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Manchester United vs Arsenal – Preview, team news, key players and prediction

by Sam Peoples

Manchester United welcome Arsenal at Old Trafford for their FA Cup quarter-final encounter, a fixture which historically has provided plenty of fireworks.

This is a very important fixture for both sets of teams and their managers. A win for either side would go a long way in kick-starting their run-in to the season and, of course, there is an FA Cup semi-final on the line.

For United, it marks the beginning of a gruelling set of fixtures which includes an away trip to Anfield and a home tie against Tottenham Hotspur within a couple of weeks.

Team news

Jonny Evans is unavailable thanks to his six game suspension, Robin van Persie will miss the game through injury but Luke Shaw and Michael Carrick are both back in contention to start having trained with the first-team this week.

As for Arsenal, their new boy Gabriel has been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury while a host of others including Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere, Mikael Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy are all sidelined as well.

Key players

Wayne Rooney has returned up front for Man United and has scored three in his last four games so comes into the Arsenal tie in some good form. With van Persie still out and Radamel Falcao rusty, Rooney’s threat in front of goal will be crucial for United on the night.

As was the case at the Emirates earlier this season, David De Gea will be incredibly important. Arsenal will create chances and he’ll have to be on top form to keep a clean sheet, something only an Olivier Giroud wonder strike took away from him at the Emirates.

Speaking of the Frenchman, Giroud has been something of a revelation over the past ten games or so, and also in the FA Cup. He has scored seven goals and assisted four for the Gunners in 11 appearances in the FA Cup. His height in the box and heading abilities could cause problems for Man United at the back as has been the case all season.

Mesut Ozil and Francis Coquelin have also been very bright for Arsenal recently so United’s midfield will have to be alive to the danger.

Prediction

A very hard one to predict but given that Man United are playing at home, they should be confident. For the first time in history, United could have more possession against Arsenal but it is about how the players can turn that possession into chances. We think they will.

Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal

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