Arsene Wenger will lead his Arsenal side for one last time at the Old Trafford, as they take on Manchester United on Sunday.
Manchester United will face off against arch-rivals Arsenal this weekend as Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho will clash against each other for the final time in the Premier League.
Wenger has announced that he will be stepping down as the manager of Arsenal at the end of the season and will be keen to sign off with a win against his arch nemesis Mourinho at the Old Trafford. The midweek 1-1 draw against Atletico Madrid in the UEFA Europa League will have frustrated the Gunners and they will intent on bouncing back on Sunday.
Manchester United come into the game on the back of two consecutive victories, following their shock defeat to West Bromwich Albion a fortnight ago. They have defeated Bournemouth in the Premier League since then and beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 in the semifinals of the FA Cup the past weekend. And Mourinho will want his team to carry the momentum against Arsenal.
Team News & Tactics
There are no fresh injury concerns for the 20-time English champions heading into Sunday’s encounter, the manager has confirmed, meaning only goalkeeper Sergio Romero remains sidelined.
David De Gea had been brilliant between the sticks when Arsenal last played Manchester United and will once again be hoping to fire his side to a win. Shielding him will be a back four made up of captain Antonio Valencia at right-back and veteran Englishman Ashley Young at left-back, with Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the heart of the defence.
The three-man midfield has reaped good rewards for United recently and Mourinho is very much likely to stick to a similar setup on Sunday, which would mean Ander Herrera will start again with Nemanja Matic holding the fort as the defensive midfielder and Paul Pogba given the license to get forward and impact the game in the final third.
Jesse Lingard has grown into an important player for United under Jose and will start out on the right flank on Sunday to try and stretch the Arsenal defence with his movement. On the left-flank, it will be former Arsenal man Alexis Sanchez who will keep his place in the starting XI, with a point to prove against his former club. And leading the line for the Red Devils will be club’s top-scorer Romelu Lukaku.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Herrera, Matic, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Alexis;
Former Manchester United playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan will miss out for the North London outfit, while midfielder Mohamed Elneny is also ruled out. Santi Cazorla returned to training after a long time out on the sidelines but is not going to be rushed back into action.
Petr Cech has been uncharacteristically inconsistent this season and will need to be at the top of his game on Sunday. At right-back Hector Bellerin will keep his place and will be tasked with keeping Alexis quiet while providing width on the overlap. On the opposite side, Bosnian full-back Sead Kolasinac is likely to get the nod ahead of Nacho Monreal.
Shkodran Mustafi has looked suspect in the Gunners’ defence and will need to be at his best against the dangerous Romelu Lukaku. He is likely to be paired up with Rob Holding, with Laurent Koscielny in line to be rested keeping in mind the second leg against Atletico.
Aaron Ramsey has been in good nick of late and will be hoping to impact the game in the final third starting as one of the three central midfielders. He is likely to be partnered by Granit Xhaka who will be the anchorman in the middle, with Jack Wilshere completing the trio.
Alex Iwobi will take up the attacking midfield slot in the right channel and will be complemented by former United man Danny Welbeck on the left-side. And leading the line for the Gunners will be Gabon international Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-2-1): Cech; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Ramsey, Xhaka, Wilshere; Iwobi, Welbeck; Aubameyang;
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 10 home league matches against Arsenal since September 2006 (W7, D3), their longest run since March 1961.
- Arsenal are the only club in the top four English divisions to have lost all of their away league fixtures in 2018.
- The Red Devils have won their last four league fixtures against other teams currently in the top six.
- This will be Wenger’s last visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager – he lost his first match at the ground by a 1-0 scoreline in November 1996, and it was also the venue for his joint-heaviest Premier League defeat (2-8 in August 2011).
- The Gunners have already lost nine Premier League away games this season – they last reached double figures for away defeats in a 38-game season back in 1989-90.
1. Alexis Sanchez to score anytime @ 2.20
2. Over 2.5 Match Goals @ 1.65
3. Over 10.5 Corners @ 1.83
1. Manchester United to win Both Halves @ 3.25
Player to watch
Alexis Sanchez (Manchester United)
Having switched the red and white of Arsenal for the red of Manchester United in the January transfer window, Alexis Sanchez has been showing glimpses of what he can do once he gets firing. His performance against Tottenham last week in the cup game was top-notch and he will be hoping to put on a similar display against his former club when he walks out on the Old Trafford pitch on Sunday.
Interstingly, the Chilean could become the first player to score for and against the same team in a single Premier League season since Wilfried Bony in 2014-15.
Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
Manchester United have the chance to pull away from Liverpool in the race for the second place with a win and Mourinho’s team will be focused on that goal. Arsenal on the other hand will have an eye on their Europa League commitment during the midweek and as a result, could slip up against the Red Devils on Sunday. We at the Hard Tackle, predict a 2-1 win for the home team.