Rivals Re-United as The Red Devils Travel to The Emirates
Last updated: January 27, 2021 by Leon Marshal
|Last Meeting:||Man United 0 – 1 Arsenal|
High-flying Manchester United travel to Arsenal to rekindle one of the Premier League’s biggest rivalries. Both teams are on form, and both teams desperately need the points. It should be a great contest between two attacking sides.
Arsenal has enjoyed a great spell against their bitter rivals winning three and drawing two of the last five games. Currently on a good run with four wins in the last five games in the league and most impressively keeping four consecutive shutouts in these games, a trait that shows great improvement in their defence.
The Gunners quest to get silverware this season took a big hit last weekend when they were knocked out of the FA Cup by Southampton. Manager Arteta opting to start the match without several key players backfired against a full-strength Saints team who played with more urgency and commitment. It was a defeat that would have hurt the club, being the most successful club in the competition the cup has been their saviour, especially last year. Their 2-1 victory over Chelsea ensured they qualified for European competition (Europa League) despite finishing a lowly eighth in the Premier League.
It may well be that their elimination in the cup could prove to be a blessing in disguise. With Europa League fixtures starting mid-February (18th Feb against Benfica), fixtures will be coming thick and fast, and their resources may be better focussed on the league. The Holy Grail for Arteta will be qualifying for the Champions League with a top-four finish. A competition they have been absent from since the 2016-17 season after making nineteen successive appearances since 1998-99 a record only surpassed by Real Madrid.
Arsenal had the chance to gain quick revenge for their FA Cup exit, playing their conquerers Southampton three days after their cup game in the league. Arsenal fielded a much stronger side, although Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang missed the game for personal reasons. Despite going behind early, Stuart Armstrong putting Southampton ahead in the 3rd minute, goals from Pepe (8), Saka (39) and Lacazette (72) gave the Gunners the win. It was a victory that took Arsenal from 11th to 8th, five points short of 4th place but having played more games than most teams around them.
Off-field, Arsenal are also making improvements. The London outfit shed dead weights on big wages, such as; Mesut Ozil, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Sead Kolasinac. However, it is the impending arrival of Martin Odegaard which will get Arsenal fans excited. The 22-year-old has a similar style to Ozil and looks every bit an Arsenal type of player. Odegaard made his debut for the Norweigan team at the age of 15 and is expected to join from Real Madrid on loan until the end of the season.
On-field, Emile Smith Rowe has been a breath of fresh air in the number 10 role producing three assists so far. Since the young Englishman earned his first Premier League start this season, his side has been on an incredible run of five wins and one draw that started with a 3 – 1 win against Chelsea. Alexandre Lacazette has stepped up with eight goals so far as their focal man upfront covering up for their captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who could miss this game due to unstated, personal reasons.
Like Arsenal, United are on a great run themselves. They lost top spot in the Premier League on Tuesday when neighbours City beat West Brom 5-0 but could reclaim the lead with a win against bottom club Sheffield United at Bramall Lane tonight (Wednesday).
United’s 0-0 draw with Champions Liverpool in the league and subsequent 3-2 victory against them in the FA Cup at the weekend shows the team’s progression this season. At this stage last season, Liverpool was already out of sight in the league, but at the halfway point of the season, United has the advantage.
This uptick in form can be largely attributed to two players; Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes.
A few short months ago, it looked like Pogba was edging his way out of Old Trafford. His agent stoked the fire ahead of a Champions League clash stating the player was unhappy and wanted a move. Whether this inspired the World Cup winner to perform better to achieve a move or not, there can be little doubt that the Pogba over the last month is the Pogba we all know he can be when motivated. A team outcast to one of the first names on the team sheet has been quite a transformation.
Where would United be without Fernandes? It’s rare to see a player make such a difference at a club, especially one already packed with stars, but Bruno certainly has. This season, the 28-year-old has scored eleven and assisted seven in eighteen games, meaning a direct goal involvement in eighteen goals in eighteen appearances.
A reason why United should at least be considered contenders is due to their strength in depth at the club. Competition is good within the squad with at least two players able to play in all positions. The manager has been able to rotate players without it affecting results, and with the possible exception of Donny van de Beek, the players seem to accept this squad approach. They are currently on a thirteen-game unbeaten run since they lost 1 – 0 to Arsenal at the start of November. However, more impressive is their away form, unbeaten with eight wins and two draws.
