It’s been nearly a decade since Arsenal last tasted victory at Old Trafford and though the Gunners go into tonight’s FA Cup quarter-final as outsiders, hope springs eternal for the FA Cup holders.
There are certainly worse times to be playing Manchester United and ahead of kick-off we’ve got five reasons to back the away side for victory over Louis van Gaal’s side.
1. Manchester United this season
Despite spending big to try and avoid another miserable David Moyes-style season at Old Trafford, the painful reality for most Manchester United fans is that the Red Devils have not been a whole lot better this season than they were under the Scot last term.
Fourth in the Premier League at present but far from impressive on the pitch, United have already suffered home defeats to both Swansea and Southampton this term and laboured past Yeovil Town and Cambridge in the FA Cup.
2. Arsenal’s form away from home
Despite some wobbles earlier in the season, the Gunners have shaped up away from home in the Premier League of late, winning four of their last five away from the Emirates in the Premier League.
The most notable of these successes came against Manchester City, with Arsenal cruising to a 2-0 victory at the Etihad in what was their first win against the Sky Blues away from home in the English top-flight since October 2010.
3. Olivier Giroud back among the goals
A goalscoring substitute in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over the Gunners at the Emirates earlier this season, Giroud has started to show he can do it against the big teams this season and was among the goals against City in that 2-0 victory back in January.
More importantly, the Frenchman has been scoring regularly for Arsenal going into this game with five in his last five for the north London club.
4. Recent encounters with the Red Devils
Much has been made of Manchester United’s dominant record over the Gunners over the past few years but recent results have been much closer than the record books suggest.
United have only won two of the last four meetings between the two teams while each of the Red Devils’ previous four victories over Arsenal have been by a single goal.
With such fine margins separating the teams, Arsenal should be optimistic about their chances when they face Van Gaal’s out-of-sorts side.
5. The new Veron vs the new Suarez
Manchester United and Arsenal both spent big on major South American imports in the summer with the Red Devils recruiting Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid and the Gunners opting for Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona.
And while United’s new acquisition has looked every bit the second coming of Juan Sebastian Veron at Old Trafford, Sanchez has showcased just why Liverpool were so keen to recruit him as a replacement for the outgoing Luis Suarez.
This fixture could provide the perfect stage to showcase their differing fortunes.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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