Arsenal v Manchester United match preview

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The Independent Football

Manchester United travel to the Emirates on Sunday with the possibility of doing the double over Arsenal for the second season running. Two Arsenal own goals helped United towards home and away wins last term.

This season’s first league clash in December saw Ji-Sung Park fire United to a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. United leapfrogged the Gunners to go two points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand. Arsenal have since taken a nosedive in form and now trail United by nine points with four games to play.

Arsenal will welcome the home advantage this weekend: they have failed to score at Old Trafford in both games between the clubs this season. United claimed a 2-0 FA Cup win in March, inspired by some world class goalkeeping by Edwin van der Sar.

Dimitar Berbatov has never scored against Arsenal in a United shirt, but has only ever played one full game against them. Ji-Sung Park has managed the feat in each of the last three seasons and even both of the Da Silva twins have netted against the Gunners.

The partnership between Rooney and Hernandez has blossomed in recent weeks and, judging by the substitutions made earlier this week against Schalke, it seems likely that Ferguson will use them to slice through the Arsenal defence. Meanwhile, Ryan Giggs is likely to be rested as Ferguson seeks to keep him fresh for the second-leg of United’ Champions League semi-final next week.

United were victorious in the same fixture last year. They took the lead in little over half an hour as Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia hooked a Nani cross into his own net. Goals from Wayne Rooney and Ji-Sung Park finished off a wholly bad day at the office for the Spaniard. Thomas Vermaelen pulled one back for Arsenal, but they were unable to capitalise as United ran out 3-1 winners.