EPL: Manchester United v Arsenal Preview – Old Trafford – November 19, 2016
Manchester United face a stern test on Saturday when they receive a in-form Arsenal at Old Trafford. With only one win from their last five games the pressure will be on Mourinho to desperately come up with something. Arsenal are comfortably placed at the 4th spot on the EPL Table and will remain entrenched in the Top four, irrespective of the outcome of this match.
Jose Mourinho will have to do without his ace striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will be out on a one-match suspension. The United coach faced rebellion in the ranks with Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw avoiding playing in last week's clash with Swansea stating that they have not fully recovered from their injuries. But in all likelihood Mourinho may make them play at Old Trafford on Saturday. The two defenders need to perform just to ensure a future under Mourinho.
The absence of Ibrahimovic upfront means that the striker's onus may fall on Marcus Rashford. Anthony Martial could well feature against the Gunners. Paul Pogba and Juan Mata will have to replicate the forms they showed in their respective WC 2018 qualifier clashes a few days ago.
Rooney who had a big role to play in United's 3-1 win over Swansea was virtually ineffective in England's qualifying clash against Spain at the Wembley. But Mourinho may go with him in a central midfield role. He may also be tempted to try out his £26 million acquisition from Borussia Dortmund, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, on Saturday. The Armenian has spent quite some time on the benches and is totally out of match practice.
The Gunners will be without their key scorer, Alexis Sanchex, out with a calf injury incurred during practice sessions for his country, Chile. Alex Giroud may take the role of a central striker in such a event with the likes of Theo Walcott, Oxlaide-Chamberlain and the creative Mesut Ozil for support on the flanks. There's a possibility of Wenger introducing Joel Campbell in a forward position for some time during the match. Santi Czaorla, Bellerin and Lauren Koscielny at the back line have the ability to switch quickly to an attack mode and create a kind of pressing game familiar with the Gunners and the bane of all Premier League defences.
Whether the Arsenal attack will have the same bite without the presence of Sanchez will be interesting to see.
But the Gunners’ history at Old Trafford is something that fans will worry about a bit. Since the time they last won 0-1 in 2006, the Gunners have visited the ground on nine occasions but have been coming back winless. But will Arsene Wenger's men, who have been playing some of their best football in seasons rectify this disheartening statistic? We will know on the evening of November 19. It's probably this historical handicap for the Gunners at Old Trafford that has prompted bookmakers to give the hosts a slight edge in Saturday's big clash.
Manchester United v Arsenal Correct Score tips
Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal @ 14/1
Manchester United 3-2 Arsenal @ 33/1