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Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Mourinho can continue proud unbeaten record against Wenger

United unlikely to roll over at Arsenal

Manchester United's ace goalkeeper David de Gea
1 of 1

Premier League
Sky Sports 1, 4pm Sunday

Jose Mourinho has never lost a competitive match to Arsene Wenger and it may not be 16th time lucky for the Arsenal manager even though his Manchester United counterpart has threatened to send a weakened team to the Emirates.

Mourinho has rightly decided winning the Europa League is the easiest routeback into the Champions League for United so making numerous changes is an obvious move given this trip to north London falls between the semi-final legs against Celta Vigo.

However, despite a long injury list and the likely squad rotation just how weak can United possibly be? Maybe not weak enough to suggest Arsenal are worthy of being rated odds-on favourites.

Ace goalkeeper David de Gea, centre-backs Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, midfielder Michael Carrick, attack-minded duo Juan Mata and Anthony Martial as well as United and England record goalscorer Wayne Rooney did not start Thursday's 1-0 win in Spain so will presumably come into contention which gives Mourinho's men a solid look whoever else is selected.

Youngsters Axel Tuanzebe, Matthew Willock and Scott McTominay have been around the first-team squad in recent weeks and as a worst-case scenario maybe one will be involved, but whatever the team expect the attitude to be spot-on.

Liverpool fans will remember with anguish Mourinho moaning about fixture congestion at a similar stage of the 2013-14 campaign as he threatened to chuck a game on Merseyside.

His Chelsea side were in the middle of a Champions League semi-final duel with Atletico Madrid when an unshaven Mourinho turned up at Anfield in a tracksuit giving the impression the game was of no importance but still the Blues ran out winners as Liverpool's title hopes slipped away.

United are unbeaten in the Premier League since a 4-0 hammering at Chelsea in October and, while too many draws have derailed a sustained bid for the top four or possibly even more, the idea of a Mourinho team just rolling over at Arsenal seems most unlikely.

Arsenal are through to the FA Cup final but last week's limp 2-0 loss at local rivals Tottenham highlighted just how much work needs to be done in the summer whether it's Wenger in or Wenger out.

Influential duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are supposed to be the inspiration but neither seems to be at the top of his game, and these top-of-the-table matches look as if they are too big for the Gunners.

The FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City suggests otherwise but that came in extra-time. In the Premier League against the top seven this season Arsenal have a record of played ten, won one, drawn three and lost six.

That sole success came at home to Chelsea early in the season before Antonio Conte switched to a back three.

Man Utd or draw double chance
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Team news
Granit Xhaka is out with an ankle injury but Shkodran Mustafi and David Ospina are back in full training. Lucas Perez is also nearing a return to first-team action.

Man Utd
Marouane Fellaini is suspended, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Tim Fosu-Mensah are injured. Marcus Rashford and Ashley Young are doubtful and Jose Mourinho has said he will rotate his squad.

Key stat
Man Utd are unbeaten in their last 25 Premier League matches

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Arsenal are through to the FA Cup final but last week's limp 2-0 loss at Tottenham highlighted just how much work needs to be done in the summer
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