- When: Wednesday 5 December Where: Old Trafford, Manchester Kick-off: 8pm (UK time) TV channel: live on BT Sport 1
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho insists that the Red Devils don’t need a miracle to finish in the Premier League’s top four despite currently sitting eighth in the table.
After 14 matches United have 22 points, level with seventh-placed Everton and one behind Bournemouth, who are now sixth after their 2-1 win against Huddersfield.
Manchester City lead the table, five points clear of Liverpool and ten clear of Chelsea. Fourth-placed Arsenal, United’s opponents tonight, are level on 30 points with Tottenham, who are fifth.
Speaking ahead of the Arsenal clash, Mourinho told Sky Sports: “We have like eight or nine points from fourth, I don’t think we need a miracle at all.
“We need a good run of results, not waste points we shouldn’t waste. Last week before the Crystal Palace game I told my hopes and targets were end of December to be in that position.
“The targets change but in the sense let’s try to close the distance the best we can and be very close to these positions, I think far from a miracle.
“We just need to not be so unlucky with problems that we have, we need some players to perform better than they are we need to perform better as a team but far from a miracle.”
Arsenal travel to Manchester on the back of a superb 4-2 win against Tottenham in Sunday’s north London derby. Unai Emery’s team are on a 19-match unbeaten run but they have not won at Old Trafford in more than 12 years.
Emery said: “It will be a very big challenge for us and it will confirm our good moment, or whether we need more. It is very difficult to win there because they are a very big team with big players and have a big atmosphere pushing them, but it is an exciting match and my motivation is very big.”
Team news and possible starting XIs Man Utd team news
Mourinho has a defensive crisis for tonight’s game. Full-back Ashley Young is suspended while Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Antonio Valencia and Luke Shaw are all injury doubts.
Victor Lindelöf is definitely ruled out but Sky Sports reports that summer signing Diogo Dalot could make his first Premier League start at right-back. ESPN says that Dalot, Marcos Rojo and Matteo Darmian are the only fully-fit defenders Mourinho has at his disposal.
“We are going to be in difficulties again to build the team,” he told MUTV. “We are again going to have to make adaptations and compensations to try to give some balance to the team. But then I believe we are again going to have the spirit to fight and to try to win the match.”
With former Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez also injured, Mourinho will hope that England forward Marcus Rashford is fit despite him picking up a knock in Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Southampton.
Arsenal team news
Mesut Ozil has missed the last two games because of back issues and the German playmaker is not expected to feature at Old Trafford.
Midfielder Granit Xhaka is suspended because of five yellow cards while Nacho Monreal (hamstring), Konstantinos Mavropanos (groin) and Danny Welbeck (ankle) are on the injury list.
Possible starting XIs
How the teams could line up at Old Trafford, according to talkSPORT.
- Man Utd possible starting XI: De Gea; Dalot, Smalling, Jones, Shaw; Matic, Herrera, Pogba; Lingard, Lukaku, Martial Arsenal possible starting XI: Leno; Sokratis, Mustafi, Holding; Bellerin, Torreira, Guendouzi, Kolasinac; Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang, Lacazette.
TV coverage and predictions Man Utd vs. Arsenal TV channel.
Tonight’s match is live on BT Sport 1. Coverage starts at 7pm and the game kicks off at 8pm.
Mark Lawrenson, BBC Sport: “Sunday’s north London derby was the perfect script for Arsenal, where they started well, found themselves 2-1 down but came back with a massive bang. Manchester United dropped more points in their draw at Southampton, but it was not a huge surprise. It was the same old story in many ways, in that they did not play well but managed to get a result. Despite the contrast in both sides’ form, I still have a feeling United will find a way to win game. Prediction: Man Utd 2 Arsenal 1.”
Paul Merson, Sky Sports: “In the past we have seen Arsenal go to Old Trafford in form, play well but somehow still end up losing the game. However, unless Manchester United really pick their game up or the Gunners hit a brick wall after their efforts against Tottenham, I just cannot see how United win. I really can’t! Prediction: Man Utd 1 Arsenal 2.”
Martin Keown, Daily Mail: “Arsenal should go to Old Trafford without any fear. United are a huge club but they are a wounded animal under Jose Mourinho. The last time Arsenal won at United in the Premier League was September 2006 but Old Trafford has lost the aura it once had. That daunting feeling for visitors has disappeared.”
Premier League results and fixtures Tuesday 4 December
- AFC Bournemouth 2 Huddersfield Town 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Crystal Palace 1 West Ham United 3 Cardiff City 1 Watford 1 Manchester City 2
- Burnley vs. Liverpool Everton vs. Newcastle United Fulham vs. Leicester City Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea Manchester United vs. Arsenal (8pm, live on BT Sport) Tottenham Hotspur vs. Southampton (8pm)
More on Premier League: Man Utd vs. Arsenal team news, starting XIs, TV channel, predictions.