Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates stadium later today and both teams need to pick up the three points as they look to keep their top four hopes alive. If Arsenal loses or even draws today, their chances of finishing in that coveted Champions League position is all but over but Manchester United will still have a chance if they lose today as Jose Mourinho said earlier he is prioritising the Europa League.
Arsenal are sixth in the Premier League table at the moment, nine points behind fourth place Liverpool with two games in hand. The Gunners still do have a chance to make it in the top four, mathematically speaking, but they need to put in a strong and convincing performance today and in their remaining fixtures if they want to avoid missing the top-four for the first time in two decades.
Mourinho is expected to make a number of changes to his team today in the hopes of getting them ready for their second leg Europa League match against Celta Vigo but Arsene Wenger does not believe that will give Arsenal the upper hand.
"The only advantage we can give is to focus on ourselves, not a weaker Manchester United. We know any way they have a massive squad with quality players and only a top performance will get us the win we want. Now even winning our games does not guarantee us to be in the Champions League, that is what we have to achieve," Eurosport quoted Wenger as saying.
Granit Xhaka was initially ruled out of this match due to an ankle injury but he took part in training yesterday and faces a late fitness test to be fit for today. Shkodran Mustafi is also back in training but the German is unlikely to start due to a lack of match practice.
Apart from those two injury concerns, Lucas Perez is short on match fitness and is set to miss this game too while Santi Cazorla is a long term injury.
As for the Manchester United team news goes, they have a number of high profile injuries. Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic both suffered season-ending knee ligament damage. Luke Shaw is also out for the season by a foot injury against Swansea last Sunday. Marcus Rashford and Ashley Young could also be set to miss today match after the two of them got injured in the match against Celta Vigo.
Marouane Fellaini is also set to miss this match for Manchester United as he serves the second of three domestic matches after being banned for his headbutt on Sergio Aguero during the Manchester Derby.
After Manchester United drew to Swansea 1-1, Mourinho admitted that they blew their chances of finishing in the top four, but Paul Pogba has not given up on a top-four finish just yet.
"Of course, we have to believe. Obviously, we want to do it and we can. Of course we're strong enough, we are Manchester United and we can do this. To be in the top four, our mind has to go there, and we also want to win the Europa League. We have to keep our heads on the challenge and the big objective; we want to achieve the big goals, not the small ones," Pogba said.
"We're confident of that. We're young and fresh."
In the last five matches played between Arsenal and Manchester United, the Gunners have a better record at the moment having won two, drawn two and lost just one. But given Arsenal's current form and the fact that Manchester United are unbeaten in 25 Premier League matches, Arsenal's top four chances could come to an end today unless they put in an energetic and convincing performance.
Where to watch
The Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United is set to start at 4:00pm local time, 8:30pm IST and 11:00am EST.
TV and live streaming information
India: TV: Star Sports Select HD1. Live streaming: Hotstar
UK: TV: Sky Sports 1/HD. Live streaming: Sky Go
USA: TV: NBCSN, Telemundo. Live streaming: NBC Sports Live
Africa: TV: SuperSport 3. Live streaming: SuperSport live
Middle East: TV: beIN Sports Arabia. Live streaming: beIN Sports connect