‘committed’ Granit Xhaka to stay at Arsenal

Related: Arsenal’s innate fatalism means Chelsea loss may not surprise Arteta | Jonathan Liew

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