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Premier League preview: Arsenal vs Manchester United

Arsenal entertain Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium on New Year’s Day. The Gunners have struggled to register regular victories over the past three months and they go into the Red Devils clash with just one win from the previous 12 top-flight games.

That run sees them in the 12th position in the standings and they are already 11 points behind Chelsea, who are occupying the final Champions League spot.

In comparison, the Red Devils are far better placed and they are currently four points behind Frank Lampard’s side after notching back-to-back league victories for only the second time this season.

Recent head-to-head record:

In the past six meetings in all competitions, the Red Devils have fared better with three wins compared to the Gunners’ one. However, at the Emirates Stadium, the north London side have recently had the better of their opponents in the Premier League. They have beaten them in three of their previous four matches in their homeground.

Players to watch out for:

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal: The Gabon international has been the main scoring source for the Gunners this campaign and he bagged his 13th goal of the league season during the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chelsea last weekend. Aubameyang has now contributed exactly 50 percent of the team’s goal tally in the top-flight and he will no doubt pose a threat when he is offered space in the opposition box. Unlike earlier in the season, Aubameyang has operated on the left wing under new boss Mikel Arteta but this has certainly improved his workrate and involvement when compared to the striker’s role, where he was often starved off supply.

Anthony Martial – Manchester United: Martial has picked up his form over the past two league games, where he has contributed three goals. Each of those strikes were from defensive mistakes made by the opposition but the Frenchman should still get credit, considering he has been able to pounce on any deliveries into his path. The 24-year-old is a genuine counter-attacking threat alongside Marcus Rashford and Daniel James and his direct running and dribbling should pose a concern for the likes of David Luiz and Shkodran Mustafi, who have tended to backtrack rather than intercepting the play at the first opportunity.

Prediction:

United are still unbeaten against the big six of the Premier League this term and the Gunners certainly face a tough challenge regardless of the home advantage. They were unable to hold onto a 1-0 lead against Chelsea last weekend and could face another struggle on their hands, particularly with makeshift full-backs on either side.

Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United

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