Manchester United turned in perhaps their best performance of the 2017-18 season last time out to overcome Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley and reach the FA Cup final, and they will be looking to replicate that form on Sunday against Arsenal and wrap up a spot in the Champions League for next term.
United are just two points away from securing a minimum of fourth place in the Premier League, and Jose Mourinho has made it clear that is his first target even if finishing in second is the club’s ultimate aim before facing Chelsea in the cup final on May 19.
The attention at Old Trafford on Sunday will fall squarely on Arsene Wenger as he comes face-to-face with old nemeses in United and Mourinho for the final time as Arsenal manager, but there is also the sub-plot of Alexis Sanchez’s first clash against the Gunners since leaving the Emirates Stadium in January.
Man Utd injuries
Other than the continued absence of Sergio Romero with a knee injury, United should be heading into Sunday’s game with a clean bill of health. Antonio Valencia did leave the field early at Wembley due to a muscle problem, but he is expected to be available to start against Arsenal.
Man Utd Suspensions
Neither United nor Arsenal have any suspension issues and that extends as far as having no players on the verge of a ban thanks to the FA’s latest amnesty. Between now and the end of the season, only those players in the Premier League who have collected 15 yellow cards in domestic competition will face having to sit out any matches.
Man Utd Potential Starting Line-Up
Mourinho may well decide to go with an unchanged side as he looks to get Champions League qualification secured at the earliest opportunity, especially given how well his side played in the victory over Tottenham.
However, there will be the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial, Marouane Fellaini, Luke Shaw, Eric Bailly, Marcos Rojo and Victor Lindelof all hoping to be considered for call-ups after missing last week’s win at Wembley.
With trips to Brighton and West Ham to come, followed by a final league fixture at home to Watford, the United boss will need to decide how he can make the most of his squad while keeping the momentum up before the Reds head back to the national stadium in three weeks’ time.
Arsenal Team News
Of course the main news for Arsenal is on the bench, where Wenger will be overseeing his 60th and final game against United in his 22-year spell as the Gunners’ manager.
The Frenchman’s status has stolen the attention in a season which has seen Arsenal massively underachieve despite the additions of the likes of Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and, of course, Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mkhitaryan’s return to Old Trafford just three months after leaving United will catch the attention for sure, even if for the second season running he is part of a side looking to throw all of their energy into the Europa League for the closing weeks of the campaign.
TV Channel & Kick-off time
The match at Old Trafford kicks off at 16:30 GMT on Sunday, with live coverage available in the UK on Sky Sports Premier League and Sky Sports Main Event beginning at 16:15.
Best Opta Match facts
- Manchester United are unbeaten in 10 home league matches against Arsenal (W7 D3), their longest run since March 1961 (17 games).
- In all competitions, Arsenal have lost 13 of their last 18 away visits to Old Trafford (W2 D3), although only one of those defeats has been in the last four visits (W1 D2).
- This will be the 19th meeting between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger in all competitions – Mourinho didn’t lose any of the first 13 (W6 D7) but has lost two of the last five (W2 D1). However, he’s never lost at home against Wenger in seven matches (W4 D3).
- 67% of the Red Devils’ Premier League defeats this season have been in matches played on a Sunday (4/6), including both of their losses at Old Trafford (vs Man City and West Brom).
- The Gunners have already lost nine Premier League away games this season – they last reached double figures for away defeats in a 38-game season back in 1989-90 (10).
- Indeed, Arsenal have lost their last five on the road in the Premier League – they’ve not lost six in a row in the top-flight since a run of seven in January 1966.
- After drawing their last three Premier League games in 2017, none of Man Utd’s 13 in 2018 have finished level (W10 L3), winning six of the last seven.
- This will be Arsene Wenger’s last visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager – he lost his first ever match with the Gunners at the ground (0-1 in November 1996) while it was also the venue of his joint-heaviest league defeat at Arsenal (2-8 in August 2011).
- Alexis Sanchez could become the first player to score both for and against the same team in the same Premier League season since Wilfried Bony in 2014-15 (who scored for and against both Swansea and Man City).