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Manchester United v Arsenal – Match Preview

Arsenal travel to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon, as Mikel Arteta looks to record the Gunners first away victory at a ‘big six’ rival since 2015.

Here’s everything you need to know about that Sunday’s intriguing meeting:

Form

Manchester United: LWLWD

Man United went into the international break looking woefully short of form and fitness after their 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur, yet have made a strong response in recent weeks to put their season back on track.

The Red Devils may still find themselves in 15th in the Premier League table but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be delighted with what he’s seen in the last two weeks. United have put four past Newcastle; won away in Paris; held Chelsea to a draw and romped to an impressive 5-0 victory over RB Leipzig in midweek.

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That latter display saw Solskjaer hand a rare start to new man Donny Van de Beek and fellow midfielder Paul Pogba, although it was substitute Marcus Rashford who caught the eye, the man of the moment grabbing a sensational late hat-trick in what was a blistering cameo.

Having defeated last season’s Champions League semi-finalists on Wednesday night, United will now have to navigate a way past a stubborn Arsenal defence. After such a solid display against the Bundesliga side Solskjaer may look to once again deploy a midfield diamond, while Mason Greenwood is likely to earn a start after his well-taken goal in midweek.

Striker Anthony Martial will serve the final game of this three-match suspension against the Gunners, while defender Eric Bailly is also unavailable due to injury. Summer signing Alex Telles continues his absence having tested positive for COVID-19.

Arsenal: WLWLL

Despite all the praise of Mikel Arteta’s new-look Arsenal side, there’s no getting away from what’s been a frustrating few weeks for the Gunners in the Premier League.

Arteta’s men put in a limp performance against Manchester City on October 17, before suffering another 1-0 defeat a week later against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester despite having dominated proceedings. Those two results showcased the Gunners inability to find the back of the net at present, with star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang suffering his worst league goal drought since 2014.

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The North London side have at least found the net in the Europa League with victories over Rapid Vienna and Dundalk, although neither match was particularly straightforward for the English side.

Despite not being quite at their best of late, Arsenal still have the tools to hurt Manchester United and should be buoyed having seen their North London rivals rip the United defence apart a few weeks ago.

Arteta will though be sweating over his own defence with the likes of Rob Holding, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari all injured, while the Arsenal boss revealed that David Luiz is a major doubt having missed the Thursday night clash with Dundalk.

Last Meeting – Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United, 1 January 2020

This New Year’s Day meeting saw Mikel Arteta claim his first Arsenal victory after a dominant performance over their long-time rivals.

Despite having suffered a slow start to life in England it was £72m man Nicolas Pepe who opened the scoring, the Ivory Coast international tucking home at the back post after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cut back. The home side continued to dominate proceedings and were awarded with a second just before the break, with Greek defender Sokratis netting from close range.

The second period saw United put in a much-improved display, although they could not find a way through the solid home defence. The Gunners would go on to finish in seventh place, while United secured third place with an exceptional run of form at the back end of the season.

Predicted Lineups:

Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bisakka, Maguire, Lindelof, Shaw; McTominay, Fred, Pogba, Fernandes; Rashford, Greenwood.

Arsenal: Leno; Mustafi, Gabriel, Tierney; Bellerin, Ceballos, Xhaka, Partey, Saka; Aubameyang, Lacazette.

Who is the referee?

Mike Dean

How can I watch?

UK and Irish readers can watch on Sky Sports Main Event.

What time is kick off?

16:30 BST

Odds

Manchester United – 1/1

Arsenal – 5/2

Draw – 5/2

Read – Champions League: Ranking the best champions of the last 10 years

Read Also – Rating every 17-year-old to score in Champions League history

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