Manchester United travel to London, this Sunday 22nd January, to take on Arsenal in one of the most anticipated games of the Premier League season. When the two clubs met earlier in the campaign around 5 months ago, the Red Devils embarrassed the Gunners by racking up eight goals in a blowout victory. Manchester United will surely attempt to close the gap on league leaders Manchester City, while Arsenal are 12-points adrift of United and sit fifth in the table.
United returned to winning ways against Bolton last weekend, but Arsenal’s 3-2 loss to Swansea was a further indication of their defensive frailties so Gunners are coming off two consecutive losses.
A long injury list has left Wenger very few options on the bench, so Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny will continue in central defence while Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel will be entrusted with stopping United’s wingers.
Arteta should recover from his calf injury to return to the starting line-up and he will control midfield alongside the dynamic Alex Song. Aaron Ramsey had a forgettable day at Swansea, but he will hold his place at the head of an attacking trio that should also include Walcott & either Arshavin or Yossi Benayoun.
United have their own issues — before last weekend’s 3-0 whitewashing of Bolton Wanderers, United has lost two straight games in the Premier League. Arsenal have won 7 of 10 at home in the Premier League this season but have faced a succession of teams from the bottom half of the league, which may also explain why their much criticized defense has managed to concede only 6 at the Emirates. United have conceded only 6 in 10 on their Premier League travels but 3 came in their last away game at Newcastle and, prior to last week’s clean sheet against a poor Bolton side, they had conceded 8 in 3 in all competitions. Van Persie leads the Premiership with 18 goals in 21 games while also chipping in five assists. Rooney has once again served as United’s main offensive threat this season, tallying 13 goals and three helpers in 19 games.
United could welcome Ashley Young back into the fold after he has sat out the past few weeks with injury but Tom Cleverley, Darren Fletcher, Nemanja Vidic and Michael Owen continue to miss out.
It will be interesting to see Paul Scholes and Thierry Henry in action, they’re two of the best players in Premier League history and their returns have been great for both teams.
Betting opportunities in this one? Arsenal are heavily reliant on Robin Van Persie’s goals and United need Wayne Rooney on form to make them tick. Van Persie offers excellent value @ around 2.45 to score anytime, while Rooney is priced @ around 2.40. Also both teams to score @ around 1.73 are looks to be a good bet here. I also fancy Gunners not to lose this match (DNB @ around 2.10) which looks like another good valuebet.