Buoyed by the impressive victory over Midtjylland in midweek, Manchester United will be looking to revive their top 4 hopes by taking down title chasing Arsenal at Old Trafford. Meanwhile, the Gunners aim to end an eight-match winless run in EPL games at Old Trafford and at the same time remain in the hunt of the Premier League trophy.
Louis van Gaal has endured some heavy criticism since arriving in Manchester and rightly so as he had plenty of time to rebuild the squad, but could not get the team playing to their potential. However, as Jose Mourinho reportedly prepares to take over the reigns, a big section of fans is worried that this appointment could have a detrimental effect to club’s youth academy. After Marcus Rashford became yet another youngster to shine under Louis van Gaal, the Dutch manager definitely deserves credit for not being afraid to throw some inexperienced footballers into the fire, with his approach likely to help the club a great deal in the long run. Nevertheless, his potential stay at Old Trafford will depend on whether Manchester United can achieve a top 4 finish in the Premiership and if they are to stand any chance of securing Champions League qualification, the Red Devils will have to beat Arsenal on Sunday. But, with quite a few important footballers still on the sidelines, that may not be possible.
Louis van Gaal hopes to welcome back Anthony Martial from a hamstring problem, but David De Gea and Chris Smalling face fitness tests after picking up injuries in midweek.
Meanwhile, the lengthy injury list includes Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Phil Jones, Matteo Darmian and Marouane Fellaini, among others.
Even though their Champions League campaign is set to end after the somewhat unfortunate 2-0 loss to Barcelona, Arsenal can still make this season a success as they are still effectively in the chase for Premier League and FA Cup trophies. Following the recent struggles, the league campaign obviously has the priority at the moment and after ensuring to stay in the title chase by defeating leaders Leicester City, the Gunners now need to remain close to the top with what would be the first league win at Old Trafford in nine games. If there ever was a good time to end that run it is now, taking into account that Manchester United will be missing a host of first team players, and it would appear as though Arsenal are in a good position to win the high-profile clash. Buoyed by the invaluable triumph over the Foxes, the Gunners produced a very good showing against mighty Barcelona, and even though they eventually succumbed to a 2-0 defeat, Arsene Wenger’s men were able to take plenty of positives from the game.
Gabriel Paulista has recovered from a hamstring injury and he looks set to replace Per Mertesacker in the starting line-up.
However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been ruled out with a knee problem, while Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky continue to miss out.
Key Factors to Consider
- Arsenal are winless in last eight EPL games at Old Trafford (D2 L6)
- The Gunners recorded a 3-0 win in the reverse fixture
- Both teams scored in three of last four meetings between Arsenal and Man Utd
- Man Utd won four of last five home games
- Arsenal did not concede in last two away fixtures (W1 D1)
Manchester United have shown some improvement during the last week, but playing the likes of Shrewsbury and Midtjylland is not the same as facing title-chasing Arsenal. The Gunners appear to be in a good moment and we are backing them to finally end an eight-match winless run in EPL matches at Old Trafford.
Verdict: Away win
Best Odds: 7/5
Bookmaker: William Hill