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The Red Devils Face the Gunners at Old Trafford

Last updated: October 28, 2020 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Sunday, 16:30
Venue: Old Trafford
Coverage: Sky Sports
Home Form: LWLWD
Away Form: WLWLL
Last Meeting: Arsenal 2 – 0 Man United
Competition: Premier League

The ‘big six’ are at it again, this time with one of the fiercest rivalries of the Premier League era between Manchester United and Arsenal. Both sides will be eager to bounce back from a disappointing last weekend at home where United drew against Chelsea, and The Gunners lost against Leicester City.

The Red Devils have endured a miserable start to the season. Still, they have started to turn the corner with a morale-boosting win against Newcastle before beating a star-studded PSG in Paris, and a defensively solid display in the draw against Chelsea. The clouds have not exactly been lifted at Old Trafford after they were thrashed 6 – 1 by Jose Mourinho’s Spurs at home, but the calls for manager’s head have quietened down a little bit.

Ole Gunnar Solskjear seems to be playing the rotation game, having not featured arguably their best squad yet. It would be fascinating to see both Bruno Fernandes and Pogba line up as the attacking midfield, just as David Silva and De Bruyne did for Manchester City.

Starting the match with £150m on the bench in Paul Pogba and Donny Van Beek feels like a wrong decision. The Frenchman came on to impact the game in the dying minutes in their Newcastle win. The continued omission from the starting line-up of Van Beek is bizarre, especially when you consider that United have scored nine goals in the Premier League, five of those goals have been scored in the 69 minutes that the Dutchman has played!

Fernandes has been ever-present in the starting line-up since joining from Sporting Lisbon with the manager preferring Fred and McTominay to Pogba and Matic behind the Portuguese man.

United had the better chances against Chelsea with the new man with the gloves, Edouard Mendy, announcing himself to the world with magical saves to keep out Sir Marcus Rashford and Juan Mata to earn a draw. Chelsea fans will of course point to the penalty they should have had, Harry Maguire lucky not to concede after putting Cesar “Dave” Azpilicueta in a headlock in the area. VAR looked at the incident but inexplicably decided no offence took place.

Edison Cavani has prospects of being a great asset for Man United as their true striker with clever movements and flicks. The Uruguay international has big shoes to fill with the regrettable departure of Romelu Lukaku, who before his departure scored 28 goals including a brace in a dramatic 3 – 1 win against PSG.

Cavani’s numbers are only eclipsed by generational talents Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi who have achieved god-like status. Making him the best “human” footballer with 250 goals in 413 appearances, two more than Man City Legend Sergio Aguero, who has 248 goals. The fascinating aspect is that this tally includes stints at clubs that include Palermo and Napoli, that had less talent around him, and now with the star-studded midfield, he should flourish well, despite his age.

Brazilian Alex Telles showed glimpses of becoming a great signing, keeping Neymar, Mbappe, and Di Maria quiet and making forward runs with gusto whipping venomous crosses into the box.

Arsenal suffered a 1 – 0 loss over the weekend against Leicester City. After dominating the game for long periods of play, they were guilty of overplaying in the final third; a problem Arsenal has had for many years. The Gunners succumbed to a third defeat of the season meaning they have struggled against all the well-established sides they faced (Man City, Liverpool, and Leicester) something they did so well towards the end of last season. A win over the weekend would have kept them a point within reach of the league leaders, Everton.

19-year old William Saliba seems to be frozen out of the squad without even making a Premier League appearance, with the manager opting to play Shkodran Mustafi who was in the wrong position for the 80th minute Vardy goal they conceded. Mesut Ozil is another that is out in the cold, he is their highest-paid, and one their most talented players but off-field matters have meant the 32-year-old is not even named in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squad. A ridiculous situation for the club, who have a much needed creative player who will be paid to do nothing until at least January.

Alexander Lacazette has been the team’s top scorer with three goals so far as their captain Aubameyang seems to be struggling with an undisclosed problem. Whether it’s an injury or something else, it prompted the Gabon international to take tablets in the 24th minute. The captain has not scored for five league matches for the first time since November 2014 in his first season for Dortmund.

