February 28, 2016, Live on from 1:00pm
Manchester United take on Arsenal at Old Trafford on a big Sunday of football. With Manchester United’s injury woes and Arsenal’s midweek champions league defeat against Barcelona, the pressures on both sides to get a result.
Arsenal will be going into this match five points away from top spot after Leicester City’s late win against Norwich City in this exciting Premier League season. Manchester United on the other hand find themselves in sixth place still six points away from a Champion’s League spot and continuously struggling for form under Louis van Gaal. Despite their 5-1 win in the Europa League on Thursday over FC Midtjylland, they did find themselves 1-0 down and question marks are always lingering over the tactics used by van Gaal. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also finds himself in the spotlight sometimes with his tactics and selection despite them being so close to the top of the league.
Both teams have been seriously set back with injures throughout the course of the season which means their squads have been fully used so far. It all started for Manchester United well early on in the season with the serious injury of left back Luke Shaw who suffered a double leg fracture and to more recent times with no 1 goalkeeper David De Gea missing the last three games but is expected to be fit for Sunday. Other injured players include Smalling, Borthwick-Jackson, Darmian, Jones, Fellaini, Schweinsteiger, Valencia, Keane, Januzaj, Rooney, Young and Martial. Injuries haven’t been so easy for Arsenal either with news coming after the midweek game against Barcelona that winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s knee injury was more serious than first thought and could now be out for up to seven weeks to add to their woes. Other injuries for Arsenal include Gabriel Paulista, Rosicky, Wilshere and Cazorla.
Arsenal will be hoping to replicate their emphatic 3-0 win over Manchester United from earlier on in the season at the Emirates Stadium where two goals from Alexis Sanchez and the other from Mesut Ozil put them 3-0 up in an explosive opening nineteen minutes. Despite this victory when it comes to the two teams facing up at Old Trafford in the league, it’s Arsenal that are the struggler’s having failed to get a league win there since 2006. However Arsenal do have recent success at Old Trafford with a 2-1 FA Cup sixth round victory last year when former Manchester United striker Danny Welbeck came back to haunt his old team with the winning goal. Manchester United will still count themselves in with a chance of winning despite the points difference in the league. With home advantage and some impressive results this season such as home and away league wins against Liverpool.
Arsenals win against Manchester United at the Emirates earlier this season ended a run of eight Premier League matches without a victory against them for Arsene Wenger’s men (Won 0, Drew 3, Lost 5). Arsenal have dropped seven points from winning positions away from home this season which is the joint most in the Premier League along with Manchester United. Arsenal have also kept five clean sheets in their last eight Premier League matches. Manchester United have earned fewer points this season than in any other Premier League campaign after 26 games.
Despite Arsenal’s disappointment during midweek and Manchester United’s very convincing victory I think it will be Arsenal who will be victorious. If Sanchez and Ozil can go in full flow from the start like they’ve shown so many times this season against a very injury struck Manchester United with a weak defence, I think they shouldn’t have any problems. It will also be interesting to see whether Arsenal start with Giroud upfront or go for more of a pace option with Welbeck to run at the defence. If Arsene Wenger tells his team to go in at the defence early on then it could be only a matter of time before the goals flow.
Check out Betfect for a full range of odds for the match
Manchester United to win: 9/4
Arsenal to Win: 7/5
Images from ‘www.manutd.co.uk’ and ‘www.independent.co.uk’