Betting preview: Manchester United vs Arsenal - Rangnick appointment can spur United to victory

Arsenal travel to Old Trafford on Thursday night looking to extend their five-point lead over United, but the Red Devils will be looking to impress new boss Ralf Rangnick - even in his absence.

Manchester United will be hoping for a new manager bounce when they take on Arsenal despite work permit issues preventing interim boss Ralf Rangnick taking his seat in the dugout. 

Reports suggest Rangnick will be present in the ground and giving out instructions, so we can still expect an improved performance under the German boss.

They will need to up their game against an Arsenal team who now find themselves well in the mix for the top four. Mikel Arteta's side are joint on points with West Ham in fourth and know a win in Manchester could see them break into the Champions League spots.

When, where and how to watch

When: Thursday, December 2, 20.15 GMT

Where: Old Trafford, Manchester

How to watch: Amazon Prime

Best bets for Manchester United vs Arsenal

Sambi Lokonga to be shown a card - 13/10

Man Utd to win and BTTS - 3/1

Draw at HT, Man Utd to win - 17/4

Two of the Premier League's old rivals meet again on Thursday night, and despite the Gunners' strong record at Old Trafford recently, it's the Red Devils who enter the match as strong favourites.

Rangnick's appointment will have much to do with that, as we've seen plenty of times how teams can react to having a new man in the hotseat.

United currently sit eighth, five points from the top four. Closing that gap will be Rangnick's aim this season, but a loss to fellow contenders Arsenal would dent their chances.

Meanwhile, the Gunners are fresh from beating another side who were elevated by a managerial appointment. Their 2-0 win over Newcastle last weekend was crucial to their European aspirations, and it also let United know that a win with a new manager isn't a guarantee.

Long gone are the days of Vieira vs Keane in the tunnel, but Arsenal and United still have a fierce rivalry, and with both vying for similar positions this season we could be in for a classic on Thursday night.

Bukayo Saka, Matt Ritchie, Arsenal vs Newcastle

Last 10 head-to-heads

Arsenal wins: 4

Draws: 3

Man Utd wins: 3

Arsenal goals: 13

Manchester United goals: 11

Can Rangnick revive the Red Devils?

Manchester United's Fred, Scott McTominay, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Raphael Varane form a wall during the Premier League match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

If United are to save their season under Rangnick, then the first thing that needs sorting is their defence. Their 22 Premier League goals conceded ranks them as the fifth worst defence, and that simply isn't acceptable if they are to climb the table.

Harry Maguire will return for United after serving his suspension, but they'll still likely be without both Luke Shaw and Raphael Varane on Thursday night, so Rangnick may opt for attack as his best form of defence.

Famed for his pressing and high-octane style, the 63-year-old coach could opt to simply utilise United's stacked attacking department and go toe-to-toe with an Arsenal side that has only scored 15 this season.

It'll leave them exposed at the back, but with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and of course, Cristiano Ronaldo - he'll fancy his luck at out-scoring the Gunners.

With that in mind, United to win and both teams to score looks to be the value bet here, and thanks to Planet Sport Bet it has been boosted from 13/5 to 3/1.

Arsenal know containing an energetic and inspired United side won't be easy, and that could result in a number of fouls being made to slow the game down.

That could spell trouble for Sambi Lokonga, who has already picked up four yellow cards this season. He's been Arteta's muscle in midfield behind the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and he could be in for a rough ride on Thursday night.

Expect late action

Manchester United replace Jadon Sancho with Cristiano Ronaldo vs Chelsea

Should United win on Thursday, it'll likely be late - or at least in the second half.

It's a trait the club have possessed for decades, and it has come into play this season too. In fact, 10 out of United's last 12 goals have been scored in the second half.

It highlights their poor starts as much as their strong finishes, but it's a pattern worth exploring, and the value of the half-time - full-time market makes it even more enticing.

United have found success in their last two games by shutting up shop early on and then striking in the second half. It's a strategy they employ well, so a draw at half-time, followed by a United win at full-time is my next tip.

If you still aren't convinced, out of the last eight goals Arsenal have conceded, seven of them have been in the second half. If there are to be plenty of goals on Thursday night, they'll come after the break.

If you're not convinced that United will pick up three points, then perhaps look at the second half goal market, where over one also looks like great value.

Goalscorer bets for Manchester United vs Arsenal

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Arsenal Aug21

Cristiano Ronaldo currently leads the way in terms of goalscoring markets, but after the Portuguese star was forced to start on the bench against Chelsea, it may be worth looking elsewhere.

Jadon Sancho has finally hit form for United with two goals in his last two games, and he is currently valued at 13/5 to make it three on the bounce.

Spurred on by a German coach and an attacking style, he should thrive.

As for the Gunners, you may want to consider Emile Smith Rowe at 15/4. The young English midfielder has been crucial to Arsenal's attack this season, and with four goals to his name already, he'll be high on confidence.

Aubameyang is another who could threaten, and the Gabonese striker has a good record against the Red Devils. In his seven games against them he has netted four times. He's currently priced at 9/5 to make it five on Thursday evening.

READ MORE: Klopp, Tuchel, Wagner? Who is the best ever German Premier League manager?

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