Saturday 27 February 2016

Match preview: United v Arsenal

United return to league action after progress in two knockout competitions but face a very different prospect this time around against Arsene Wenger's title chasing Gunners.

The north London side sit three places and ten points ahead of United, and have the chance to return to the top of the table with what would be a rare league victory at Old Trafford- we've won six and drawn two of the last eight home league meetings against Arsenal.

Sunday's visitors have won the last two matches between the sides with a 2-1 win in the FA Cup in March (Danny Welbeck scoring the winner) and then a 3-0 thumping of the Reds (sorry!) back in October. 

David De Gea and Chris Smalling both could return to bolster the Reds ranks having missed the win over Midtjylland, Adnan Januzaj and Marcos Rojo are both ready to return but Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini are doubtful.  
Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian and Phil Jones are among a United casualty list of 14.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is out injured for Arsenal and joins Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla on the sidelines. 

Both sides had mixed fortunes in their respective European outings in midweek as the Reds saw off Midtjylland 6-3 on aggregate to move into the last 16 but Arsenal have a mountain to climb after a 2-0 first leg defeat to a Lionel-Messi inspired Barcelona in the Champions League. 

In the fourth of five matches in 14 days, United manager Louis van Gaal said that his side face "a big challenge" against Wenger's side
"The players were happy after the win on Thursday and the fans too- that is expected and a lot of confidence, but now we have to play against one of the best teams in the Premier League.
"It's a challenge and even more of a big challenge because we have with more or less the same players within two days so that's also different but I think the recovery shall go better than ever.
"Marcos Rojo came back and I think De Gea and Smalling might do also on Sunday so that is good because we have to be at our best to beat a very difficult opponent in Arsenal" said Van Gaal. 

The games continue to come thick and fast for United after this one with leagues matches at home to Watford on Wednesday followed by a visit to West Brom and then the trip to Liverpool for the Europa League last 16 first leg. 

Form guide: United W D L L W W Arsenal W D W W D L
Match odds: United 12/5 Draw 9/4 Arsenal 11/8 

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire) 

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