If you thought Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho hated each other, then you have never seen the latter’s run-ins with Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager has not been able to get the better of Jose Mourinho in 13 competitive games.
There are some hurdles though, if the Frenchman is to get the better of his Portuguese counterpart. Hector Bellerin has been ruled out for four weeks, while Santi Cazorla will again miss because of an Achilles injury. Alexis Sanchez is a doubt owing to his exertions for Chile despite carrying a hamstring problem, which leaves Wenger to select a starting XI most likely without three of his key players.
United though would be without their captain Wayne Rooney, who suffered the knee injury which saw him sent home by England this week by slipping on a water bottle. Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also not feature as he is serving a one match ban and Marouane Fellaini, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Chris Smalling are all not fully fit.
Mourinho’s default in big games is to go to what works best for him, which is be solid in defence, and considering the Portuguese always seems to know what Wenger will plan, there is a big advantage in that regard for Manchester United.
Key Stats (by Opta):
Manchester United has lost just one of their last 10 Premier League matches against Arsenal, a 3-0 loss at the Emirates in October 2015 (W6 D3).
Arsenal has gone over 10 years without a league victory at Old Trafford, last beating the Red Devils in September 2006 thanks to an Emmanuel Adebayor winner (D2 L7).
Arsenal has lost 22 times against Manchester United in the Premier League – more than they have against any other team, with 15 of those losses coming at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho has never lost a Premier League game against Arsenal, winning five and drawing six of his 11 previous meetings with the Gunners.
Wenger has lost on each previous occasion that he has faced a Manchester United manager for the first time in the Premier League (Ferguson in November 1996, Moyes in November 2013 and Van Gaal in November 2014).
While the odds and the history do not support Wenger and his team, Arsenal’s most successful manager will go all out to try and get the monkey off his back. The match certainly is poised to be entertaining with fans keeping an eye out for the antics of both managers and flaring tempers on the pitch.