It’s poignant that this fixture has found itself being one of the final matches of the Arsene Wenger era at Arsenal. During his time in charge, the Gunners have tasted the highs of winning the title at Old Trafford, as they did with a 1-0 win in 2002, but they’ve also suffered embarrassing defeats, such as 8-2 in 2011 or 6-1 in 2001. Their record setting unbeaten league run of 49 games ended at the ground too.
When Wenger’s Arsenal were in their pomp, their matches with Manchester United were undoubtedly the biggest in the league. Yet now this is a match that barely matters to either team. United need just two points to secure Champions League qualification, and have an FA Cup final to look forward to, while Arsenal must focus their energies on their Europa League semi-final tie with Atletico Madrid.
All these factors do not make it easy for bettors to make predictions in advance of the match. However, Arsenal have been very poor on the road this season, winning just three league matches, and they’ve only won one of their nine either home or away against the rest of the big six too.
With Wenger likely to make wholesale changes to his starting XI, it should be impossible for Premier League betting fans look past a home win. We should also bear in mind that United are unbeaten in 10 home league matches against Arsenal, which is their best such run since the early 1960s. That run will end eventually, but it’s hard to see it happening this weekend.
A United win is available at 20/43 with Redbet. It looks reasonably safe to expect goals here, despite Jose Mourinho’s reputation for being cautious and conservative in big matches. That’s not a myth either; since the Portuguese manager took charge of United, they have been involved in the fewest Premier League matches where both teams scored. Only Spurs have kept more clean sheets on home turf in that period too.
The ‘both teams to score’ fact also applies when looking at matches among the top flight’s big six teams. However, six of United’s nine games in this mini-league where both teams scored have taken place at Old Trafford.
While Arsenal have struggled for goals on the road, scoring just once against a top six rival away from home this season, they’ve only had the services of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for one of those tough trips, and he will certainly play as he’s cup tied for the Europa League.
Both teams have scored in five of the last six meetings in Manchester too, so the bet in the BTTS market has to be ‘yes’. It’s priced at 5/6 with Black Type. Speaking of Aubameyang, he is undoubtedly the Gunner to watch in the goal scorer markets, as he has scored a total of 19 league goals for Arsenal and Dortmund in 2017/18.
However, only three of them have been scored away from home, and only four of them have been openers. Even so, he has to be the visitors’ best hope of a goal. Arsenal’s current number 14 can be backed at 6/1 with BetBright to break the deadlock, or he’s 19/10 to score at any time with the same firm.
One fact which will upset the travelling fans on Sunday is that the Gunners’ top scorer in away league matches this season is Alexis Sanchez, and he could easily come back to haunt them in this game.
While it’s easy to imagine that happening in the way such things do sometimes in football, the Chilean hasn’t actually had a very good season. Sanchez has only scored nine league goals in 2017/18, which is his lowest return since he moved to England.
If you think revenge will taste sweet for the former Gunner, Sanchez can be backed at 17/10 with 888sport to score at any time. As he has only opened the scoring once this season, I would avoid a first goal scorer bet here.
While goalscorer bets are always tricky to predict correctly, I would expect there to be several goals scored on Sunday. Just as Mourinho’s United haven’t featured in many games where both teams have scored, neither have they appeared in many with over 2.5 goals, but I think that will happen here.
The form is strong with Arsenal on this front, as six of their last eight matches away from home have seen at least three goals scored. Matchbook have an industry-wide best price of 8/11 for there to be over 2.5 goals, so definitely consider that for your bets this weekend.
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