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Manchester United v Arsenal EPL Match Preview
Arsenal take their title challenge to Old Trafford on Sunday, to face an old foe in a game that never fails to disappoint.
INJURIES DECIMATE UNITED SQUAD
Louis van Gaal and his under-pressure Manchester United team welcome Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday with a squad ripped apart by injury problems. In a week that has already seen them progress into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and last 16 of the Europa League, their under fire Dutch coach is having to draft young players in from the club’s youth academy to top-up his depleted squad. The latest to do this was Marcus Rashford, who scored twice on his first-team debut on Thursday evening against Midtjylland, after replacing Anthony Martial who was injured during the pre-game warm-up. The 18-year-old may also get another chance on Sunday; the best sports betting sites are currently offering odds of *4.50 for him to be an anytime scorer against the Gunners.
IT COULD BE A DEFINING WEEK FOR WENGER’S MEN
After being beaten at home by Barcelona in the Champions League this week, Arsenal now head into the most critical phase of their season so far. After Sunday’s visit to Old Trafford, they host Swansea City on Wednesday before one of the biggest North London derby games for years next weekend against Spurs. Although Wenger’s team start as clear favourites against the Red Devils, the veteran French tactician will be only too aware of some of the epic battles his team have faced at the Theatre of Dreams in the past. Just how much Tuesday’s loss to the Catalan giants has taken out of Wenger’s team remains to be seen, Gunners fans realise however, that on a ground where they once won the Premier League championship, another win on Sunday would be a huge step towards their first English league title since 2004.
The Manchester United infirmary is full to bursting, the latest victim, striker Anthony Martial, is suffering from a hamstring problem but despite being withdrawn from Thursday night’s Europa League win, he could still play a part in Sunday’s proceedings; Rashford stands by to deputise once again. The introduction of defender Marcus Rojo late on in mid-week, has eased a little pressure in defence with Chris Smalling still absent and German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger could be ready to make his return early next month. England international Michael Carrick may once again deputise at the heart of the back-four.
Arsenal will be without attacking midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, after he limped off in the defeat to Barcelona with what was later discovered to be a knee injury which will keep him out for around two/three weeks. With Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla and Tomas Rosicky also missing, the Gunners are a little light in midfield. Former Red Devil Danny Welbeck could return to the starting XI for the first time on Sunday, but Wenger remains cautious on the subject stating that he was “unsure” if he was ready to play from the first whistle.
OLD TRAFFORD SQUADS
Manchester United(from) Romero, Riley, Blind, Carrick, Varela, Schneiderlin, Ander Herrera, Lindgard, Rojo, Pereira, Love, McNair, Castro, Depay, Mata, Rashford,
Arsenal (from) Cech, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Bellerin, Ospina, Chambers, Gibbs, Campbell, Coquelin, Ramsey, Flamini, Sanchez, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud, Welbeck
HEAD TO HEAD
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last eight home Premier League games against Arsenal and the Gunners 3-0 win in the first meeting between the two this season, ended a run of eight without victory against United. The team from the capital have kept five clean sheets in their last eight Premier League games but have only won two of their last seven on the road. Last season’s corresponding fixture finished 1-1. If punters fancy a similar scoreline, the best football betting sites are offering odds of *6.50 for a repeat performance.
Manchester United 3.25 Draw 3.30 Arsenal 2.40
*odds courtesy of Bet365
By: Steve Mitchell