Will Wenger be haunted by his nemesis yet again ?
Arsène Wenger and José Mourinho have locked horns in 13 competitive games and the Frenchman is yet to taste victory, a quite astonishing record for the longest serving manager across Europe’s big 5 leagues.
The frustration has clearly got to Wenger and the pair have come close to blows on more than one occasion. Mourinho is likely to do his utmost to wind up his adversary ahead of an intriguing showdown at Old Trafford on Saturday, when Manchester United entertain Arsenal.
Goal projections – Man Utd 1.30 Arsenal 1.28
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Team news & predicted starting line-ups for Man Utd v Arsenal
Mourinho will have to decide how he intends to go about replacing star striker Zlatan Ibrahimović, who is ruled out after accumulating 5 yellow cards. The big Swede has 6 Premier League goals to his name and has attempted more shots than any other player this season.
United’s Portuguese manager will also have some serious decisions to make about who lines up in defence, following the stinging criticism he leveled at some of his personnel, in the aftermath of the Red Devils’ 3-1 victory at Swansea City.
Wenger has his own injury problems to contend with and faces an anxious wait, to see what sort of condition Alexis Sánchez returns in, following his escapades with the Chile national side.
Man Utd fantasy player to watch
Marcus Rashford could be deployed as the number 9 in Ibrahimović’s absence, having played almost exclusively on the flanks under Mourinho so far.
The young forward turned 19 at the end of October and will see this as a good opportunity to build on the 3 Premier League goals he has accrued so far this season.
Man Utd team news
Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling are ruled out, so Phil Jones is expected to retain his starting spot.
Wayne Rooney, Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini are all battling to be fit for this one but the game is likely to come too soon for Antonio Valencia, who continues his recovery, following his broken arm.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is one of a number of star players that continues to be overlooked by his respective club manager, as highlighted in a recent WhoScored article, so it remains to be seen if the Armenian international will see any game time against the Gunners.
Predicted starting line-up for Man Utd
Arsenal fantasy player to watch
Theo Walcott has 5 Premier League goals to his name already, equaling the tally that he has achieved in each of the last 3 seasons.
He’s a player that often flatters to deceive but he is showing glimpses of his 2012/13 form, when his 14 goals and 12 assists made him a ‘must-have’ fantasy pick.
Arsenal team news
Wenger will be without Danny Welbeck, Per Mertesacker and Lucas Pérez, while the game might come too soon for Santi Cazorla, who has been troubled by an Achilles injury. Right-back Héctor Bellerín is also a major doubt ahead of the Old Trafford test.
Sánchez scored a brace for the national side against Uruguay, allaying injury fears but Olivier Giroud could lead the line for the Gunners, if Wenger decides to start with the Chilean on the bench.
Predicted starting line-up for Arsenal
Will Mourinho heap more misery on Wenger to get Manchester United’s Premier League campaign back on track or will the Arsenal manager finally record a competitive victory against his nemesis?