Big Match Breakdown: Man United v Arsenal
Mourinho and Wenger face their final showdown
One of English football’s most storied fixtures returns this afternoon, as Arsenal visit Manchester United. And it promises to be a memorable encounter, with old foes Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho facing off for what looks like the final time.
But there’s plenty more at stake than managerial bragging rights. United are looking to keep their grip on second spot, whilst sixth-placed Arsenal are bidding to put distance between themselves and Burnley.
And the Coral News Team have the key stats and talking points ahead of kick-off…
Over history, there’s not been much to separate the sides. United have won 97 meetings to Arsenal’s 82, with the Red Devils bagging four wins in a row between August 2009 and March 2011.
Of the last nine clashes, there have been three victories apiece – with a trio of draws. And Red Devils’ fans may be concerned by the fact they’ve only won one of their last four home clashes with the Gunners.
Mourinho has set his side up in a 4-3-3 system in each of the last four games. That system is likely to continue, with the well-balanced pairing of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling at centre-back once again.
In midfield, Nemanja Matic is likely to sit behind Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera – as was the case in the FA Cup semi-final.
Arsenal could well rest a few big names ahead of Thursday’s crucial Europa League clash at Atletico Madrid. That could see Rob Holding return at centre-back.
Meanwhile, former United ace Danny Welbeck is likely to feature in an attacking three, just behind Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Welbeck has been a regular thorn in the side of the Old Trafford outfit, since joining Arsenal in 2014. The 27-year-old has scored in three of five meetings with United, and could cause problems out wide for the hit-and-miss Matteo Darmian.
Criticisms of the Gunners as a lightweight team are nothing new. With one of the less imposing defences in the Prem, their backline could well be exposed by the physicality and aerial threat of Romelu Lukaku, who is in top form.
In the match betting, United are firm favourites at 2/5. Meanwhile, it’s 18/5 for the draw and a sizeable 13/2 for an Arsenal victory.
The Gunners boast a strong recent record at Old Trafford, and have won four of their last five league games – including a 4-1 rout of West Ham United. Double Chance: Arsenal or Draw is a 15/8 shot.
Goals tend to be on the agenda when these sides meet. Six of the last eight head-to-heads have seen both sides register, and it’s 17/20 for Both Teams to Score in M16.