Competition: FA Cup Quarter-Final – Manchester United vs Arsenal
Venue: Old Trafford – Monday 9th March – 19:45 GMT (14:45 ET)
Match Odds: Man United 7/5 – Draw 5/2 – Arsenal 19/10
Arsenal travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United in the final FA Cup quarter-final tie of the weekend on Monday night. With both sides fighting for a top four spot in the league, this tie acts as a happy distraction.
We’re expecting both Louis Van Gaal and Arsene Wenger to deploy full-strength sides as they both pursue the trophy. But both will be wary that any cup run must not affect their league form with just 10 games left.
Manchester United are the favorites heading into this one having won their last six meetings with Arsenal at Old Trafford in all competitions.Embed from Getty Images
With United not playing in Europe this season there really is no excuse for them finishing outside the top four. And with the size of the club, United should be challenging on all fronts.
This is the furthest the Red Devils have got in the FA Cup for four seasons and both sides know that a place at Wembley is in line for whoever can advance to the semi-finals.
But with the injury to Robin Van Persie, are United strong enough to beat an Arsenal side that has won ten of their last twelve in all competitions?
Holders Arsenal will see this as a free hit. With a poor record at Old Trafford over the years (including an 8-2 drubbing in 2011), Arsenal are the underdogs in this tie.
Arsenal haven’t beaten Manchester United since May 2011, and will do well to break that run on Monday night in what will be a tough game, though a draw would earn the Gunners a replay at the Emirates.
Both sides boast some great attacking players, but can both be fragile defensively, so we’re expecting goals.
This will be the fourteenth FA Cup meeting between the two sides but Manchester United have dominated the most recent ties, winning the last two at Old Trafford without conceding a goal.
Manchester United: Luke Shaw (hamstring) and Robin Van Persie (ankle) are ruled out. Jonny Evans starts his six-match suspension so Phil Jones is likely to fill in at centre-back alongside Chris Smalling. Wayne Rooney is likely to continue playing as a striker in the absence of Van Persie.
Arsenal: Jack Wilshere (ankle), Mikel Arteta (ankle), Mathieu Flamini (hamstring), Mathieu Debuchy (shoulder) and Abou Diaby (calf) are all out. Gabriel Paulista (hamstring) is a doubt while Wojciech Szczesny and Nacho Monreal will face late fitness tests.Aaron Ramsey could return to the starting lineup while Olivier Giroud is set to play as the lone striker once again.
Manchester United’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/W/W
Arsenal’s last five in all competitions: W/W/L/W/W
Key Stat: Arsenal haven’t beaten Manchester United in the FA Cup in normal time since February 2003.
Key Player: Santi Cazorla – Since being deployed in a more central role, Cazorla has been sensational. Expect him to be key on Monday night.
Manchester United 3-2 Arsenal – We’re expecting a high scoring affair and an instant classic that could set the tone for both teams going into the final stretch of the season. Home advantage should see United edge it.