Confident United Dare Arsenal at Emirates


Demola Ojo

Coming off a simply outstanding 3-1 away victory over PSG in the Champions League midweek to qualify for the quarter finals, Manchester United resume Premier League duties and the battle for a top-four place as they visit Arsenal who, incidentally, are also in the race to finish fourth.

United’s absentee list has eased ahead of today’s clash with Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera all set to return.

Still unbeaten domestically under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, United head to the Emirates Stadium – a ground where they beat the Gunners 3-1 in the FA Cup in January – with their injury list decreasing.

Paul Pogba is available after serving a European suspension in Paris in midweek, Martial has recovered from a groin injury, while Herrera and Matic are pushing for a start.

“Eric (Bailly) is fine,” Solskjaer said of the defender he substituted after 36 minutes against PSG.

“Anthony will be available and hopefully we’ll have Nemanja and/or Ander ready as well.

“We’re looking better for it. They just need to have another couple of days training with the team. They’ve done well with their recovery work.”

As the battle for a place in the top-four heats up, Sokratis Papastathopoulos feels the hosts can get the right result this time around and is not worried by United’s emphatic victory in Paris.

Asked if the PSG result will make today a more difficult task, Sokratis replied: “No. We play in our home.

“We know what we can do. We will play with confidence and everything will be good. It is a game that we know is very important for us but we will be ready.

“Of course we watched (the PSG match). Everybody watched. But we will be ready, everybody is thinking about Sunday’s game already and we will give 100 per cent.”

Arsenal will be without suspended midfielder Lucas Torreira for today’s clash.

The Uruguay international was sent off in last weekend’s draw at Tottenham and is banned for the next three league games.

Alexandre Lacazette is available having missed the Europa League defeat in Rennes through suspension, with long-term injury absentees Danny Welbeck (ankle), Rob Holding and Hector Bellerin (both knee) still missing.

While Matic and Herrera could return for United, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian remain unavailable.

Arsenal have won two of their last three Premier League home games against Manchester United (L1), as many as they had in their previous eight against them (W2 D3 L3).

Manchester United haven’t won back-to-back away league games against Arsenal since a run of three between 1983-84 and 1985-86. This was also the last time the Red Devils won three in a row at the Gunners in all competitions.

Arsenal have only lost twice at home against an opponent in a season on two occasions – against Nottingham Forest in 1987-88 and Aston Villa in 1993-94.

Only Man City (42) have won more points in Premier League home games than Arsenal this season (38). Meanwhile, only Spurs (33) and Liverpool (32) have won more away points than Manchester United (29).

Arsenal have won their last eight Premier League home games. They last won nine in a row within the same season at the Emirates back in 2014-15.

Manchester United are on the current longest unbeaten run in the Premier League (12 games – W10 D2). They’ve won their last six away games in the competition, last winning seven in a row on the road between April-August 1993.

Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba has missed three Premier League penalties this season – no player has ever missed four in a season; two of the previous eight to do so also did it for Man Utd – Teddy Sheringham in 1997-98 and Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003-04.

Alexandre Lacazette is looking to become only the second Arsenal player to score in six consecutive home Premier League games, after Thierry Henry who did so twice (6 in August 2000, 7 in October 2004). Lacazette would be the first player to do so for the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.

Unai Emery is looking to become the first Arsenal manager to avoid defeat in his first two top-flight meetings with Manchester United since George Swindin back in 1958-59.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could become the first Manchester United manager in history to win his first two away meetings with Arsenal in all competitions, following the Red Devils’ 3-1 win at the Emirates in the FA Cup in January.