Manchester United v Arsenal: Premier League Preview
Manchester United host Arsenal today in the Premier League at Old Trafford (12.30 kick-off UK time).
The Premier League returns after the International break with the 4th placed Gunners taking on their 6th placed hosts.
The Gunners go into the weekend round of fixtures two points behind leaders Liverpool.
Whilst they are six points ahead of their hosts in the table.
Arsenal will be looking to end their poor recent record at Old Trafford against Manchester United.
Whilst Arsene Wenger will be seeking a first Premier League win against a side managed by his nemesis Jose Mourinho.
Wenger has also lost on each previous occasion that he has faced a Manchester United manager for the first time in the Premier League (Ferguson in November 1996, Moyes in November 2013 and Van Gaal in November 2014).
Arsenal will also be looking to improve their notoriously poor points return during the month of November. The month started with the 1-1 home draw with Tottenham Hotspur on the 6th November. Arsene Wenger has collected 1.58 points per Premier League game in November, his lowest rate in a month as a manager.
Arsene Wenger will need to decide whether Alexis Sanchez should start. The Chilean scored twice for Chile in midweek despite being hampered with a hamstring injury. If he fails to make the starting line-up Olivier Giroud is likely to lead the line.
Wenger will also have o decide who will start at right-back in the absence of Hector Bellerin. The manager is unlikely to want to break-up the Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi central defensive partnership. So Carl Jenkinson could be set to deputise for Bellerin.
Arsenal are likely to face a Manchester United front-line with more pace today. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are likely to get the nod in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (suspension). Jose Mourinho will also need to decide whether to start with Wayne Rooney, who missed England’s midweek International with a minor injury and then got caught up in controversy about late night partying in the team hotel.
Manchester United have lost just one of their last 10 Premier League matches against Arsenal, a 3-0 loss at the Emirates in October 2015 (W6 D3).
Arsenal have gone over 10 years without a league victory at Old Trafford, last recording a win in September 2006 with an Emmanuel Adebayor winner (D2 L7).
Manchester United have drawn their last two league games at Old Trafford – the last drew three successively at home in April 1992.
Arsenal have lost 22 times against Manchester United in the Premier League – more than they have against any other team, with 15 of those losses coming at Old Trafford.
The Gunners only recent win over Manchester United at Old Trafford was the 2-1 win the FA Cup in 2015, when Danny Welbeck scored the winner against his former side.
Marcus Rashford will lead the line for Manchester United in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic through suspension . He scored twice against the Gunners in the corresponding fixture last season at Old Trafford in a 3-2 win for the home side.
Wayne Rooney has scored 14 times in all competitions versus Arsenal during his career; only against Aston Villa (15) has he scored more often (also 14 vs Newcastle United).
Arsenal will need Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi to be at their best to counter what is likely to be a more pacey front-line for Manchester United in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Arsene Wenger’s only win in 15 previous encounters as a manager in any competition against Jose Mourinho came in the 2015 Community Shield (D6, L8).
Mourinho has never lost a Premier League game against Arsenal, winning five and drawing six of his 11 previous meetings with the Gunners.
On his rivalry with Arsene Wenger, Mourinho said:
“My last Premier League title was 18 months ago. Not 18 years (ago).
But I don’t think I get that respect.
‘It’s not because of this that I do or don’t sleep well at night. I just follow my way.
He added: “I want to win my ninth league title and my fourth in England.
I am at the club where I want to be, it’s as simple as that.
When I was sacked at Chelsea last season I had lots of offers.
I could have been working one week after. I could have been working at some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
But I waited. I want to be champion at every club I work at. I want to do that at Manchester United.
‘I want to win here. I didn’t sign a one year contract, I signed for three.”
On his poor record against Jose Mourinho teams, Wenger said:
“You know, we didn’t lose always. We have beaten them and there were many draws as well.
I think I have won against every manager in the world during my 20 years here and I do not make of this game a competition between two managers.
It’s between two clubs and two teams and I think I can understand that people want to create controversy, but it’s not that that makes the audience. What will make the audience is the quality of the game.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic serves a one-match ban.
Wayne Rooney is in contention after a minor knee injury.
Ander Herrera is available after a serving a one-match ban at Swansea before the international break, but Eric Bailly (knee) is expected to be joined on the sidelines by Antonio Valencia (arm) and Chris Smalling (foot).
Luke Shaw (leg) is fully fit, while midfielder Marouane Fellaini (calf) is a doubt.
Provisional squad: De Gea, Romero, Blind, Jones, Darmian, Fosu-Mensah, Rojo, Shaw, Carrick, Fellaini, Herrera, Mkhitaryan, Lingard, Mata, Pogba, Schneiderlin, Young, Depay, Martial, Rashford, Rooney
Alexis Sanchez who starred for Chile on Tuesday despite suffering a hamstring problem earlier in the international break faces a late fitness test.
Hector Bellerin is out for four weeks with an ankle injury.
Santi Cazorla remains sidelined with an Achilles problem.
Lucas Perez (ankle). Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck (both knee) are also missing.
Provisional squad: Cech, Ospina, Debuchy, Jenkinson, Holding, Gabriel, Koscielny, Mustafi, Gibbs, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Xhaka, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi, Sanchez, Akpom, Giroud.
Referee: Andre Marriner
Assistants: S Beck, A Garratt
Fourth official: M Oliver
Arsenal to return from the International break with a 2-1 win.