Saturday 6 May 2017

Match preview: Arsenal v United

United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that he will rest several senior stars for the trip to Arsenal on Sunday.

With the Europa League semi final second leg against Celta Vigo on the horizon,Mourinho looks set to shuffle his pack for the league encounter at the Emirates.

After the disappointing draw 1-1 draw with Swansea, the boss has been forced to admit that United's European ambitions have taken priority.

He said: "We are going to try against Arsenal, we are not going to say they can beat us 5-0 or 6-0.
"I will be resting players, many of my first team, but we are going to fight for a result - it is unlikely but there is no other way.
"If Celta were fighting for important things in La Liga, we could have the same circumstances but now I cannot play the same team.
"I have said that my team are tired and we play a very big occasion on Thursday so I have to be human and sensible with the players.
"In the last match against Swansea I think we lost our chance to fight for the top four, so I will be resting players for Arsenal." 

The Gunners sit one place and five points below United in six place and only a win would here would realistically keep alive their fading hopes of a top four finish for the 22nd successive season. 
Champions League qualification has proved Arsene Wenger's safety net over the last few (turbulent) years, but their 2-0 defeat to bitter rivals Spurs last time out - a fifth in six away league games -  sees them sit six points adrift of the top four (albeit with a game in hand) with matches running out.

Despite a likely raft of changes, Mourinho - having never lost a competitive match to Wenger  - will be determined to keep that record intact against the beleaguered Arsenal boss.

Marouane Fellaini serves the second of a three match domestic ban and Ashley Young is a mor doubt having limped off against Celta.
Tim Fosu - Mensah is injured, while Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all out for the season.
Marcus Rashford picked up a knock in Spain and could feature, but seems more likely to be among those rested ahead of Thursday's European tie. 
Granit Xhaka is doubtful for the hosts, but David Ospina and Shkodran Mustafi are fit again and available for selection.

United were forced to settle for a point in November's return fixture at Old Trafford as Olivier Giroud's leveller at the death cancelled out Juan Mata's opener. 

Form guide: Arsenal W L W W W L United W W W D D W 
Match odds: Arsenal 12/4 Draw 13/5 United 3/1 (bet365) 
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands). Also took charge of that aforementioned draw at OT. 

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