Manchester United and Arsenal clash in FA Cup quarter-final thriller
Duels between Manchester United (13/10 with Coral to triumph) and Arsenal have long provided the FA Cup with fixtures full of thrills and defining moments, so fans will be hoping this quarter-final clash proves to be yet another classic.
Images of current Red Devils assistant coach Ryan Giggs tearing down the pitch to net an extraordinary goal in 1999, or flashbacks of the Arsenal ‘Invincibles’, will surely dominate the build-up.
Times have certainly changed since then, however, and top four rivals the Gunners and United no longer duke it out for every domestic trophy. There are new kids on the block, and the FA Cup may be both sides’ only hope of silverware this season.
With this backdrop in mind, Arsene Wenger takes his team to Old Trafford, where the current FA Cup holders have not triumphed in any competition since 2006, and where United have been beaten just twice this term.
The omens are not promising for inconsistent Arsenal, who have also had six goals smashed past them in their last two FA Cup tussles with United.
Skipper Wayne Rooney was on target on both of those occasions, so is a super 9/2 to net first, or 5/6 to strike anytime, after finding form again, with two goals in his past three games.
Sidelined striker Robin van Persie will be denied the chance to face his former club, but United still boast plenty of attacking talent.
Radamel Falcao is 7/4 to poach a goal anytime, while dangerous Angel Di Maria is 7/1 to make a difference by firing home last and exploiting Arsenal’s soft centre.
Only one of the last 12 battles between United and the Gunners has ended in a stalemate, with 22 goals fired in over those games. So, benefit from another of Coral’s cracking matchday specials and back United to win and both teams to score at a fabulous 4/1 (punters should note the maximun stake is £20).
While the Old Trafford outfit have home advantage and history on their side, Arsenal do not travel as underdogs and are arguably the more in-form team.
With just two losses in their last 12 outings across all competitions and some scintillating football on display, the Gunners are 2/1 to triumph, or a tasty 12/5 to take a draw over 90 minutes.
Olivier Giroud has found the net five times in as many of his last games, so is a great shout at 13/2 to open the scoring. The fantastic France frontman should be supported by United academy graduate Danny Welbeck, who is 8/1 to strike the final blow on his first return to Old Trafford since his summer departure.
Top scorer Alexis Sanchez (9/4 in the anytime market) will be the main threat in the Gunners’ attack, however, and United’s often lackadaisical defence will have to be alert. The onus, though, will be on Arsenal to find a way past David de Gea.