Manchester United v Arsenal - Five key battles

Wayne Rooney

Arsenal travel to Old Trafford this Sunday in the pick of this weekend’s Premier League games.

The Gunners will be looking to extend their lead at the top of the Premier League and they will be very confident, coming off the back of an impressive 1-0 away win in the Champions League at Borussia Dortmund.

The aim for United will be to close the gap on the Gunners, trying to get back a little of that fear factor which has surrounded Old Trafford in recent seasons. United could potentially move into the top four with a win and if other results have gone their way.

It will be a very intense battle between two decent sides, with individual battles breaking out all over the pitch. Here are a few to look out for.

David De Gea v Wojciech Szczesny

Often in big games, the goalkeepers make the difference in tight situations where the quality of each defence cancels each team out.

De Gea has been one of the stand out players for United, producing when he’s put under pressure while Szczesny has had more protection from his defence, playing with a very confident air around himself.

Nemanja Vidic v Olivier Giroud

This will not be an easy game for United captain Vidic because Giroud has been a very difficult striker to deal with this season.

Giroud will work the United defence, trying to occupy different players and create spaces for Arsenal’s midfielders to exploit. It will be interesting to see how Vidic keeps the United back four organised under heavy pressure.

LIVE Premier League match alerts to your phone - goals, red cards, half and full time scores

Michael Carrick v Aaron Ramsey

Carrick will play if he’s fit enough and he’ll have the difficult job of keeping track of Aaron Ramsey.

Ramsey has been the best midfielder in the Premier League this season and he plays all over the pitch. Carrick has to find the right balance between man marking him and staying in position, so the United midfield doesn’t get broken up.

Wayne Rooney v Mikel Arteta

Rooney will have to drop off from the top of the United attack at times, because otherwise United will get outnumbered in midfield.

The Arsenal star who will be tasked with keeping tabs on him is likely to be the holding player. Arteta has looked very snappy and aggressive this season, which will make it difficult for Rooney to have any time on the ball.

Robin van Persie v Per Mertesacker

Van Persie would prefer to match up against Mertesacker as opposed to the superior pace of Laurent Koscielny.

The Dutch forward will be confident after bagging a goal last weekend but Mertesacker did a world class job against Borussia Dortmund against Robert Lewandowski and the talented midfielders in the German side.

What’s your prediction for the game? Who will come out on top?

image: © nasmac

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch