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Preview: Manchester United aiming to be victorious at the Emirates on Saturday…

Arsenal -v- Manchester United

Premier League 2017/18

Emirates Stadium, London

Saturday 2nd December 2017; KO 17:30 GMT

Live on BT Sport 1HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United travel to the Emirates to face Arsenal in the Premier League on Saturday evening. It has been just over three years since United last beat Arsenal at the Emirates, the last victory coming at Old Trafford in February 2016. United will be seeking to improve on their 2-0 defeat in this fixture last season, which should be a different story with the players available at this stage of the season, compared to those available for the last trip to the Emirates. Jose Mourinho has confirmed that both Phil Jones and Eric Bailly will miss this match, with Nemanja Matic travelling to London, but may not play. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be without both Santi Cazorla and Alexandre Lacazette due to injury.

United will be seeking a good performance from his side, who have started the season a lot better than the last. Mourinho’s side are currently second in the league, three points clear of third-placed Chelsea, also a ten goal difference ahead of the reigning Premier League champions. Arsenal are currently fourth in the league, a point behind Chelsea and a goal difference of two fewer than their London rivals. United are eight points adrift of Manchester City, and they will be seeking a victory to take advantage in the race to the Premier League title, which is not over yet, despite many suggesting City have won the league. Pep Guardiola’s City will face a hurting West Ham United on Sunday, seeking their first Premier League victory under the management of David Moyes.

United have three important matches in nine days, facing Arsenal at the Emirates, then CSKA Moscow in the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford, followed by the first Manchester derby of the season with Manchester City heading to the Theatre of Dreams. United were denied a place in the knockout stages in the Champions League in their last match, a 1-0 defeat to Basel, meaning they need a point to qualify. It is not a must-win match for United, so they can make the changes required to rest players who faced Arsenal, for the derby. Mourinho, speaking about his team selection, said:

“I think I would always try to play the best possible team, even if the Champions League match was a must-win match. 

“I would forget it and go one game at a time. I would go for the most important game now, which is the next one, tomorrow. I say it’s difficult enough for you to be not focused and thinking about other things.

“I play a game at a time and I think it’s the way to do it,” he said. “Yesterday I was watching an interesting movie – Bjorn Borg v John McEnroe – and Bjorn’s coach was telling him that all the time: one point at a time, think just about one point, and I tell my players [to] think just about the game. I always say this. 

“It doesn’t matter what comes after, it doesn’t matter what happened before. It’s just this game, so now it’s Arsenal. We don’t think how many points we are in front of them, how many points we are behind the leader. We don’t think about that, just Arsenal.”

Previous Matches:

Manchester United and Arsenal have played 225 matches in the history of both clubs with the first match being played on the 13th October 1894 with Newton Heath and Woolwich Arsenal drawing 3-3 in the old Football League Division Two. United have won the most matches with 96 victories, drawing 47 and losing 82. The last time United were beaten by Arsenal was in this fixture last season which saw Arsenal win 2-0. The last time United beat Arsenal was at Old Trafford on the 28th February 2016, a 3-2 victory with Marcus Rashford scoring his Premier League debut brace and Ander Herrera scoring what turned into the winner. United last won at the Emirates on the 22nd November 2014 with a Kieran Gibbs own goal and a Wayne Rooney winner, with Olivier Giroud scoring a consolation.

Form: Manchester United has a better start to the season than Arsenal, but Emirates record is a record needing to be broken

Manchester United have played 14 matches in the Premier League this season, winning ten, drawing two and losing two. In total, United have scored 32 goals in the league, conceding eight, which leaves them with a goal difference of 24. At this stage last season, United had won five, drawn six and lost three matches in the league, only scoring 19 goals and conceding 16, leaving them with a goal difference of three. This season has seen a dramatic improvement in the league for United. In the Carabao Cup, United are in the fifth round, scoring six and conceding once so far. In the UEFA Champions League, United have been as consistent with four wins and one defeat, scoring ten goals and conceding two.

Arsenal have played 14 matches in the Premier League this season, winning nine, drawing once and losing four times. Arsenal have scored 28 goals, conceding 16, leaving them with a plus 12 goal difference. Last season, Arsenal started much better in the league with nine wins, four draws and one defeat after the same number of matches, scoring 30 goals and conceding 14 goals, leaving them with a plus 16 goal difference. Arsenal are in the fifth round of the Carabao Cup, scoring three goals and conceding one so far in the competition. In the UEFA Europa League, Arsenal won three, drawn one and lost one, scoring eight goals and conceding four.

Team News: Two players miss out for Manchester United; Nemanja Matic will travel to London with the squad

Jose Mourinho confirmed Phil Jones and Eric Bailly will both miss the visit to Arsenal this weekend as Nemanja Matic waits to prove his fitness ahead of the match. Mourinho did confirm the Serbian would travel with his teammates, but it is uncertain as to whether he will play a part in the match. The manager, speaking during his pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon, confirmed:

“I don’t know if he can play. He’s travelling with the team, he’s going to try, and hopefully he can, but I cannot guarantee he is ready.”

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has confirmed that Santi Cazorla and Alexandre Lacazette will both miss the match due to injury, the latter being ruled out after the 5-0 victory over Huddersfield Town earlier this week. Wenger, speaking about his side in his press conference, said:

“Despite all the preparation and experience I have, you are never 100 per cent sure, but you know the details. Naturally the concentration comes easily, the focus comes easily in the big games, so you make sure that the concentration is linked with confidence and the players are not inhibited.”

Predicted Starting XI:

Match Prediction:

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

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