Sunday 7th May. 4PM. Sky Sports 1
The pick of this weekend’s Premier League action comes from Sunday’s 4PM (assuming the Red Devils finally make it to the capital on time) fixture as two of English football’s greatest clubs renew their rivalry in what is set to be another crucial contest in their respective seasons.
With just a matter of weeks to go, it looks like only one, if any, of the two clubs will achieve a top four finish. Lose here, and those aspirations could be over. In addition to the passion of the fans and the managers, it should be a thriller from start to finish.
Can Gunners Fire Themselves Back Into Contention?
Last week’s derby defeat to Spurs has left Arsenal on the brink of failing to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in over two decades. However, Arsene Wenger’s men must keep the faith, especially as three points on Sunday could renew their hopes.
Despite the disappointment at White Hart Lane, the Gunners can be confident. Not only have they had more time to prepare for this game than the visitors, but they’ve also lost just two league games at the Emirates all term.
Moreover, the hosts possess the game’s best player in star man Alexis Sanchez while the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have the quality to cause problems. The latter has been particularly impressive since Arsenal switched to three at the back. If the hosts start well here, a huge win could be on the cards.
Then again, the visiting Red Devils might have something to say about that.
Mourinho Vows To Rotate
The only thing more common than a Manchester United fixture in recent weeks has been Jose Mourinho moaning about them. Following a first leg semi-final win over Celta Vigo, the Red Devils boss has confirmed he will rest some players ahead of Thursday’s return, but that won’t stop the visitors from seeking the full three points.
After all, a top four finish is still possible for United while they will be eager to keep their unbeaten league record going strong too. A stretched squad could be in for some difficult moments, but they still have plenty of quality. Given that those stars could potentially be playing for the futures, as well as a place in the Europa League games, the hosts cannot expect to have things easy.
Several stars returned to training this week too, and could be in contention to play. Meanwhile, skipper Wayne Rooney could be set to start against a team he has very fond memories of playing against. With many expecting it to be his last against the Gunners, he’ll be eager to have a big say.
It might not be the title-decider of yesteryear, but this remains one of English football’s great modern rivalries. With the Wenger-Mourinho battle thrown into the mix too, you won’t want to miss it.
Arsenal v Manchester United Betting
With home advantage on their side, Arsenal are priced 10/11 favourites ahead of Sunday’s showdown while the visitors can be backed at 10/3. Alternatively, the draw is available at 27/10.
The Gunners registered an impressive 3-0 win in last year’s corresponding fixture, but the majority of recent matches between these sides in the post-Ferguson era have been pretty close. We have no reason to think this one will be different.
In truth, it could be settled by a single moment of magic. If anyone is likely to provide it, Arsenal’s Chilean superstar is the man. We’re backing him to score in 90 minutes.
Whether Mourinho rotates or not, United will probably be happy to sit back and soak pressure at times, and we think that should lead to corners for the hosts.
Arsenal’s style of play does tend to generate corners, especially when they need to score. At odds of 2/1, the race to seven market is well worth a punt.