Arsenal vs Man Utd news: Defining day in Red Devils' top four hopes

Arsenal could end Man Utd's Champions League hopes and pile the pressure on Spurs if they can win at the Emirates.

What was once a battle at the top table is now two teams fighting for scraps, but it's still a crucial game for their futures as Arsenal and Man Utd meet at the Emirates.

United are in all sorts of bother after some woeful recent results, and this is probably their last chance to stake a claim for Champions League football for new boss Erik ten Hag next season.

Ralph Rangnick says wholesale changes are needed after their demoralising defeat at Anfield, which now leaves them in sixth place, three points behind Arsenal and Tottenham having played a game more.

Going six points behind with just four games left to play would likely be the end of any hopes of the Red Devils playing in the Champions League next season, while a win for the Gunners puts them in a great position.

A win at Chelsea was huge for Mikel Arteta and the contrast in confidence between the two sides could hardly be more stark going into this lunchtime kick-off - where an early win would pile the pressure on Spurs who play later in the day.

When: Saturday April 23 (12:30 BST)

Where: The Emirates

How to watch: Live on BT Sport 1

Follow this game via our score centre 

Who is the referee for Arsenal vs Man Utd?

Premier League referee Craig Pawson looks on
Premier League referee Craig Pawson looks on

Craig Pawson isn't shy of getting his yellow card out, as he's closing in on a century of bookings in this season's Premier League.

He averages over four bookings per game and gives almost 23 fouls every outing.

Arsenal have won all three league games that Pawson has taken charge of, but he was also in charge of their FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest.

It's been a mixed bag for Man Utd with Pawson in the middle as they've won one, drawn two and lost one of the four games he's had the whistle.

Premier League stats 2021/22: Games: 22, Yellows: 94, Reds: 2

Recent form

The Gunners suffered a massive slump with three straight defeats seeing them tumble out of pole position in the race for the Champions League.

Arteta's side only scored once as they lost against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton, but responded with a fine win at Stamford Bridge.

Their 4-2 success against Chelsea was full of the attacking speed and skill that Arteta wants to see from his side, with particular finesse on the counter.

Arsenal have lost the last two at the Emirates so will hope to avoid an unwanted hat-trick against United.

Disarray is the only word to use for the Red Devils right now, who have only managed two wins in the last nine thanks to hat-tricks from Cristiano Ronaldo in both games.

Away from home they've lost three on the spin, with a hopeless loss at struggling Everton sandwiched by two huge defeats against rivals Man City and Liverpool.

The manner of the defeats at the Etihad and Anfield were arguably worse than the results themselves, as the white flag was raised pretty early on and they hardly put up a fight.

Rangnick has his work cut out trying to somehow get a performance out of a group of players who he's already said mostly aren't good enough.

Players in form

Eddie Nketiah scored his first two Premier League goals of the season against Chelsea - and Arsenal have never lost in the 16 games he's scored in (W15 D1).

Arsenal's young English attackers Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka also both scored against Chelsea and most of the good things from the Gunners comes through them.

Saka scored his 10th goal of the season with a late penalty at Stamford Bridge - and he'll be a handful for United if their defence is as bad as it was at Anfield.

Smith Rowe scored in the 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford this season and looks back to the form that saw him score in seven of 11 games back in October.

For United, there's hardly anyone coming off with any credit from recent displays, apart from Cristiano Ronaldo who has needed to score a hat-trick just for them to win a game lately.

A good sign of the times is that keeper David De Gea has probably been their star performer of late.

Jadon Sancho has offered glimpses, including his goal at Man City, but the consistency just hasn't been there.

Past meetings

There has been some epic match-ups over the years with the Premier League title often settled in meetings between the two.

These days the games are more about the two of them scrapping just to get into the top four, such as this latest fixture.

It was 3-2 in the reverse fixture in December when unsurprisingly Ronaldo scored twice including a winning penalty.

That was United's first win in six meetings though, with Arsenal winning three of the other five and two draws.

Widening it out to the last 10 games, it's 4-3 in favour of Arsenal with three draws.

The Gunners also have a fine record of scoring against United, with last year's 0-0 here the only time in 17 games they failed to score - stretching back to 2014.

Managers' thoughts

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta on their top four hopes: "We don't have at the moment five world class players who will hide the issues of the club. What do have is people who are so connected in the same direction."

Ralph Rangnick on Arsenal: "They are very fresh, an extremely young team. They lost their first three and they have drawn the right conclusions from what they experienced early on.

"They got rid of players that didn't fit into their style.

"They are always trying to press, but still vulnerable at the back. I like watching them but hopefully not against us tomorrow."

Ralph Rangnick on United's top four chances: "I don't want to speculate. It doesn't make sense after the performance at Liverpool.

"We just need to play far better. We will have to show a completely different performance."

Predicted teams

Takehiro Tomiyasu could play his first game since January but Arteta is likely to keep the same side as the Chelsea game if everyone is fit.

If Arsenal return to a back four that could mean a return for Albert Sambi Lokonga and Gabriel Martinelli.

Scott McTominay, Raphael Varane are available again for United, along with Cristiano Ronaldo after his family tragedy.

Paul Pogba looks like he's played his last game for the club though after injury has ruled him out of for the rest of the season.

Arsenal predicted team: Ramsdale, White, Holding, Gabriel; Saka, Elneny, Xhaka, Nuno; Odegaard, Nketiah, Smith Rowe.

Man Utd predicted team: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Lindelof, Dalot, McTominay, Hannibal, Fernandes, Elanga, Ronaldo, Sancho

Arsenal vs Man Utd prediction

Arsenal's form has been up and down of late, with those three poor defeats followed by one of their best displays of the season at Stamford Bridge.

At least United have been consistent of late, but it's been consistently awful and it's hard to see them getting anything from this trip.

Unless Ronaldo plays and bangs in another two or three goals this looks like a nailed-on home win.

The Gunners have shown far more desire, pace and creativity of late and if they take that Chelsea display into this game then they should get three points.

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