Lacazette, in his fourth season at the club, has not been as prolific as he was at former club Lyon. In 2015, he scored 27 league goals, 21 in 2016 and 28 in 2017. His highest return for Arsenal was in his first season in which he netted 14 times. He was guilty of missing clear-cut chances against both Liverpool and Leicester which ultimately cost dear.

Arsenal will be working to prevent a third consecutive defeat of the season and have to do so without the leadership of David Luiz who went off injured. Mikel Arteta’s side has a kind Europa League tie against Dundalk United while United face RB Leipzig in the Champions League tonight (the first time the two clubs have met). These games could have an impact on Sunday’s team selections.


Team News

United has Eric Bailly (knee injury), Anthony Martial (suspended), Jesse Lingard (hamstring) & Phil Jones (Knee Injury) all unavailable.

United have not won against Arsenal in the league in the last two consecutive seasons drawing at home and losing by 2 – 0 scoreline at home.

Arsenal has five players ruled out due to various injuries (Chambers, Holding, Villar, Marinho & Martinelli), with Da Silva rated at 75%.

Arsenal has frozen out some players who could have an impact in big games such as Mesut Ozil and new signing William Saliba.


Expected Line-Ups:

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Manchester United (4-3-3): De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindeloef, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, James, Greenwood
Subs: Henderson, Cavani, Tuanzebe, Fred, Rojo, Mata, Dalot, McTominay, Matic, Van Beek
Injured: Bailly, Jones, Lingard
Doubtful:
Not available: Martial
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Arsenal (4-3-2-1): Leno, Bellerini, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Thomas, Ceballos, Xhaka, Aubameyang, Pepe, Lacazette
Subs: Runarsson, Mustafi, Maitland-Miles, Elneny, Wilock, Nketiah, Saka
Injured: Chambers, Holding, Villar, Marinho, Martinelli
Doubtful: Da Silva
Not available:

So Far This Season

. . .
Man U This Season Arsenal This Season
15th League Position 11th
2 (2) Wins (away) 3 (1)
4 – 1 v Newcastle Biggest Win 3 – 0 v Fulham
1 (0) Draws (away) 0 (0)
1 – 6 v Spurs Biggest Defeat 1 – 3 v Liverpool
Fernandes (3) Top Goal Scorer Lacazette (3)
Y10, R1 Discipline Y8, R0
1 Failures to Score 2
20% Clean Sheets 17%
80% Both Teams to Score Games 50%
80% Over 2.5 Goals 67%
20% Under 2.5 Goals 33%
  • The two sides have met 56 times; The Red Devils have triumphed 24 times against The Gunner’s 15 wins with 17 draws between them.
  • United have an average of 1.80 goals per match, while Arsenal has an average of 1.33 goals scored per game.
  • Edison Cavani and Aubameyang can be the clinical difference in front of goal with both players being able to net for fun, especially with quality delivery coming from both midfield players.
  • Ozil omission seems baffling, especially after Arsenal lacked the cutting edge to kill the game against Leicester. while United who was the better side against Chelsea will have another run against Gunner’s unsettled defence.

Head to Head

Last 5 meetings between the two sides
Date Competition Game Result First Goal-scorer
01/01/2020 EPL Arsenal 2 – 0 Man U Pepe 8’
30/09/2019 EPL Man U 1 – 1 Arsenal Chambers 10’
10/03/2019 EPL Arsenal 2 – 0 Man U Xhaka 12’
25/01/2019 FA Cup Arsenal 1 – 3 Man U Sanchez 31’
05/12/2018 EPL Man U 2 – 2 Arsenal Mustafi 26’

Conclusion & Betting Tips

Games between Manchester United and Arsenal no longer have the passion or the intensity that we used to witness in the Fergusson / Wenger era, but there are still three points up for grabs, and neither team will want to lose this one. United have bounced back after the defeat to Tottenham and could well shuffle their pack and give Cavani a shot at the Gunners.

Arsenal has already had some tough games against Man City, Liverpool, and Leicester and has lost them all, the trip to Old Trafford is unlikely to be an easy one either. Captain Aubameyang’s form has dropped, raising concerns that he is nursing an injury. Leading scorer Lacazette is likely to be their main goal threat.

We fancy a United win in this one despite the manager’s reluctance to play his best players together. A United win is priced @ 21/20 at bet365. The same bookmaker offers 11/4 for a Manchester United win and both teams to score.