Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 6/4
Premier League football returns to action this weekend and it returns in style with a game which is expected to bring plenty of flair to the table. The big rivalry looks set to be reignited with Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger going head to head on the touchline once more when their respective teams meet at the Old Trafford on Saturday.
The Red Devils went on the international break buoyed by their 3-1 triumph at Swansea, which helped Manchester United get back from a four-match winless run in the Premier League. Last couple of weeks proved to be highly inconsistent for Jose Mourinho’s men and there is no doubt that the Portuguese will instruct their players to grab three points against Arsenal and to do it at any costs. Matches against fierce rivals bear special importance for the Special One who has developed an unlikely rivalry with Arsene Wenger and it will be extremely interesting to see how the two managers will behave on Saturday. The two teams go way back to when Mourinho wasn’t around and Manchester United fans will be happy about the fact their team lost only one of their last 10 Premier League matches. What is more, Jose Mourinho has never lost a league game against the Gunners and all of the statistical data point out to home win. However, football is often much more that what is written on the paper. There is one thing we know for sure though – we should expect a fiercely contested competition.
Mourinho will have plenty of selection worries ahead of the game. Bailly is ruled out with a knee injury, while Antonio Valencia is yet to recover from a broken hand. Marouane Fellaini and Chris Smalling are the two doubts for Saturday’s game, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is serving his yellow card suspension.
November is never an easy month for Arsene Wenger’s side. Arsenal opened their Premier League November tally with a 1-1 draw against Tottenham and are in for another difficult challenge that is likely to put their title bid to a proper test. The Gunners are currently sitting in fourth with 24 points to their name, six in front of their Saturday’s rivals and only two behind leaders Liverpool. Winning at Old Trafford would bring much more than just three points to Gunners as Arsene Wenger would also claim bragging rights and a huge morale boost which will, without a doubt, put his team back in the running for the top spot. Arsenal are currently enjoying quite a run in the league having won seven and drawn two of their last nine games. Unbeaten since the opening match against Liverpool, the Gunners are relishing taking another big scalp as they prepare to make a trip to Manchester. Arsene Wenger still needs to be cautious heading into the match as he has only won once in last 15 encounters against Jose Mourinho. Putting an end to a ten-year winless streak at Old Trafford would be a huge achievement for Arsenal.
Gunners are happy to see their key man Alexis Sanchez shake off the knock he picked up at international duty. On the other hand, they will have to do without Akpom and Bellerin, who remain ruled out with their back and ankle injuries, respectively. Lucas Perrez and Per Mertesacker are also unavailable for the Saturday’s clash.
Key Aspects to Consider
- Man United lost only 1 of their last 10 EPL matches vs Arsenal
- Mourinho is yet to lose a Premier League match against Gunners
- Arsenal have gone over 10 years without a win at Old Trafford
- Wenger won only 1 of the last 15 games against Mourinho
- Gunners are unbeaten in all competitions since August
Manchester United are playing host to Arsenal in a delicate and intricate moment in the season when three points carry a great importance for both sides. The hosts have been rather inconsistent of late, but will be hoping to get their feet firmly on the ground and notch back-to-back Premier League wins as they look to exploit their manager’s impressive score against the French tactician sitting on the rivals’ bench.
Verdict: Home win
Best Odds: 6/4