Manchester United look likely to limp over the line into the top four after a disappointing run towards the end of the season but the Red Devils can pick up some much needed confidence ahead of next term with a customary win over bitter rivals Arsenal.
United have won just one of their last four league outings, losing the other three, but despite needing a late winner from Marouane Fellaini to break Crystal Palace’s resolve last time out Louis van Gaal’s men will be confident of beating Arsenal and here are five reasons why.
United’s dominance over Arsenal
The Gunners may have won at Old Trafford in the FA Cup earlier this season but Arsene Wenger has found the Red Devils a tougher nut to crack in the league, with United undefeated in the last seven meetings.
The Old Trafford club have lost just one of the last 12 and Arsenal last won a league match at Old Trafford in 2006.
United’s home form
Van Gaal’s men may have been poor on the road at times this term but Old Trafford has had more of a fortress feel about it this term than under David Moyes last year.
United have won seven of their last eight at home and earned 43 points at Old Trafford this year – only champions Chelsea can top that total with 46 points.
Arsenal’s poor record against the top four this season
With a game in hand Arsenal look extremely likely to finish as runners-up to Chelsea but Wenger’s men have struggled against the teams around them when on the road this year.
A solo victory at the Etihad is their only maximum points haul against other top nine clubs, with their record reading W1, D1, L5 this term.
Wayne Rooney has another record in his sight
Rooney has been a thorn in Arsenal’s side for many a year and while the top four is all but wrapped up for United the Red Devils captain has another personal milestone within his reach so will have plenty of motivation to down the Gunners.
Rooney needs just one more strike to equal Denis Law’s United tally of 171 goals and two more to reach third on the all-time list of United scorers.
Potential for Arsenal tiredness
The Gunners’ success of late has been largely due to Wenger knowing his strongest team. However, this knowledge could prove Arsenal’s undoing against United with the Frenchman sending out the same starting XI for five successive league matches for the first time since January 1994.
Any tired legs at Old Trafford and United will be ready to pounce.
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