Arsene Wenger will be visiting Old Trafford as the coach of Arsenal for the final time, this will mark the end of an era filled with intense and intriguing coaching rivalry, over the years Wenger has rivalled different United coaches, but the biggest of those rivalries is arguably the one between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Fergusson.
The curtain is gradually drawing to a close in Wenger’s Arsenal coaching career and Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United will welcome the visit of Wenger’s Arsenal in a Premier League match for a final time on Sunday at Old Trafford.
It’s almost certain that Arsenal will likely play with a heavily rotated squad, Wenger would love to rest key players ahead of the all-important second-leg Europa League semi-final clash with Atletico Madrid next week.
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Alexis Sanchez will be facing his former club having left the Gunners in January. The Chilean has not been convincing in the colours of United during the early stages of his Red Devil career, although his displays against Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup semi-final reminded us a bit of what the magical Chilean is capable of on his day.
Manchester United is hoping to come back from a shock defeat at the hands of West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford, the defeat meant that Manchester City became the Premier League Champions with five games to spare. Another defeat on Sunday to Arsenal will be the first time United will suffer back to back home defeats since March 2014 when David Moyes was at the helm of affairs.
The Gunners have not beaten United in their last 10 meetings at Old Trafford, Manchester United have won seven and drawn three of those games. David de Gea has been instrumental in the success of United this season, the Spaniard made 14 saves when the Red Devil’s defeated Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates earlier in the season.
The Europa League second leg semi-final clash against Atletico has somewhat taken a bit of the shine off Wenger’s last game at Old Trafford with the Gunners. Playing Champions League football next season is so important to the Gunners and winning the Europa League is the only way to accomplish that dream.
So we can’t really fault Arsenal if all their attention is focused on Europa glory with little significance given to the match at Old Trafford. The Atletico game is a huge one for the Gunners and their task was made more difficult when they carelessly threw away a one-goal advantage by allowing Antoinne Griezmann score a late equaliser.
Ecuadorian defender Antonio Valencia is fit again and may start for United despite picking up a muscle problem against Spurs in the FA Cup last weekend.
Romelu Lukaku is expected to lead the line, with Jesse Lingard and Sanchez playing just behind the big Belgian and providing creative spark required to break the opponent’s defence. Mourinho may decide to continue with the midfield trio of Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic.
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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will certainly return in attack for the Gunners, he didn’t play in the Europa League because he is Cup-tied, Lacazette will likely be rested in this match ahead of the Europa League clash on Thursday.
Youngsters like Joe Willock, Alex Iwobi and Reiss Nelson could be given starting berth by Wenger, while first-team regulars like Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere may be rested.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Santi Carzola are still out injured and will not be part of the game at Old Trafford.
Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Valencia, Smalling, Jones, Young; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Sanchez, Lingard, Lukaku
Arsenal possible starting lineup:
Cech; Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac; Willock, Xhaka; Welbeck, Iwobi, Nelson; Aubameyang
Manchester United will be aiming to cement their second spot on the league with a win against the Gunners and with Arsenal’s focus arguably somewhere else, it is quite difficult to look beyond a United win here. The Gunners have lost nine Premier League matches away from home this season already and have a disappointing 57 points with four matches to play. Arsenal playing with a weakened team and coupled with their poor away record this season, we are predicting a 3-0 home win for Manchester United.