Mikel Arteta’s Gunners go to Old Trafford for their penultimate game of the season, with no margin for error in the Premier League title race. We look ahead to Sunday’s match with our Manchester United vs Arsenal prediction and preview.

Manchester United vs Arsenal Stats: The Quick Hits

  • Across 10,000 pre-match simulations conducted by the Opta supercomputer, Arsenal beat Manchester United in 42.8% of scenarios, losing in 29.0%.
  • Man United have lost 18 games in all competitions this season, last losing more in a single campaign when they slipped to 19 defeats in 1977-78.
  • Bukayo Saka has contributed to five Premier League goals against Man Utd, scoring three and assisting two. Only Thierry Henry, with 12, has been involved in more goals against the Red Devils for Arsenal in the competition.

Match Preview

With the Premier League title race still in Manchester City’s hands ahead of Matchday 37, Arsenal know even perfection may not be enough to end their 20-year wait to be crowned champions of England. Mikel Arteta’s side have kept City honest by winning their last four games, but Sunday’s clash with old rivals Manchester United could represent something of a banana skin, even with Erik ten Hag’s side in dismal form.

In beating North London rivals Tottenham and in-form Bournemouth in their last two matches, Arsenal have already overcome two stern tests of their credentials, but the Opta supercomputer still makes them title outsiders, with the Gunners’ hopes rated at 35.5% to Man City’s 64.5%.

Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard and Declan Rice were on target in Arsenal’s handsome 3-0 win over the Cherries last week, though the Gunners were arguably fortunate with two major decisions either side of half-time. Andoni Iraola was left incensed as Kai Havertz dangled out a leg to win the penalty for Saka’s opener, then Bournemouth saw a goal ruled out for a soft foul on David Raya at 2-0 down.

Saka’s spot-kick took him to 20 goals for the season across all competitions, making him the first English player to reach that figure for the Gunners since Theo Walcott netted 21 times in 2012-13.

He will be relishing Sunday’s trip to Old Trafford, having either scored (three times) or assisted (once) in each of his last four Premier League games against United. Overall, he has five goal involvements versus the Red Devils in the competition (three goals, two assists), with only Thierry Henry recording more against them as an Arsenal player (12).

While Saka joined team-mate William Saliba in being nominated for the Premier League’s Young Player of the Season award this week, midfield duo Rice and Martin Ødegaard are both up for the main prize.

Rice’s first Arsenal goal memorably put them ahead 96 minutes into September’s reverse fixture against United, and the former West Ham captain has proven a transformative signing for the Gunners. Far from a pure midfield destroyer, Rice has carried the ball further than any other player in the Premier League this season (7,520m), while only seven players – four of them defenders – have bettered his 147 carries progressing the ball at least 10 yards upfield.

Jurrien Timber is still awaiting his first appearance since recovering from an anterior cruciate ligament injury, while Saka will be assessed after sustaining a nasty cut to his leg last week.

Given their need for a slip-up from City, Arsenal might be wishing the season had a little longer to run. For United, the campaign cannot end quickly enough.

Their terrible second season under Ten Hag hit a new low on Monday as they were thrashed 4-0 by a Michael Olise-inspired Crystal Palace side, a result which left them eighth in the table and facing a battle to secure European qualification of any description for next season.

That chastening defeat was their 13th in the Premier League this season – their most in a league campaign since 1989-90 (16) – and their 18th across all competitions in 2023-24. They last suffered more in a single campaign in 1977-78 (19), while their overall tally of 81 goals conceded this term is their most since 1970-71 (82).

With Harry Maguire, Raphaël Varane, Victor Lindelöf and Lisandro Martínez all sidelined, Casemiro played as a makeshift centre-back alongside Jonny Evans and endured a nightmare outing. That was the 14th different centre-back partnership fielded by Ten Hag in the Premier League this season. The most common pairing – Evans and Varane – have made just six starts together.

Ten Hag is hoping to have some positive team news ahead of Sunday’s game with Martínez, as well as left-back Luke Shaw and captain Bruno Fernandes, set to be available on Sunday as he looks to salvage some pride from a dismal season. Marcus Rashford is also in contention, having returned to training after three games out.

Rashford has been involved in six goals on his last four Premier League starts against Arsenal, scoring four and assisting two. Overall, his 10 goal involvements against the Gunners (six goals, four assists) represents his best tally against a single opponent in the Premier League.

United will be hoping Rasmus Højlund can rediscover his form in front of goal this weekend. The Danish striker scored in six successive appearances for the club between January and February (seven goals) but has scored just once in nine competitive games since – the fourth goal in a 4-2 home win over relegated Sheffield United on 24 April.

Manchester United vs Arsenal Head-to-Head

Rashford opened the scoring in September’s reverse fixture, but Ødegaard, Rice and Gabriel Jesus struck to secure a 3-1 Arsenal win at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United Stats

They are now looking to complete a league double over United for the first time since 2006-07, while they could also win three straight matches against the Red Devils for the first time since achieving the feat between November 1997 and September 1998.

United, though, have lost just one of their last 16 home Premier League games against Arsenal, winning 10 and drawing five, that lone defeat coming by a 1-0 scoreline behind closed doors in November 2020.

Antony scored on his debut while Rashford netted twice in this exact fixture last season, with United ending Arsenal’s perfect start to 2022-23 with a 3-1 win in September 2022.

Arsenal have at least scored on each of their last nine Premier League visits to Old Trafford, having failed to net on 12 of their first 22.

Recent Form

Across all competitions, Manchester United have only won one of their last nine matches within 90 minutes, drawing six and losing two, including going to extra time against both Liverpool and Coventry City in the FA Cup.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have gone unbeaten through their last eight away Premier League games, winning seven and drawing one. Prior to their 3-2 North London derby win at Tottenham, they had kept six straight clean sheets on their travels.

Overall, they have managed 10 away clean sheets in the Premier League this term, last keeping more in a single top-slight campaign in 1990-91 (13).

Arsenal have lost their final away league game in three of their previous four seasons under Arteta, the exception being a 3-1 win at Crystal Palace in 2020-21. The Gunners are, however, unbeaten when facing United in their final Premier League away game (one win, two draws), securing the title with a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford in 2002.

Arteta’s side have done well to refocus following their UEFA Champions League exit to Bayern Munich on 17 April, which followed a disappointing home loss to Aston Villa just three days earlier. Four successive wins versus Wolves, Chelsea, Tottenham and Bournemouth have kept their Premier League title hopes alive.

United, meanwhile, have already lost at home to London sides Palace and Fulham in 2023-24. Only twice before have they lost at home to three capital clubs in a single Premier League campaign, with both instances featuring defeats to Arsenal (2001-02 and 2020-21).

Opta Power Rankings

The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.

Ahead of kick-off on Sunday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.

Manchester United vs Arsenal Prediction

Manchester United vs Arsenal Prediction

The Opta Supercomputer is siding with Arsenal ahead of Sunday’s game, but the chance of the Gunners dropping points is far from ruled out.

Across 10,000 pre-match simulations conducted by the supercomputer, Arsenal won 42.8% to United’s 29.0%, with 28.2% of scenarios seeing the points shared.

In our season predictions, United’s terrible run of form has made them outsiders for European qualification, with the Red Devils now finishing eighth in a league-high 57.3% of scenarios and breaking back into the top seven in 39.1%.

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