After the embarrassment of their 1-0 Europa League away loss to BATE Borisov, Arsenal responded with three wins and a draw, scoring 11 goals in the process and conceding just two.
However they then stumbled in the Europa League once again on Thursday. A 3-1 defeat to Rennes is far from ideal preparation for the visit of Manchester United.
The return of Sokratis to the defence and inspired form from their keeper, Leno, have played their part in their recent success and, just basing it on that recent league form, ought to approach Sunday’s match with confidence.
Following United’s extraordinary 3-1 Champions League win against PSG in Paris to overturn a 2-0 home deficit, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær record as manager improved to 14 wins, two draws and one defeat.
Man Utd are playing like the Man Utd of old – with confidence and with pace. It is quite a turnaround from the dreariness that had seeped in under the reign of Jose Mourinho. To be fair, this had begun before Mourinho arrived, but he was unable to arrest it.
No matter, that is history now and United, who are fourth in the table on 58 points, can move four points clear of Arsenal with a win. Arsenal have 57 points; both teams have played 29 games.
Both teams played midweek European Cup games. United will be glad of an extra day’s rest over their opponents, who played in France on Thursday; United gave a more-high energy performance than Arsenal had to in their game, which must count for something, particularly given their mounting injury problems.
United have shown themselves to be tactically astute under Solskjaer. They can play a game of containment, largely away from home, or they can be very fluid and expressive. There is a lot of pace and attacking confidence in the side, with Romelu Lukaku’s grasping of his recent opportunity to get back into the side a good example of the latter.
Six goals in his last three starts for United make Lukaku likely to start against Arsenal, regardless of the injury situation. It is the first time in his career that he has scored more than one goal in a match in three-successive games.
With Sokratis and Leno playing well (as mentioned earlier), Torreira adding balance and bite to midfield and Mkhitaryan, a former United player, hitting a good spell of form, suddenly things look a lot better than they did on February 21st.
Also, with Lacazette, Aubameyang and, from midfield, Ramsey, in the side, they will always pose a goal threat.
— Premier League (@premierleague) March 8, 2019
Danny Welbeck (ankle), Rob Holding (knee) and Hector Bellerin (knee) are still recovering following surgery so will miss out.
Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera all have hamstring injuries and Nemanja Matić has a muscle injury. Alexis Sanchez has picked up a knee injury, Matteo Darmian has now missed the last ten games and Antonio Valencia has a calf injury. All of these will be unavailable for the Arsenal match.
Anthony Martial has a groin injury and is being monitored.
Paul Pogba was suspended for the PSG match but will be fine for Sunday’s game. He has scored nine goals in 15 starts since the new manager arrived.
Despite their long injury list, United have developed a winning mentality and somehow find a way to win.
In only two of the last 17 meetings between these sides (15 in the league, two in the FA Cup) has one of the sides failed to score and only once has the match finished 0-0. Both teams to score is on offer with us at 11/20.
Of those 17 games, seven have been league games at Arsenal’s ground, with the scores (most-recent first) being 1-3, 2-0, 3-0, 1-2, 0-0, 1-1 and 1-2, so four of the seven have produced over 2.5 goals (on offer with us at 13/20).
Both teams to score and over 2.5 goals in the match looks a decent option at 4/5.
Given the form he is in, Romelu Lukaku to score the first goal at 11/2 is a decent price. It is a ‘Double The Odds On First Goalscorer Bets’ match with us.
He is 7/4 to score at anytime in the game, which is also worth considering.
A suggested score is 2-1 to United, which is on offer with us at 9/1.