Once upon a time, this was the must-see fixture of the campaign. Both of these sides were the heavyweights of the top flight and this was the ultimate title showdown. However, while Arsenal desperately require points to continue their push for the Championship, Manchester United’s campaign is going from bad to worse and a 4th place finish already looks exceedingly unlikely.
Nevertheless, United will travel to the Emirates Stadium to play a side who might be licking their wounds. Arsene Wenger’s side may have been the division’s leaders for much of the campaign, but they were absolutely outclassed in their last encounter as they went down 5-1 to Liverpool. It was further evidence that the Gunners are not genuine title contenders, although Chelsea’s failure to capture three points on Tuesday means that Arsenal will return to the top if they win this match. Whether or not they will bounce back will certainly be interesting, with the club accumulating just one top flight win in their last three games. However, they have won their last five games at home, and not lost at the Emirates Stadium since the opening day of the season.
Manchester United meanwhile were dealt another cruel blow last weekend, with a late Fulham goal preventing them from collecting a crucial three points. The Red Devils now sit in 7th place, nine points away from 4th position, meaning that their Champions League hopes certainly hang in the balance. David Moyes seems to be losing a lot of support from the terraces and judging on their current form, it’s really no surprise. United are in the middle of one of their worst runs in years and having won just three of their nine games in 2014, they really need to spark an improvement if only to relieve some pressure from the shoulders of Moyes.
As for team news, Arsenal are particularly low on the ground in midfield with the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Kim Kallstrom, Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott all on the treatment table, while suspension will keep out Mathieu Flamini. There’s just one positive piece of news for Arsene Wenger, with Yaya Sanogo back in the reckoning following a long-term back injury layoff. Manchester United aren’t without their concerns either though, with David Moyes struggling at the back as Johnny Evans and Phil Jones miss out through calf problems. Elsewhere, another absentee is Marouane Fellaini who is out with a groin injury.
In terms of a prediction, we think that this could prove to be a frustrating draw. It’s a result that neither side will really want but with both having injury concerns, and the pressure starting to mount, our tip is going to be a 1-1 scoreline this Wednesday.