Toiling Arsenal to find it tough against United

Arsenal have just one win over Manchester United from the last 14 meetings

THE INTERNATIONAL break couldn’t come soon enough for Arsenal after a disastrous week in which they twice let leads slip. Cruising 3-0 up against Anderlecht at home, their defence crumbled, allowing the Belgians to level the game and leave the Gunners five points off top spot in their Champions League group.

Days later Swansea came from behind to win, meaning Arsene Wenger’s team have only four wins from their opening 11 league games.

No side has dropped more points than the nine the Gunners have from winning positions this campaign. But the visit of Manchester United tomorrow will be viewed as an opportunity to get back to winning ways against opponents decimated by injuries. Luke Shaw is the latest name to join United’s list of injured defenders that includes Jesse Lingard, Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind and Rafael, as well as regular makeshift centre-back Michael Carrick. Phil Jones and Jonny Evans are now apparently available, but will be getting thrown in at the deep end.

With Angel Di Maria picking up a knock in Argentina’s friendly with Portugal on Tuesday and Radamel Falcao short of match fitness, you could forgive Louis van Gaal for being nervous ahead of the trip to the Emirates – particularly as his men are yet to win on the road this season.

The in-form Wayne Rooney may be the team’s saving grace. The England captain’s brace against Scotland on Tuesday made it 46 goals for his country, just three off Bobby Charlton’s long-standing record. The striker needs one goal to become the leading scorer versus Arsenal in Premier League history – he currently shares the honour at 10 with Robbie Fowler.

There is enough evidence to suggest selling the host’s supremacy at 0.25 with Sporting Index. It is true United are a club in transition, but they have been beaten only once in their last six matches and that was the 1-0 defeat to Manchester City when they played with 10 men for nearly an hour.

Arsenal’s four league wins have all come against teams in the bottom seven and they’ve lost 10 and won just one of the last 14 meetings in all competitions with the Red Devils. Considering all the trials and tribulations at Old Trafford this term it’s surprising to see tomorrow’s hosts just a point clear. Van Gaal has incredibly used 37 different players in his debut season in Manchester and, although the juggling act will go on, I think his team can take at least a point in north London.

Danny Welbeck’s enthusiasm in his preferred forward role at his new club is admirable, but it’s Alexis Sanchez, with 12 goals in his last 14 Arsenal appearances, who is the danger man. If Marouane Fellaini, experiencing a new lease of life in the United midfield, can keep him quiet then his team should return up the M6 happy.

Despite their injury woes, United have conceded only one in their last three matches, and have scored just once in each of those. Arsenal have leaked five in their last two, but had kept successive clean sheets before that. A small sell of total goals at 2.85 with Sporting Index is also advised. None of the last three meetings between the pair have seen more than two.

■ Pointers…
Sell Arsenal supremacy at 0.25 with Sporting Index
Sell total goals at 2.85 with Sporting Index