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Preview: Manchester United vs. Arsenal - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League encounter between Manchester United and Arsenal, including team news and predicted lineups.

Manchester United and Arsenal lock horns in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon with both clubs sitting in the bottom half of the standings.

After three defeats in half-a-dozen outings, the Gunners sit in 11th spot, while United are only in 15th place after claiming seven points from their opening five fixtures.


Match preview

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pictured on August 16, 2020© Reuters

After United were outclassed on every level by Tottenham Hotspur before the October international break, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found himself having to fight for his position at Old Trafford ahead of a set of difficult fixtures.

While many observers expected United to succumb tamely to the likes of Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and RB Leipzig, the 6-1 demolition at the hands of Spurs has only acted as the catalyst for an unforeseen unbeaten streak.

Since the late flurry of goals at Newcastle United, United have collected maximum points from their two Champions League games, as well as earning a share of the spoils at home to Chelsea on the domestic scene.

Although Solskjaer and his squad would have been relatively content with the goalless draw against the Blues, the manner of their 5-0 triumph over Leipzig has naturally led to a change in expectations.

United have scored 11 times for the loss of just two goals since the middle of the month, leaving them high in belief ahead of a fixture which will be regarded as a must-win if they are to make quick headway up the standings.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring against RB Leipzig in the Champions League on October 28, 2020© Reuters

Seemingly aided by the leadership skills which he has been displaying off the pitch, Marcus Rashford is beginning to show more of a ruthless streak in front of goal.

Five strikes and two assists have come from his last 297 minutes of action, a run which has contributed to keeping Edinson Cavani among the United substitutes for the time being.

There have recently been calls for the Uruguay star to be drafted straight into the first XI, but the reemergence of Rashford as a frontline striker is allowing the veteran to get up to speed at his own pace.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was hoping for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to showcase the same kind of firepower in front of goal, especially with the Gabon international having been rewarded for his previous form with a lucrative new deal.

Unlike Rashford, however, Aubameyang has looked a shadow of the player who ended last season as one of the best attackers in Europe, highlighting the reliance which had been placed on his shoulders.

With his only goal in his last six appearances coming against Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, Arteta will hope that the 31-year-old can benefit from not being required against Dundalk in the Europa League.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta pictured on September 19, 2020© Reuters

A largely second-string side initially showed signs of being frustrated by their Irish opponents before scoring their three goals either side of the break.

Although few players enhanced their chances of being selected at the weekend, it felt important for some of the fringe players to get minutes under their belts when Arteta will want as many options as possible for the Premier League.

Only Alexandre Lacazette has scored more than once in the top flight this season, while lapses in concentration at the back have left Arsenal without a clean sheet since the opening weekend of the campaign.

In Arsenal's defence, they have already made trips to Liverpool and Manchester City, meaning that visits to three of the big six will be out of the way by the end of the week.

Most supporters would feel content if a point can be secured at The Theatre of Dreams, even if it means a longer spell being spent around the mid-table positions.

However, recording maximum points would catapult the club back into the mix at the top when many of their rivals have to take on a tougher run of fixtures during the winter months.

Manchester United Premier League form: LWLWD
Manchester United form (all competitions): WLWWDW

Arsenal Premier League form: WWLWLL
Arsenal form (all competitions): DWLWLW



Team News

Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette pictured on August 1, 2020© Reuters

Arteta may be prepared to drop one of Aubameyang or Lacazette now that Willian is back in contention after injury.

With Bukayo Saka having also shaken off a recent knock, the youngster could feature down the left, allowing Aubameyang to play down the middle.

David Luiz is likely to miss out for the Gunners through injury, increasing the chances of Arteta deploying a back four.

Anthony Martial remains absent for United as he serves the final game of his three-match ban, while Alex Telles will miss a number of fixtures after a positive coronavirus test.

Solskjaer is expected to stick with the diamond formation which worked so well against Leipzig, leaving Mason Greenwood in line to partner Rashford in attack.

Nemanja Matic and Donny van de Beek will likely be the two players to miss out in the centre of the pitch.

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay, Pogba; Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford

Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Leno; Bellerin, Mustafi, Gabriel, Tierney; Ceballos, Thomas, Xhaka; Willian, Aubameyang, Saka


Head To Head

Sunday's encounter represents the 233rd competitive meeting between these two sides, with United bidding to record their 100th victory over the Gunners.

The Gunners are not too far behind with 84 wins to their name, while only 49 draws have been played out between two of English football's most decorated clubs.

Although United have not prevailed in any of the three most recent contests, they are unbeaten in their last half-a-dozen home encounters against the North Londoners.

Nevertheless, two-and-a-half years have passed since United got the better of Arsenal in a Premier League fixture.


SM words green background

We say: Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal

A week ago, we would have predicted that the Gunners were in good shape to claim a hard-fought point at Old Trafford. However, United's performance against RB Leipzig means that the pendulum is now swinging in their favour, and we expect the home side to sweep past opposition who are struggling for consistency.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data


Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


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Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Manchester United and Arsenal?

Manchester United
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Draw
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Arsenal
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Arsenal winger Reiss Nelson in September 2019.
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Mikel Arteta: 'Reiss Nelson did not want to leave Arsenal on loan'
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Tottenham HotspurSpurs106312191221
2Liverpool106312217521
3Chelsea1054122101219
4Leicester CityLeicester106041914518
5West Ham UnitedWest Ham105231711617
6Southampton105231916317
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves105231111017
8Everton105141917216
9Manchester UnitedMan Utd95131616016
10Aston Villa95042013715
11Manchester CityMan City94321511415
12Leeds UnitedLeeds104241517-214
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle104241215-314
14Arsenal104151012-213
15Crystal Palace104151215-313
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton102441416-210
17Fulham102171119-87
18West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom10136718-116
19Burnley9126417-135
20Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd10019416-121

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