On November 22nd, Manchester United travel to the Emirates Stadium for the game of the weekend to take on Arsenal. Neither team have had the kind of start they expected to have to the season. Both have had poor starts to the season and will think a win in this match could help them kick start their season. Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United are in seventh with only 16 points from their first 11 games. Arsene Wenger’s men have not started a whole lot better. The gunners have only picked up 17 points from their first 11 putting them in sixth. Arsenal will want to bounce back from a horrible defeat to Swansea before the international break, while United will want to show their squad is deep enough to contend with all their injuries. It’s Arsenal vs Manchester United like you haven’t seen them in a long time, both hovering closer to mid table than to the top, but it is still a huge game.
Both teams have injury issues, but, in a rare occurrence, Arsenal are actually better off in the injury department than their opponents. That said, the gunners will still be missing some key players through injury. Mesut Ozil, Mathieu Debuchy, and David Ospina are all out with long term injuries. Laurent Koscielny is still being bothered by a nagging achilles injury and, after initially setting this fixture as his return date, does not know when he will come back. Former Manchester United striker, Danny Welbeck, picked up a knock while on England duty, but Roy Hodgson says he should be fit for the game this weekend. Arsenal have received a boost with Arsene Wenger saying that both Mikel Arteta and Olivier Giroud will be available for the match. Although, despite being declared available, I’ll be surprised if Giroud plays any real part in the match after being out for such a long time with his broken foot.
United have had one of the worst international breaks in recent memory when it comes to injuries. Daley Blind, Michael Carrick, David De Gea, Luke Shaw, and Angel Di Maria all picked up knocks during the break. Blind is the only one of those five that will definitely be out for the Arsenal clash. The other four will have decisions made before the match. United will also definitely be without Jese Lingard, Marcos Rojo and Ashley Young for the match. Rafael, Phil Jones, Radamel Falcao, and Jonny Evans will all have decisions made about their status for the match right before the match.
In all competitions, Arsenal have won only one of their last 14 against Manchester United. In the all time head to head, United have the edge winning 87 games, losing 73 and drawing 48. In the all time head to head at Arsenal though the gunners hold the edge winning 54, losing 26, and drawing 19. Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 23 Premier League home games with the last loss coming on the opening day of last season to Aston Villa. The only time Arsenal have only beaten United once since 2008 with that one time being in 2011 with Aaron Ramsey scoring the winning goal.
Arsenal: Alexis Sanchez
The key men for Arsenal in this match and this entire season is pretty obvious. Their most important player is their big summer signing, Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean star is in the form of his life right now and has been carrying Arsenal. The former Barcelona man has scored six in his last four in all competitions for Arsenal, five in his last three Premier League matches, and even scored a goal in each of the two internationals he played over the break. The Chilean star has been nothing short of lethal since arriving in England. Sanchez has converted 36% of his chances in the Premier League and has put 72% of his shots on target. Arsenal’s £35m signing has been worth every pound they paid for him so far. He has made that difference and has the quality to change a match with one moment of magic. Considering Arsenal have struggled against United in the last few years, the gunners may need that moment of magic for them to get the victory they crave.
Manchester United: Robin Van Persie
The key man for Manchester United is the ex Arsenal star, Robin Van Persie. Van Persie is hated by Arsenal fans for his move to United and it always feels like he will score against his own club. The Dutchman has scored in three of his four matches against Arsenal, which would have been four in four had it not been for one of the saves of the season by Wojciech Szczesny in the 0-0 draw at the Emirates last season. While the ex Arsenal superstar has not had the best time in the last two seasons as he has had to deal with age and injury, you just get the feeling that he will be on his game against his former club. While he has only scored three goals in his eight appearances this season, Robin Van Persie still has the quality to change a game and could prove to be a thorn in the gunners side once again.
Wayne Rooney is the joint top scorer in the fixture in the Premier League era. Back him to break his tie with Henry and become the fixtures all time Premier League top scorer at 3.27 with TailorBet here: http://goo.gl/eH4Hm8.
Arsenal seem to have some kind of mental block when it comes to playing Manchester United. As mentioned earlier, they have only won one of their last 14 against United. Even last year when Manchester United had their worst season in Premier League history Arsenal only took one point from the two matches against them. It is at the Emirates so I don’t see United beating Arsenal, but I don’t see Arsenal beating United either. So I’m going to go with a hard fought draw.
Prediction: 1-1 Draw