Arsenal v Manchester Betting Preview: Latest odds, team news, tips and predictions

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Arsenal v Man United

FA Cup: Thur, 25/01, 19:55  Stadium: Emirates Stadium

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United are an attractive 7/4 to win the tie outright on Saturday with Bet365, or alternatively can be backed at 7/2 to win and both teams to score with the same firm. For the optimists, youngster Joe Willock can be backed to be first goalscorer at 9/1 with Ladbrokes, although Marcus Rashford at 5/1 with the same firm may be the more prudent choice.

*Odds correct at time of publication.

The FA Cup fourth round kicks off on Friday with a titanic clash between the most successful clubs in the competition’s history. Record breaking thirteen times winners Arsenal take on their closest rivals in terms of success, with twelve times winners Manchester United visiting the Emirates Stadium.

United look to extend winning run under Solskjaer

With seven wins on the spin since arriving at Old Trafford, interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has quickly changed the mood at United. Whilst most of these wins have come against teams you would normally expect United to beat, a landmark 1-0 away win against Tottenham showed the interim manager can mix it against the bigger teams too. With key players such as David de Gea and Paul Pogba back in top form, and the dropping of Romelu Lukaku to the bench facilitating a change in tactics away from the direct approach favoured by Jose Mourinho, the Red Devils approach this fixture brimming with confidence.

Arsenal’s win over Chelsea a blueprint for further success

Arsenal’s superb 2-0 win last time out against Chelsea highlighted that they can mix it up with fellow top six teams, especially at home. The game was characterized by an intense pressing tactic employed by the Gunners, frequently forcing mistakes from Chelsea’s defence and midfield and ensuring a quick turnover of possession, with even the likes of David Luiz flustered into mistakes. They will look to employ the same tactic against the Red Devils to disrupt their flow, and ensure the likes of Paul Pogba do not have time and space on the ball to look up and pick out balls behind their vulnerable looking defence.

United on the other hand have more attacking variety than Chelsea, who seem dependent on passing their way out of defence via midfielder Jorginho regardless of the match situation and opposition tactics. With United’s pace in attack Arsenal will be wary if they get the press wrong it can leave huge gaps to be exploited in behind them, so it will be a fascinating battle to see if they commit in the same successful way they did against the Blues.

Strongest starting XIs…surely?

With neither side guaranteed a route back into the Champions League either via the PL or by winning the Champions or Europa League, fans will at least demand some silverware via the FA Cup route. To this extent it would be astonishing to see anything other than the strongest available XI starting for both teams.

For Arsenal, Hector Bellerin is out for the rest of the season with a serious knee injury sustained against Chelsea, and manager Unai Emery would have to think long and hard about giving Stephan Lichsteiner a start at right back. The pacy Ainsley Maitland-Niles looks the more viable option to step in and to try and counter United’s obvious tactic of playing the ball into the channels for their fast attackers to get in behind, a ploy which worked perfectly against Arsenal’s bitter rivals Tottenham the last time they were in London. Rising star Joe Willock may have been the standout player against Blackpool in the previous round, but the Gunners will surely have to revert to tried and tested rather than youngsters for this high profile clash.

United seem to have a winning formula in place and are unlikely to tinker too much with their starting lineup – the only question will be is whether they can rotate their team with a greater degree of confidence than Arsenal. With the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata patiently waiting to get an opportunity, they have considerably more depth to their squad, although manager Solskjaer may feel his potent pair of Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial can expose a serious lack of pace in Arsenal’s defence in Bellerin’s absence.

Replay possible, but nightmare scenario for both teams

This really is a game finely poised, with United’s impressive form coming into this fixture countered by the fact Arsenal have found a winning formula at home against fellow big six teams. A draw is not likely to suit either team, with the prospect of a replay and additional game to squeeze into already busy schedules possibly a nightmare scenario for both teams. Therefore expect a fairly open and entertaining game, with both teams likely to go for the win and settle the tie at the first time of asking.

United are an attractive 7/4 to win the tie outright on Saturday with Bet365, or alternatively can be backed at 7/2 to win and both teams to score with the same firm. For the optimists, youngster Joe Willock can be backed to be first goalscorer at 9/1 with Ladbrokes, although Marcus Rashford at 5/1 with the same firm may be the more prudent choice.

*Odds correct at time of publication.

 

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