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Preview: Manchester United out for revenge against Arsenal in must-win match!

Arsenal -v- Manchester United 

Emirates, London

Premier League 2016/17

Sunday 7th May 2017; KO 16:00 BST

Live on Sky Sports 1HD

Manchester United travel to the Emirates on Sunday afternoon to take on Arsenal in the Premier League. United are fresh from their 1-0 semi-final first leg UEFA Europa League victory over Celta Vigo, putting them 90 minutes, or 120 minutes and/or penalties from the UEFA Europa League final, which would be a first achievement for the club who have won every major honour other than this one. Arsenal have been having a break since last weekend, being that they are not in any European competition, and could be faced with that situation next season also. Back in November, United are Arsenal drew 1-1 at Old Trafford; Juan Mata opened the scoring in the 68th minute, with Olivier Giroud equalising in the final minute of the match. At this stage of the season, with United five points better off than the North London, United will need a victory from the Emirates in order to retain their slight chance of earning a top four place before the end of the season. United’s UEFA Champions League chances remain by winning the Europa League, but getting inside the top four may take some pressure of Jose Mourinho’s side, should they make it to Sweden at the end of the month.

United’s UEFA Champions League chances remain by winning the Europa League, but getting inside the top four may take some pressure of Jose Mourinho’s side, should they make it to Sweden at the end of the month. Of course, there are no guarantees that United will win the trophy, no guarantees they will get to the final either unless they pull out all of the stops at Old Trafford on Thursday evening. The race for the top four will heat up this weekend with Manchester City and Liverpool looking to keep United under pressure, kicking off in the final match on Sunday afternoon. Chelsea will go head to head with Middlesbrough on Monday evening, which does not cause any problems for United at this stage of the season. Mourinho will rotate his side, keeping the Europa League as his main priority, but doing enough in the league to win the matches they need to win, carrying them closer to the main objective of the season – UEFA Champions League football and another trophy, which is what all teams will want.

Rival supporters will mock United for their position, but since last season, there has been an improvement, which cannot be said for Arsenal, who are on the decline and need attention immediately. Beating United may placate the Arsenal fans this weekend, but nothing can placate them permanently. Many will opt to sack Arsene Wenger, but that will only be the start of the problems, as United supporters will know after the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson, which was announced nearly four years ago – 8th May 2013. Arsenal fans may want to be careful what they wish for. Still, this weekend’s match should see a United side baying for blood, wanting to exact revenge on the side who scored that last-minute goal back in November, aiming to take all three points from the Emirates in a match which if United set up like they did against Chelsea a few weeks ago, could be enough for the North Londoners to give up and get ready for another season of decline. Arsenal are five points behind United, a defeat at the Emirates followed by a victory for Arsenal against Southampton (their game in hand) next week could see United in sixth again!

Match Officials: Andre Marriner to take charge of Arsenal versus United for the second time this season

Andre Marriner will officiate the match at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon. It will be his 26th match in the Premier League this season, where he has shown 92 yellow cards, one second yellow and one red card this season. This will also be Marriner’s fifth game involving United, having officiated over two previous league matches; the 3-1 victory over Bournemouth and the 1-1 draw with Arsenal earlier in the season. He also took charge of the 4-0 FA Cup victory over Reading and the EFL Cup final victory over Southampton. During these matches, Marriner has booked seven United players; Ander Herrera (twice), Mateo Darmian, Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young and Jesse Lingard. The assistant referees will be Simon Beck and Scott Ledger, with the fourth official being Craig Pawson.

Form: 25 matches unbeaten in the league and the team with the fewest defeats in the league, but still fifth!

Manchester United: This season has been a tough one for United. 14 draws in the Premier League, ten of those at Old Trafford is not United returning to their best. However, it is an improvement overall as United are playing some better football, although there are some creases to iron out, especially scoring goals, of which a handful were missed against Celta Vigo on Thursday evening. United face the remainder of the season without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, their top scorer and match winner this season, which will be a blow, especially against Arsenal. Jose Mourinho will have to rotate his team with an eye on the UEFA Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta at Old Trafford on Thursday but should have enough freshness in his side to challenge the Gunners.

Arsenal: This season has been a wake-up call for Arsenal, who have been on the decline all season. Positioned above United for the majority of the season saw their fans mock United, but ever since United took over them in the league, they have been pretty quiet. Knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 stage again, with a chance of not qualifying for the elite European tournament next season, which will be the first time in this modern football era. The Arsenal fans have been calling for Wenger to be sacked, when they lose, being silent when they don’t, which is as fickle as those fans are. A victory over United this weekend and another over Southampton during the week would see United put back down to sixth. United need to win in London.

Who are the top scorers at both Manchester United and Arsenal this season?

Manchester United: 28 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 12 – Marcus Rashford, 10 – Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, 8 – Anthony Martial, 7 – Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, 5 – Jesse Lingard, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Arsenal: 24 – Alexis Sánchez, 19 – Theo Walcott, 13 – Olivier Giroud, 11 – Mesut Özil, 7 – Lucas Pérez, 6 – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 4 – Alex Iwobi, 3 – Danny Welbeck, Granit Xhaka, 2 – Santiago Cazorla, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Aaron Ramsey, Calum Chambers, Nacho Monreal

Team News: Injuries strike but United in a better position defensively to face the Gunners

Manchester United will be without Ashley Young, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo against Arsenal on Sunday and will be sweating on the fitness of Marcus Rashford who limped out of the 1-0 victory over Celta Vigo on Thursday evening. United were boosted ahead of the trip to Spain as Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling returned to training, Bailly starting and Smalling making a cameo appearance at the end of the match after Young suffered his injury. Marouane Fellaini will sit through his second match of a three-match suspension, which should see him available against against Southampton the week after next, in the league at least. He will be available again on Thursday in the Europa League. Mourinho suggested that Rashford’s withdrawal was precautionary, meaning he should be fit but will undergo a late fitness test on Saturday, presumably before the team leaves Manchester for London. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will be without Santi Cazorla, Lucas Pérez and Granit Xhaka with the French manager sweating on the fitness of Shkodran Mustafi.

Previous Meetings:

Manchester United and Arsenal have a long history stretching back some 224 matches with the first being played on the 13th October 1894. United have won the most matches with 96 victories, drawing 47 and losing 81. United will be looking to get closer to three figures with a victory over the Gunners. United have a reached a nine-match unbeaten streak against Arsenal twice (19th October 1991 to 22nd March 1995 and 20th November 1954 to 11th October 1958). There are also two seven-match unbeaten streaks in favour of United in the history of both clubs meeting; one started with that 8-2 victory on the 28th August 2011, ending on the 22nd November 2014. United have a five-match winning run over Arsenal from the 6th September 1983, ending on the 24th August 1985. United are unbeaten in their last two matches against Arsenal, both played at Old Trafford; a 3-2 victory and a 1-0 draw. However, their last trip to the Emirates ended in a 3-0 defeat on the 4th October 2015, the first match between the two sides last season. Jose Mourinho has a good record against Arsenal, he will want to retain that and also remain unbeaten against his former cross-city rivals whilst the manager of United.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Arsenal?

Predicted Score:

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

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