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Manchester United vs Arsenal Preview

Manchester United
Flickr/ Sean Mcentee

Manchester United and Arsenal lock horns with each other at Old Trafford next Saturday in what will surely be an extremely important game for both teams. Manchester United vs Arsenal odds have The Red Devils are slight favorites due to their home advantage and can be backed at odds of 8/5, whereas the bookies have offered odds of 7/4 for an Arsenal win.

The hosts currently sit in 6th place, 6 points behind their opponents, and will be looking to claim the vital three points in order to cut the distance to the leading teams. United have been very inconsistent since the start of the season, but will be hoping to go on a winning run after the international break if they manage to beat Arsene Wenger’s side.

Arsenal, on the other hand, find themselves in a much better position to challenge for the title. The Gunners are only 2 points behind the league leaders Liverpool and a potential win at Old Trafford would cement them at the top of the table.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping to continue his fantastic record against Arsene Wenger on Saturday. The Portuguese manager has met with the Frenchman 15 times so far and has only lost once – in the Community Shield at the start of last season.

Mourinho is yet to suffer a defeat against Arsenal in a league game, but regardless of his record against the Gunners, he’ll definitely be cautious about United’s chances of clinching the three points.

The Red Devils suffered a serious dip in form after their positive start to the season, in which they collected 9 points from their opening 3 Premier League games, and have been struggling to go on a winning run ever since.

Inconsistency isn’t United’s only problem. The team has to cope with a severe injury crisis and the manager will once again be forced to start a makeshift defense.

Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling are all out of contention, which could force Mourinho to start Phil Jones in a second straight game. The 24-year-old former England international made a surprising return to United’s starting eleven at Swansea City, but his fitness will have to be managed very carefully as the game in Wales was his first start of the season.

Jones’ persistent fitness issues make him hard to rely on, but his return is a welcome boost for Mourinho given the injuries to United’s best central defenders.

The problems for United don’t end there. Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini both suffered knocks while on international duty last week and could miss the derby. This would be another major blow for Mourinho as both players did extremely well at the Liberty Stadium on November 6th.

Arsene Wenger has some injury headaches as well. Hector Bellerin, Lucas Perez, Santi Cazorla, Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck are all out of the game with injuries, whereas it’s not yet clear whether Wenger would decide to risk Alexis Sanchez against Manchester United.

The Chilean star suffered a hamstring injury last week and even though he’s been declared fit for his country’s game against Uruguay tomorrow, the former Barcelona player is unlikely to be in top physical shape.

Despite the endless injury problems, next weekend’s game will definitely be an intense spectacle, not only because of the strained relationship between Wenger and Mourinho, but also because both teams have high ambitions for the season and defeat is not an option for either side.