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Arsenal vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Arsenal

Arsenal vs Manchester United: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction

Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho are far from the best of friends and the Frenchman has never beaten his counterpart, which adds an extra dimension to one of the Premier League’s most intense competitive rivals.

On few occasions though has it been the case that both sides are fighting to keep their hopes of European football alive, as both sides battle to retain any hope of a top four finish offering them Champions League football, though both look set to be forced to settle for a place in the top six instead.

A draw will do neither side any favours, but neither side can afford to drop points either.

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Arsenal had seemed to regain their form, with three consecutive wins, including an FA Cup semi-final victory over Manchester City getting confidence flowing through the squad once again.

However, their humiliation on their last visit to White Hart Lane last weekend demolished any progress that was made and will mean that a number of heads will be down going into this clash at the Emirates, even though they are on a run of four games unbeaten at home.

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Manchester United’s record breaking run of 25 games unbeaten in the Premier League could be extended at the Emirates and may even end their run of draws after being forced to share a point in both of their last two outings, against Manchester City and Swansea.

Following on from Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Celta Vigo, one eye may be distracted on their European competition as they seek to secure a path to the final in the second leg.

Likely Line-Ups

Granit Xhaka’s absence will open the door for Francis Coquelin to return to midfield with Arsene Wenger likely to stick with his 3-4-2-1 formation despite a disappointing result against Tottenham last weekend using the same formation and system.

Predicting Jose Mourinho’s team could be anybody’s guess. The manager has said he could rest a number of key first team players as he looks to secure a place in the Europa League final, which may mean that Eric Bailly and Paul Pogba could be rested as they manage injuries, with Chris Smalling potentially making a return.

Team News

Arsene Wenger has officially ruled midfielder Granit Xhaka out of contention with an ankle injury, whilst Shkodran Mustafi is also not expected to make a return to first team action for another week at least, despite having resumed training individually.

David Ospina could make the bench again after his return last weekend, but Lucas Perez remains too far away from taking up a place on the bench. Santi Cazorla has been ruled out for the season.

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Eric Bailly should be fit enough to feature having returned in midweek against Celta Vigo, with that also likely to apply for Paul Pogba.

Juan Mata should also be available after his comeback, but it is unclear whether or not Chris Smalling will be available from the start after he took up a place on the substitutes bench on Thursday.

Phil Jones could also return to the 18 man squad. Marouane Fellaini will serve the next game of his suspension for a red card against Manchester City, with Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic out until 2018.

Match Prediction: Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United

United could rest a number of key figures with their Europa League second leg next Thursday clearly the priority, but Arsenal’s mental fragility has cost them up against big challenges so far this season.

United will be desperate not to surrender their unbeaten streak and need points to secure a top four finish, so they may look to eek out a draw.

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Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

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