One criticism of Solskjaer this season is his team’s record against the ‘big six’ in the league. They are winless against the big six; thumped 6 – 1 by Spurs, humbled 1 – 0 by Arsenal, and goalless against Chelsea, Man City, and Liverpool. In the head-to-head table, Liverpool has taken 11 points, Tottenham 10, Manchester City 8, Arsenal 6, Manchester United 3, with only Chelsea having a worse points tally on 2. If this pattern continues in the second half of the season, you can imagine Manchester City or Liverpool starting to pull away.
This game will be a tussle between two legends who have turned their fortunes around for the clubs they once featured for. Mikel Arteta recovered from a poor run of seven winless games (losing five and drawing twice) and Arsenal are creeping up the table. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rejuvenated his career at Old Trafford from the low as being knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage to competing at the top of the Premier League table.
The Gunners are on a six-game unbeaten run in the league, winning five and drawing once that started with a 3 – 1 win against Chelsea.
19-year-old Bukayo Saka is a player to watch. The youngster has five goals and two assists in the league.
Man United are on a thirteen game unbeaten run since they lost 1 – 0 to Arsenal at the start of November.
Bruno Fernandes is United’s main goal threat with eighteen goal involvements in eighteen starts.
|Arsenal (4-3-2-1):||Leno, Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Thomas, Xhaka, Smith-Rowe, Pepe, Lacazette, Saka|
|Subs:||Runarsson, Maitland-Miles, Holding, Mari, Elneny, Willock, Nketiah, Martinelli, Chambers|
|Injured:||Ceballos, Villar, Tierney|
|Manchester United (4-3-3):||De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Matic, Pogba, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani|
|Subs:||Henderson, Tuanzebe, Fred, Mata, Lingard, Bailly, Beek, Martial, James, Greenwood|
|Injured:||Rojo, Pellistri, Williams, Jones|
So Far This Season
|Arsenal This Season||United This Season|
|9 (5)||Wins (away)||12 (8)|
|4 – 0 v West Brom||Biggest Win||6 – 2 v Leeds|
|3 (1)||Draws (away)||4 (2)|
|0 – 3 v Villa||Biggest Defeat||1 – 6 v Spurs|
|Lacazette (7)||Top Goal Scorer||Fernandes (11)|
|Y27, R3||Discipline||Y30, R1|
|7||Failures to Score||4|
|37%||Both Teams to Score Games||63%|
|53%||Over 2.5 Goals||63%|
|47%||Under 2.5 Goals||37%|
- The two sides have met 57 times; the Red Devils won 24 times against Arsenal’s 16 wins with 17 draws.
- Arsenal have kept a clean sheet in their last four Premier League matches and are undefeated in five.
- Man Utd have won 12 of their last 14 away matches and are unbeaten on the road this season.
- Arsenal inflicted United’s last defeat in November, Aubameyang scored from the penalty spot.
Head to Head
|Last 5 meetings between the two sides|
|Date||Competition||Game Result||First Goal-scorer|
|01/11/2020||EPL||Man United 0 – 1 Arsenal||Aubameyang 69’|
|01/01/2020||EPL||Arsenal 2 – 0 Man United||Pepe 8’|
|30/09/2019||EPL||Man United 1 – 1 Arsenal||McTominay 45’|
|10/03/2019||EPL||Arsenal 2 – 0 Man United||Xhaka 12’|
|25/01/2019||EPL||Arsenal 1 – 3 Man United||Sanchez 31’|
Conclusion & Betting Tips
It wasn’t long ago that we were talking about Arsenal and mentioning relegation in the same sentence, but manager Arteta has managed to turn fortunes around, and a win here would put the Gunners within touching distance of the top four. Yet, you do still sense a fragility with Arsenal as seen in their cup defeat to Southampton. If youngsters Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka continue their great form, a win is possible here.
Like Arsenal, United went through a bad patch and a poor start to the season and Champions League elimination saw manager Solskjaer one of the favourites to lose his job. A great run in the league and a cup win against rivals Liverpool has brought back the feel-good factor at United. With their almost perfect away record, they will be confident of avenging their last league defeat that came against Arsenal.
Games between these two don’t tend to see a glut of goals, and we expect that pattern to continue here. We are going for a tight 2-1 win for United that is available @ 12/1 with bet365.