Preview: Manchester United v Arsenal

Manchester United will be determined not to lose more ground to the top four when they host an in-form Arsenal at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Saturday.

Premier League
19 November 2016
Kick-off: 20:30 HKT
Venue: Old Trafford

Referee: A. Marriner
Assistants: S. Beck, A. Garratt
Fourth official: M. Oliver

Head-to-head summary:

Manchester United 48 22 14 12
Arsenal 48 12 14 22

Previous encounter:

Manchester United 3-2 Arsenal 28/02/16 (Premier League)

Manchester United goalscorers: M. Rashford (29′, 32′), A. Herrera (65′)
Arsenal goalscorers: D. Welbeck (40′), M. Ozil (69′)

Players to watch:

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic sidelined due to suspension, United may look to up-and-coming forward Marcus Rashford to provide the cutting edge up front, while hoping that Paul Pogba can conjure some magic from midfield.

Arsenal will rely on Mesut Ozil as their creative force going forward, while hoping Theo Walcott can continue his promising start to the season.

Team form and manager quotes:

Manchester United have endured a tumultuous few games heading into this clash, winning two, losing two, and drawing one.

After a disappointing goalless draw at home against Burnley, United lost 2-1 against Fenerbahce in the Europa League, before seemingly turning things around with a 3-1 win at Swansea City.

United manager Jose Mourinho hasn’t lost a Premier League game against Arsene Wenger, but he played down that statistic, saying: “That is not important really as I don’t play against managers. It is my team that plays against the opposition and you have some records that are better than others.

“Ultimately a football match is an isolated event and has nothing to do with what happened before or what may happen. It is one match and in that moment I do not think about previous records.”

Arsenal haven’t lost since the opening weekend of the season, and come into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, following wins against Reading, Sunderland, and Ludogorets.

Wenger believes a positive result at Old Trafford could give his team the necessary confidence to push on as they target the top of the table.

“This game will be watched all over the world and what’s important is that the quality of the game is good. That is down to the player on the pitch,” he said.

“A win would strengthen belief. Some wins have been decisive for us at Old Trafford but this would only be a strengthening of our position in the league.”

When asked about his rivalry with Jose Mourinho, Wenger added: “I do not make it a competition between two managers. It is between the two teams. It is Arsenal against Man United. We have won and lost games on both sides. You do not play against a manager, you play against a team and you analyse their strengths and weaknesses.”

Team news:

The hosts are set to miss Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, and Eric Bailly, while Ibrahimovic is unavailable due to suspension. Wayne Rooney could, however, be fit in time for the clash

Arsenal will be without Hector Bellerin, Santi Cazorla, Chuba Akpom, Lucas Perez, Danny Welbeck, and Per Mertesacker, while Alexis Sanchez is a doubt.

Speaking about Sanchez’s fitness, Wenger said: “We will see if he can be involved or not. I will consider the risk of injury because he has played while recovering from a hamstring injury. We were in doubt 24 hours before the game. We didn’t know if he’d play or not. I will consider the way he feels as well.”