Saturday 19th November. 12:30PM. Sky Sports 1
Recent fortunes may suggest otherwise, but Manchester United v Arsenal is still a massive fixture in the Premier League calendar, and it is one that has produced some truly memorable matches over the years.
With the added ingredient of the Arsene Wenger v Jose Mourinho rivalry thrown into the mix, it should be an explosive battle to kickstart a weekend that additionally offers Tottenham v West Ham as well as a number of massive fixtures across Europe.
Bring it on!
No Zlatan For Red Devils
Sixth-placed Manchester United have been a little Jekyll and Hyde as Mourinho tries to stamp his authority on the Old Trafford club, and the suspension of Zlatan Ibrahimovic certainly won’t help matters. However, the Special One holds a great record of Wenger and will be confident about extending it.
Skipper Wayne Rooney should be back to cover for the suspended Ibrahimovic, and he loves playing against the Gunners. Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford will be hoping for a repeat of last season’s dramatic league debut.
The Red Devils do have a number of noticeable absences in defence too, with Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling leading that list. However, Paul Pogba looked to be approaching his best against Swansea while Michael Carrick could play a key role too.
Even at this stage, the hosts cannot afford to lose. But if they can get the three points, it could be the catalyst behind a resurgence. The players will be up for it, and so will the fans.
Arsenal Hit By Bellerin Blow
Like Manchester United, Arsenal face a few selection headaches thanks to the absences of Santi Cazorla and a host of other players. However, the injury to Hector Bellerin will arguably hit the Gunners hardest, and Carl Jenkinson will be tasked with an important role as his deputises.
The Gunners will at least take confidence from the fact that Alexis Sanchez has declared himself fit to play. Meanwhile, a mature performance against Chelsea suggests that Wenger’s side are ready to mount a serious title challenge this term. A win at Old Trafford would underline those ambitions.
In fact, victory would see Arsenal go top, at least on a temporary basis. Given that they are unbeaten in all competitions since the opening weekend loss to Liverpool, they’ve every reason to be confident.
Even with the absences in both sides, it should be a thrilling battle.
Manchester United v Arsenal Betting
The betting odds give a telling insight into the respective situations of these two rivals and, even with home advantage, Manchester United are priced 6/4 with Bet365. That makes them very slight favourites as Arsenal are 19/10. Meanwhile, the draw can be backed at 23/10.
At Anfield, Mourinho showed his abilities to shut off strong opponents. However, the loss at Stamford Bridge highlighted the weaknesses that currently surround this Red Devils side. Arsenal are more than capable of capitalising.
United should score on home soil, and the absence of Ibrahimovic may even assist their cause in a strange way. Nevertheless, we’re backing the Gunners to prevail.
If the visitors do prevail, there’s a good chance that it will be down to their creativity in between the middle and attacking thirds. While they have a number of capable stars, it’s Mesut Ozil who stands out as the most likely matchwinner.
Odds of 9/1 on Man of the Match, that’s got to be worth an outside punt.