There's no stopping Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United apparently, and Paul Higham says Arsenal's defensive frailties will play into their hands again on Sunday.
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Arsenal v Manchester United (1630 GMT - Sky Sports PL)
Two big old rivals, a dominant home force against an irresistible away side clash as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's managerial masterclass returns to the Emirates looking to land another huge blow in the fight for the top four.
Going on Solskjaer's side winning at PSG on Wednesday, you couldn't rule out United going on to lift the Champions League this season, but despite that they're still looking a good bet for a top four finish and qualifying by that method.
The Gunners, who are a point behind United, by contrast, endured a nightmare European trip on Thursday, having Sokratis sent off in a 3-1 loss at Rennes that gives them a mountain to climb if they are to remain in the Europa League and in with a shout of making the Champions League by lifting that trophy.
At home, though Unai Emery's side have been immense, winning as many points as Liverpool and second behind only Man City, but in United that have a side that have won every away game under Solskjaer, including at the Emirates in the FA Cup.
Arsenal consistently give sides chances though, and on what we've seen recently their style, and form, sets up perfectly for United to exploit as they have been - sitting and defending well but hitting on lightening-quick raids using Rashford and Lukaku in particular.
That partnership has been flourishing and worked to maximum effect in Paris - there's no need for Solskjaer to change a winning formula and that formula should provide yet another three points for his road warriors.
Prediction: Arsenal 1-2 Man Utd (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)
Arsenal always look like scoring, especially when Emery deploys Lacazette and Aubameyang together, and judging on his defence his best chance of a result here may well be to go and try to blast United away early. That's easier said than done though and Arsenal's defensive frailties coupled with United's clinical finishing all adds up to an away win.
Best bet: Man Utd to win & both teams to score at 9/2
United have already won here, and if anything they've improved since then. They may not actually be as good as results under Solskjaer have suggested in many ways, but they've got the right formula going on right now and it looks on the face of it to be a tremendous fit for the way Arsenal can be beaten. Only Man City have stopped Arsenal scoring at home in the league this season - United have scored in every away game this season.
Goals/Stats: Paul Pogba to score anytime at 2/1
If we're looking for an anytime scorer than look no further - Pogba returns after midweek suspension so will be fresh and raring to go, and this is just his kind of stage. His scoring form has exploded since Solskjaer's arrival, and his style of arriving late into the box along with his pace and power in the air and on the ground will make him a match-up nightmare for Arsenal's defence.
Arsenal v Manchester United - Opta stats
- Arsenal have won two of their last three Premier League home games against Manchester United (L1), as many as they had in their previous eight against them (W2 D3 L3).
- Manchester United haven’t won back-to-back away league games against Arsenal since a run of three between 1983-84 and 1985-86. This was also the last time the Red Devils won three in a row at the Gunners in all competitions.
- Nine of Arsenal’s 13 Premier League victories over Manchester United have been in games played on a Sunday (three on Saturday, one on Wednesday).
- Arsenal have only lost twice at home against an opponent in a season on two occasions – against Nottingham Forest in 1987-88 and Aston Villa in 1993-94.
- Only Man City (42) have won more points in Premier League home games than Arsenal this season (38). Meanwhile, only Spurs (33) and Liverpool (32) have won more away points than Manchester United (29).
- Arsenal have won their last eight Premier League home games. They last won nine in a row within the same season at the Emirates back in 2014-15.
- Manchester United are on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (12 games – W10 D2). They’ve won their last six away games in the competition, last winning seven in a row on the road between April-August 1993.
- Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba has missed three Premier League penalties this season – no player has ever missed four in a season; two of the previous eight to do so also did it for Man Utd – Teddy Sheringham in 1997-98 and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003-04.
- 14% of Man Utd striker Romelu Lukaku’s 113 Premier League goals have come against ‘big six’ opposition (16 in 74 apps). He averages a goal every 346 minutes against these opponents, compared to one every 135 minutes against other opponents.
- Alexandre Lacazette is looking to become only the second Arsenal player to score in six consecutive home Premier League games, after Thierry Henry who did so twice (6 in August 2000, 7 in October 2004). Lacazette would be the first player to do so for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.
- Unai Emery is looking to become the first Arsenal manager to avoid defeat in his first two top-flight meetings with Manchester United since George Swindin back in 1958-59.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could become the first Manchester United manager in history to win his first two away meetings with Arsenal in all competitions, following the Red Devils’ 3-1 win at the Emirates in the FA Cup in January.