The three Man United players Michael Carrick will be without vs Arsenal as Harry Maguire returns

Arsenal’s first game in December is a big one.

They renew a historical Premier League rivalry with Manchester United at Old Trafford tonight and can move eight points clear of their opponents in the table with victory.

The Gunners did win the corresponding fixture between the two sides last season and a repeat of the 1-0 scoreline will go someway to ruining Michael Carrick’s first – and likely final – home game as caretaker manager.

Having stepped in to steady the ship following Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s exit, the former midfielder has overseen a 2-0 win over Villarreal and a 1-1 draw with Chelsea so far.

But with new interim manager Ralf Rangnick still awaiting a work permit to take over at Man United, it means Carrick has been placed in charge of first-team matters once again.

And as the 40-year-old attempts to maintain his unbeaten record as caretaker manager against Arsenal, he will have to do so without as many as three United first-team players.

As confirmed by the club’s official website, Raphael Varane, Paul Pogba and Edinson Cavani are not in a position to face the Gunners.

It appeared the latter was on course to make his return from injury against Arsenal following a cryptic post on Instagram, but United fans will have to wait a while longer to see the Uruguay international in action again.

Pogba’s absence comes as no surprise as he is a long-term injury casualty and Varane, as per Premier League injuries, isn’t expected to be available again for another week or so.

With that said, Harry Maguire is available again after serving a one-match suspension in the Premier League, whilst Luke Shaw remains a doubt after sustaining a couple of head injuries in recent fixtures

“Nothing really new,” Carrick said. “There are always niggles at this time of year, playing a lot of games. There are always players you’re waiting on a little bit, to an extent.

“Obviously, Harry is coming back into the squad after his suspension but we’ll see who is fit and available for tomorrow [Thursday].”

Given the strength of United’s squad – especially in attack with Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial available – they should still be able to name a strong side.

One that includes Cristiano Ronaldo after Carrick played down the drama of leaving the 36-year-old on the bench against Chelsea.

“I think those types of decisions get blown up than they are when you’re inside the team and the club, decisions are made for lots of different reasons, certain ones get bigger news than others, I didn’t see it as a major decision,” he said.

“It certaintly wasn’t within the group. We all got on really well, the game went well to an extent and it wasn’t a drama at all.”