The FA Cup has already produced some magic moments in the third round, and there’s the potential for much more as Arsenal’s match with their great rivals Manchester United kicks off the fourth round.
The two meet in the headline tie, and one that will obviously go a long way to deciding who will win the competition given that Liverpool have already been knocked out and we ought to get a very even game here.
Arsenal come here on a high, having beaten Chelsea 2-0 with a brilliant pressing performance last week which gave a statement after their limp 1-0 defeat at West Ham the week before.
Manchester United come here in even better shape, with the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer honeymoon still going strong as they made it seven wins in a row with a 2-1 success over Brighton. Suddenly a season that was going worse than nowhere now has the distinct promise of a Top 4 place, with other contenders having flaws of their own to work with.
Indeed it is tempting to back them at 17/10 for victory here, given the level of their performances, but Arsenal are a dangerous side at home – only Manchester City and Tottenham have won at the Emirates this season – and goals might be the way to play this game instead.
Since ditching Mourinho, United have flourished as an attacking force. Seven wins have brought 18 goals and key to that has been the total overnight revival of Paul Pogba. who has five goals and four assists in seven games since Mourinho left, and his burgeoning partnership with Marcus Rashford has been dynamite.
Rashford has five goals under new management and has scored in each one of his last five games including the winner against Tottenham, a result which proves they can go head to head with Top 6 teams. On the wings, Antony Martial, now has lenience to roam free, whilst Jesse Lingard also provides go forward from midfield.
If there’s one thing Arsenal can provide, it’s goals. The dynamite attacking duo of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (joint top scorer in the Premier League) and Alexandre Lacazette (eight goals of his own in the Premier League) spearhead a side which still has the creativity and energy for Aaron Ramsey in midfield for now, whilst Emery’s diamond 4-4-2 leads to plenty of chances for quickfire attacks.
The Gunners have failed to score in only two matches this season and have kept clean sheets in just four, the last being against Chelsea when even the misfiring Blues hit the post on the stroke of half time and their league matches average a league-high 3.55 goals per game.
Arsenal v Man Utd
FA Cup 4th Round
19:55 BBC One
HEAD TO HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
DEC 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 2-2 Arsenal
APR 2018 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal
DEC 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United
MAY 2017 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 2-0 Manchester United
NOV 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal
FEB 2016 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 3-2 Arsenal
OCT 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United
MAY 2015 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-1 Arsenal
MAR 2015 FA CUP Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal
NOV 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
FEB 2014 PREMIER LEAGUE Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United
NOV 2013 PREMIER LEAGUE Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
United have seen three of their six Premier League games go Over 3.5 and it was only an extraordinary goalkeeping performance from David de Gea that kept their 1-0 win at Tottenham from being a goalfest.
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