Van Persie Manchester United
Former Gunner Robin Van Persie will be the main man for Manchester United. Reuters
Former Gunner Robin Van Persie will be the main man for Manchester United. Reuters
Former Gunner Robin Van Persie will be the main man for Manchester United. Reuters

It's after quite a few years - since the glory days of Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry - that Arsenal go into an English Premier League game against Manchester United at Old Trafford as the favourites.

Pretty much every challenge that has been thrown at them this season, the Gunners have shot through, and some, in emphatic style.

Beat Manchester United, the reigning champions at Old Trafford, then it will be impossible for even the harshest of critics of this Arsenal side to ignore them when it comes to challenging for the Premier League title.

"When we have done very well in winning leagues, we have always done well at Old Trafford," said Arsene Wenger, who has seen his Arsenal side win two title in the season that they have won at the Theatre of Dreams. "Because they were one of the main rivals as well and people judge you on how well you do over there, so it is a big game.

"We believe we can get a result. We go there like we go everywhere, to control the game and win it. We still think the best way to win at Old Trafford is to control the game, which means take the ball, keep the ball and have more possession than they do.

"We are maybe a bit less under pressure because we have a little advantage [at the top of the table]. But we have to use that in a positive way. Our hunger will be tested there."

For Manchester United, it is simple - make a statement against the league leaders, who haven't won at Old Trafford in seven years, and show the rest of the contenders this side, under David Moyes, are just as good as the Sir Alex Ferguson vintage.

Moyes does not have a great record against Wenger, and this United side have only picked up a point in their three games against big sides - Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City - this season.

But then, Moyes was still finding his feet as a United manager then, and now with every passing game there are signs of improvement, which has seen them go eight matches unbeaten.

Manchester United vs Arsenal matches have always had a big-fat needle in them, and with former Emirates favourite Robin Van Persie in the red of the home team, there will be plenty of players from the away side wanting to prove a point or two.

Lying eight points behind Arsenal, it is a match that the Red Devils really need to win; for Arsenal, though, a draw will do quite well, just don't expect them to settle for it though.

Team News: Moyes hopes to have Michael Carrick, Jonny Evans and Rafael available after the trio missed the goalless Champions League draw against Real Sociedad, but Danny Welbeck is not expected to feature as the striker continues his recovery from a knee injury.

Arsenal will welcome back midfielder Mathieu Flamini. However, Jack Wilshere is unlikely to return from his ankle knock, while Theo Walcott, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby remain sidelined.

Key men: Manchester United: Van Persie scored in both the league fixtures against his former club last season, and expect him to add to his tally yet again.

Arsenal: Aaron Ramsey is on an unbelievable run at the moment. The Welsh midfielder has scored the winner against United before, and another moment of brilliance on Sunday will be much appreciated by the Gunners faithful.

Where to watch

The game is scheduled for a 9.40 pm IST start on Sunday night with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD1. You can also catch the match live online by clicking the official link HERE. 

Expected lineups: Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra; Carrick, Cleverley; Valencia, Rooney, Januzaj; Van Persie.

Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

Prediction: 1-1