Fifth-place Arsenal hosts second-place Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium in London on Jan. 22 and will be hoping for some sort of revenge for the 8-2 thrashing they took at Old Trafford earlier in the season. United need the points to try and close the gap with table-topping Manchester City and to stay ahead of Tottenham who are just two points behind them going into the weekend games.
United has 48 points on the season with 15 wins to go along with three draws and three losses. City tops the English Premier League with 51 points. Arsenal sits in fifth place as they’ve struggled this season with 11 wins, three draws and seven losses already, including their last two games to Fulham and Swansea. Arsenal got off to their worst start in 58 years this season.
The embarrassing 8-2 loss to United should motivate them, but they might not be very confident after that beating. They’ve recovered slightly and sit four points behind Chelsea going into the weekend. They need to catch their London neighbours if they hope to finish in the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League tournament.
United hasn’t been playing their best football recently, but the return of 37-year-old midfielder Paul Scholes has helped their passing game quite a bit. Scholes scored in last week’s 3-0 win over Bolton at home. United have had a long list of players miss games due to injury this season, but Phil Jones and Chris Smalling could be back in the squad. Captain Nemanja Vidic is out for the season and Ashley Young and Michael Owen are injured. Anderson will be a game-time decision, but Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverly will likely miss the game.
Thierry Henry, the top goal scorer ever with Arsenal with 227 goals is back with the club on a two-month loan from the New York Red Bulls, but the 34-year-old will have to pass a late fitness test to play. Midfielder Mikel Arteta and Jack Wilshere will likely miss the game and defender Thomas Vermaelen could also miss the match. Also, Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho are away at the African Nations Cup. Santos, Diaby, Coquelin, Jenkinson, Gibbs, and Sagna are also injured.
Arsenal has won two, drawn one and lost two of their last five games while United has won three and lost two, but they’ve won four of their last five away games. Mike Dean will be the referee and Arsenal hasn’t won with him in charge in their last 10 games with five losses and five draws. Arsenal did manage to beat United at home last year 1-0.
Henry has scored seven goals against Man United in eight games at home during his career, so if he can’t play due to his calf strain it’ll be a big loss. Wayne Rooney has six goals in his last six games against Arsenal and has also missed a penalty against them.
This should be a pretty intriguing game and United should have the horses to pull out a close win.
Sportsbook William Hill is showing the latest odds of an Arsenal win at 9/5 with a Man United victory at 7/5 and a draw at 12/5.