Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United visit the capital on Sunday to face an Arsenal side looking to bounce back from a shock home Champions League defeat on Tuesday.
ANOTHER BLACK DAY IN EUROPE FOR THE GUNNERS
It was billed as a must win game for Arsenal as they hosted Olympiakos at the Emirates on matchday two of the Champions League. Coach Arsène Wengereven rested his number one goalkeeper Petr Čech so sure was he of getting a positive result. At around 9.45pm on Tuesday evening, his decision had come back to haunt him with the man deputising between the postsDavid Ospina, having a night to forget, gifting the visitors the second of their three goals as they headed home to Greece with three precious points. After a convincing 5-2 away victory at Leicester City just four days earlier, this was a real kick in the teeth for Wenger who must now raise his side for the visit of the Red Devils.
UNITED GO TOP THANKS TO THE ART OF MARTIAL
After four consecutive victories in all competitions, Manchester United are in a rich vein of form thanks in no small part to the outstanding talents of their new highly rated French striker Anthony Martial (*8.50 on the best online betting sites to score the opening goal on Sunday) who has netted three times in two league appearances for the Red Devils. With Spanish midfielder Juan Mata also in inspirational form both domestically and in Europe, Louis van Gaal’s side are now being taken as serious title candidates. Wednesday night’s hard fought 2-1 win over Wolfsburg got their Champions League campaign back on track as they head to North London for their toughest away test of the season so far.
Wenger will be without defender Laurent Koscielny and midfielder Mathieu Flamini who both have hamstring injuries, as well as Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta. Francis Coquelin should be fit for Sunday despite coming off injured on Tuesday. Petr Čech will return to goalkeeping duties for the visit of the league leaders.
Louis van Gaal could shake his pack a little in defence with fellow Dutchman Daley Blind moving to left-back, Matteo Darmian switching to his favoured right-back position and Phil Jones playing in the centre of the back-four. Antonio Valencia after a less than impressive performance against the German’s in midweek is set to be the man to miss out. England international midfielder Michael Carrick is available again after missing Wednesday night’s victory and he should come into midfield alongside Morgan Schneiderlin as Bastian Schweinsteiger drops to the bench.
PROBABLE STARTING XI’S
Arsenal (4-2-3-1) Čech; Monreal, Mertesacker, Paulista, Bellerin; Cazorla, Coquelin; Sánchez, Özil, Ramsey; Walcott
Manchester United (4-2-3-1) De Gea; Blind, Jones, Smalling, Darmian; Carrick, Schneiderlin; Depay, Rooney, Mata; Martial
HEAD TO HEAD
Manchester United are unbeaten in four away matches against Arsenal. They have never gone five without defeat away to the Gunners in the Premier League era.Arsenal have a 24% win ratio against the men from Manchester, their lowest against any team in the top-flight. Louis van Gaal also has the upper hand over his opposite number, having lost just one of his five meetings with Wenger in all competitions and that came in last season’s FA Cup clash between the two sides. Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney scored his first and his 100th league goals against Arsenal, he’s priced on the best sports betting sites at *3.70 to score during 90 minutes on Sunday.
Arsenal 2.00 Draw 3.80 Manchester United 3.80
*odds courtesy of Bet365
Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)