With the Premier League title sewn up by Chelsea and two of the three relegation spots already filled, attention this week turns to the top four. Although those in the Champions League spots are all but assured of their spots all that is left to decide is the order in which they finish.
The big game this weekend sees the third clash of the season between English heavyweights Manchester United and Arsenal. This one is almost a straight playoff for third place, if Arsene Wenger’s men can win, it all but assures them third and leaves them in the hunt to finish second.
In the previous two meetings this term, both sides have won one game 2-1; Manchester United came out on top in the league at The Emirates in November, whilst the Gunners were victorious in the FA Cup. Both sides have been extremely well matched, both in the league and in their recent clashes.
Both sides seem to have come off the pace in the last few weeks, Arsenal were beaten at home by Swansea last time out; whilst United have lost three out of the last four. With United and Arsenal both having only scored twice in the last four games, this promises to be a tight encounter.
Both games so far between the two have had three goals, but this promises to be a tense, tight affair and the two sides injuries could lead to a low scoring game.
Back under 2.5 goals @ evens
Looking at the match prices both teams are close in the market with Man United marginal favourites. Although Wenger’s men came out on top at Old Trafford earlier in the year, that was an anomaly for this fixture in recent times. The Gunners have a horrible record at Manchester United, winning only once in the last 12 encounters and it is nearly ten years since Arsenal recorded a league victory at United HQ.
Wenger’s poor record against Jose Mourinho is well documented, but his recent performances against any of his team’s top four competitors make sombre reading. Their victory over Manchester City at The Etihad this year was their only away victory against a top four side in five years.
Arsenal have only lost five times away from The Emirates this term, but all of those reverses have come against teams in the top ten so they will not be relishing a trip to Louis van Gaal’s United. Add to this the fact that United have won the most home games in the division, along with Chelsea, and a home victory certainly seems the way to go with this game.
Back Manchester United to win @ 6/4
Away from Old Trafford, this weekend also sees Steven Gerrard make his Anfield farewell against Crystal on Saturday evening. With the game being shown live on television and him sure to be centre of attention, it is entirely possible that he could be the man taking home some individual plaudits. So picking him out as man of the match seems a very smart bet to pick up some extra funds this weekend.
Back Gerrard to be man of the match @ evens.