Sunday 4th October – 16:00 – Emirates Stadium
Manchester United are looking for a fifth consecutive win in all competitions as they travel to Arsenal later today. Since their defeat to PSV in the Champions League, Louis van Gaal’s side have beaten Southampton, Ipswich, Sunderland and Wolfsburg – scoring 11 goals in the process. The Gunners, meanwhile, have been rather more inconsistent and suffered their second Champions League defeat in as many games on Tuesday as Olympiakos secured a shock 3-2 win at the Emirates. However, in their previous Premier League match, the Gunners swept Leicester aside at the King Power Stadium, Alexis Sanchez scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 triumph. They can go up to third with a win, whilst victory for United will see them regain top spot going into the international break.
- Laurent Koscielny is sidelined by a hamstring injury but Olivier Giroud returns after his Champions League suspension.
- Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta won’t feature because of a hamstring injury and a dead leg respectively.
- Jack Wilshere (fibula), forward Danny Welbeck and Czech midfielder Tomas Rosicky (both knee) are also sidelined.
- Michael Carrick is fit again after sitting out Manchester United’s midweek Champions League win with what was described as a minor injury.
- Fellow midfielder Ander Herrera, also absent on Wednesday, remains a doubt, with Louis van Gaal saying he will consult with a specialist about fatigue in his squad before making his team selection.
- Centre-backs Paddy McNair (knock) and Marcos Rojo (hamstring) have been ruled out, whilst Luke Shaw (leg) is a long term absentee.
The Key Battle: Gabriel vs Anthony Martial
Following his one match ban for his scrap with Diego Costa, Gabriel will return to action for Arsenal with Laurent Koscielny’s injury meaning he will partner Per Mertesacker in defence.
The Brazilian looked in good form before the incident at Stamford Bridge, and looks much more confident and assured than he did last season following his move from Villarreal.
He will have a tough task trying to keep a certain teenager, who is enjoying an emphatic start to life in England, quiet. Anthony Martial was labelled a panic buy following a £36 million deadline day move to Manchester United, but the Frenchman has dealt with pressure with the utmost finesse and ease.
He has four goals in his first five games for the Red Devils, and won my Player of the Month award for September as he broke onto the Premier League scene in explosive fashion.
Arsenal wins = 74 / Manchester United wins = 88 / Draws = 49
*According to http://www.arsenal-world.co.uk
Last Meeting: Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal (17th May 2015)
Theo Walcott’s deflected cross gave Arsenal a late equaliser and a point at Manchester United. Ander Herrera’s first-half strike gave the Red Devils a lead they deserved in a game low on intensity with both teams already assured of places in the 2015-16 Champions League. Arsenal barely raised a gallop for the first hour but finally came to life in the closing stages and levelled when substitute Walcott’s cross was diverted past keeper substitute Victor Valdes off Tyler Blackett. [Adapted from BBC]
Arsene Wenger: “There are three points between the teams [Arsenal and United], we play at home in a big game. We have just come from a big win at Leicester and we want to continue our run.”
Louis van Gaal: “The solution is recovery – recovery, recovery, recovery. And that is why it is so difficult to prepare for the match against Arsenal. You want to prepare on the pitch, but you cannot do it because the players need freshness.”
The Referee – Anthony Taylor
- Last Premier League game: Watford 0-1 Crystal Palace (27th September 2015) – 8 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Arsenal game: Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea (2nd August 2015) – 2 yellow cards, 0 red cards
- Last Manchester United game: Manchester United 0-1 West Brom (2nd May 2015) – 1 yellow card, 0 red cards
Stat of the Match
Manchester United are unbeaten in four away games against Arsenal – they’ve never gone five without a loss away to the Gunners in the Premier League era.
Where can I watch it?
The game follows on from the Merseyside derby on Sky Sports 1, with coverage of the Emirates Stadium clash beginning at 3:30pm. The game itself starts half an hour later, whilst the highlights will be on BBC One’s Match of the Day at 10:30pm on Sunday evening.
My Prediction: Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United
Despite Arsenal’s midweek defeat, I can still see this game being very close and am going to predict a draw. At first I was tempted to go 3-3, but the defences of both sides have impressed me this season. So I went for 2-2. and I think that Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott, Anthony Martial and Juan Mata will be the scorers in an entertaining game in North London.