This used to be the game on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but it would be fair to say that Saturday evening’s clash between Arsenal and Manchester United holds slightly less significance than it once did. Neither team is regarded as a serious title contender, with Arsenal approaching the game in 6th while United are one place lower in 7th.
There were periods last season where Arsenal almost looked like serious title contenders, but the same certainly cannot be said through the 2014/15 campaign. In fact, this has been one of the club’s most disappointing in years and from the first whistle they have struggled to get any sort of momentum going. Their form is blighted with inconsistencies and the fact that they lost to Swansea, immediately after throwing a 3-0 lead in the Champions League against Anderlecht, suggests that they will be hard-pushed to qualify for the top European competition next year. On a more positive note, the Gunners have not lost at home in the league this year, but that will be little consolation considering the lowly position they find themselves in by their own standards.
Little needs to be said about Manchester United’s predicament meanwhile; everyone knows the struggles that they and Louis Van Gaal has faced this term. They may have spent hundreds of millions of pounds in the transfer market, but just like their opponents they just can’t conjure up any sort of consistency. While they have played the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea over the last few weeks, the fact that they have won just one of their last four is hardly inpiring from a team who used to be feared. Just like Arsenal, they will instead be praying for Champions League qualification this term – which is at least attainable considering the fact they trail 4th place by just two points.
Arsenal have received a huge boost this week with the news that Olivier Giroud’s has made a premature return from his broken leg and will be in the squad this Saturday. There’s more good news in relation to Mikel Arteta who should play after a hamstring problem, although injuries look set to prevent Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott from featuring. Manchester United approach the clash with several problems with Daley Blind and Radamel Falcao the most high-profile absentees. There are also doubts over Luke Shaw and Michael Carrick, but Angel di Maria and David De Gea should feature after early scares.
In terms of a prediction, we think both of these teams will cancel each other out. One could argue that Manchester United are stronger on paper, but armed with the home advantage we believe Arsenal have it in them to net a draw – 1-1.