sport news Arsenal: The game plan for how they can be more streetwise and win at ...

sport news Arsenal: The game plan for how they can be more streetwise and win at ...
sport news Arsenal: The game plan for how they can be more streetwise and win at ...

Once a place where they battled intensely with Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United in epic battles, Old Trafford has been a reasonably happy hunting ground for Arsenal in recent years. 

The Gunners have gone unbeaten at the home of United in their last three visits. Such is the rarity of this record, the Gunners have never failed to lose four straight games at Old Trafford in the history of the fixture.

There's only one slight issue, as they prepare to travel up to Manchester for tonight's Premier League clash: Arsenal have been well beaten in most of their matches against the Big Six this season. If Mikel Arteta's side are to mount a serious top-four challenge this season then they will need to change that. 

Mikel Arteta (right) needs a big victory on Thursday to help Arsenal's bid to reach the top four

Mikel Arteta (right) needs a big victory on Thursday to help Arsenal's bid to reach the top four

Arsenal have failed to lose at Manchester United's ground in their last three top-flight visits - last season Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrated scoring the winning goal

Arsenal have failed to lose at Manchester United's ground in their last three top-flight visits - last season Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (centre) celebrated scoring the winning goal

Back-to-back defeats against Chelsea and Manchester City - including a 5-0 drubbing by the latter - gave the impression that the Gunners were a long way off the top of the table. 

A resurgence, helped by the emergence of new signings such as Takehiro Tomiyasu and Aaron Ramsdale, helped steady the ship and get Arsenal back into European contention - but a 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool last month brought the Gunners back down to earth. 

Now Arsenal's season looks to be at a crossroads. One point behind fourth-placed West Ham - with Tottenham and United hoping new managers can haul them back into contention from behind - Arteta's men need a big-game victory and fast.

So how do Arsenal improve on their record on big games, which had been very good under Arteta until recent months? 

Arsenal have struggled in big games this term, losing 5-0 to Man City and 4-0 to Liverpool

Arsenal have struggled in big games this term, losing 5-0 to Man City and 4-0 to Liverpool

Get streetwise 

The Spaniard beat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United for his first victory as Gunners boss, while he also beat Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in his first season in charge, which also included wins over Chelsea and City on the way to the 2020 FA Cup. But now Arsenal can't lay a glove on these teams.

One area where the Gunners could improve is being more streetwise on the biggest stage. Arteta is stubborn in his insistence to play out from the back at grounds such as Anfield and the Etihad Stadium, but perhaps a more conservative approach is needed.

Against Liverpool last month, the Gunners were given several warning signs that a patient approach by holding the ball in deep areas was not going to work.  

One of them saw Ben White try to carry the ball out of defence before he was hounded by Kostas Tsimikas and Sadio Mane. The latter crossed to Mo Salah in the box and only a fine double save from Ramsdale denied the Egyptian.

At Anfield, Arsenal came out with the ball and the likes of Ben White (left) were caught often

At Anfield, Arsenal came out with the ball and the likes of Ben White (left) were caught often

The Gunners were utterly embarrassed after being dismantled by a rampant Liverpool

The Gunners were utterly embarrassed after being dismantled by a rampant Liverpool

Arsenal weren't so lucky when they made a similar error in the second period. Nuno Tavares took the ball out of defence and tried to find White with a square pass. The Portuguese full-back

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