Our writer previews the mouth-watering EPL clash between Manchester United and Arsenal.
Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger will renew their long-standing rivalry on Saturday as Manchester United cross swords with Arsenal at Old Trafford. Mourinho has always managed to get under the skin of Wenger, and the Frenchman has yet to register a competitive win against his side.
To make matters even more worrying for Gooners, Arsenal haven't found the Theatre of Dreams to be a happy stomping ground, with United unbeaten in nine home league meetings against the Gunners, winning eight times – including the famous 8-2 triumph in the 2011/12 season.
However, this season represents an excellent chance for Wenger’s side to end their Old Trafford hoodoo. The Gunners are unbeaten on their travels with four wins out of five games, scoring 12 goals while conceding three – no team has conceded fewer away from home. Arsenal are two points from the summit of the Premier League, while United are off the pace and a disappointing eight points from the top.
Manchester United v Arsenal | Saturday 19 November | Old Trafford | 14:30
To Win (90 Mins)
Man United 31/20 | Draw 9/4 | Arsenal 7/4
Manchester United have fired early shots at their rivals ahead of the encounter, sharing a photo on Instagram of a scoreboard which reads Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal. The Red Devils will take great pleasure in taunting their opponents and will be keen to maintain their impressive home record against the north London outfit. Jose Mourinho will also want keep his impressive record against Arsenal intact. The Portuguese has never lost a Premier League game against Arsenal, winning five and drawing six of his 11 previous meetings with the Gunners.
United are sixth in the table, eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool. Mourinho’s side have won just once in their last five matches. They returned to winning ways against Swansea City prior to the international break and will be looking to rack up back-to-back victories against their opponents on Saturday.
Marouane Fellaini is a doubt for United with a calf injury, while Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and James Wilson are all out. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card in the 3-1 win at Swansea. Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are the candidates to replace Ibrahimovic. Rashford is without a goal in seven games but he began his Premier League career with two goals against Petr Cech in February.
Wayne Rooney has the hoodoo over Arsenal, netting 12 goals in 28 games against them. Mourinho will need a big game performance from £89 million signing Paul Pogba while he needs to put his trust in Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has had a raw deal since joining from Borussia Dortmund.
Despite an opening-weekend 4-3 defeat to Liverpool, a comfortable 3-0 victory against Chelsea in September and their strong unbeaten run shows they might have the stamina to last in the title race this time around. The Gunners are unbeaten on their travels with four wins out of five games, beating Watford 3-1, Hull City 4-1, Burnley 1-0 and Sunderland 4-1. They come into this fixture off a 1-1 draw at home to north London rivals Tottenham.
Arsenal have gone over 10 years without a league victory at Old Trafford, last beating the Red Devils in September 2006 thanks to an Emmanuel Adebayor winner. The Gunners have lost 22 times against Manchester United in the Premier League – more than they have against any other team, with 15 of those losses coming at Old Trafford. Wenger will be desperate to end that hoodoo.
Arsenal have been handed a major injury boost ahead of the clash as reports claim that Alexis Sanchez has recovered from a low-grade muscle injury he had sustained on international duty. The Chilean has scored eight goals in 15 appearances for the Gunners this season and will look to extend his tally.
With the likes of Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Theo Walcott all in top form, Arsenal will fancy their chances of leaving Old Trafford with maximum points. In team news, Hector Bellerin remains a doubt, while Lucas Perez, Santi Cazorla, Chuba Akpom, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all set to miss out.
Verdict: Arsenal (7/4)
United have won just two of their five home matches, while Arsenal have been terrific on their travels. Ibrahimovic will be sorely missed here and I think the Gunners should have enough class to end their Old Trafford hoodoo. At 7/4, the away win is well worth a punt.
Written by Chadley Nagel @Hollywoodbets