Soccer Wagering Articles

Man Utd v Arsenal Prediction: Clash of the Titans

It doesn’t get any bigger than this, folks.

England’s two most legendary teams go head to head on Sunday in a match hyped to be the biggest of the season. Arsenal comes into this game on the verge of a league-record 30 games undefeated from the start of the season. But the Gunners couldn’t have picked a tougher opponent in their pursuit of that record than Manchester United.

This could be an ugly one. The rivals’ last meeting in September at Old Trafford, which resulted in a 0-0 draw, was marred by indiscipline. Four Arsenal players were suspended and the team was fined $400,000. People began calling them the ‘Gooners’ instead of the Gunners.

Since then, Arsenal has turned things around, playing with class and self-control. But you have to wonder if Man United will open old wounds. It's the only team that actually looks forward to playing against Arsenal at Highbury.

Next week sees a rematch between these two teams in the FA Cup semifinal. Nothing would be sweeter for the Red Devils than a victory over Arsenal this weekend. United is in desperate need of a confidence boost, and with 12 points separating it from Arsenal in the Premiership, the FA Cup is the only piece of silverware the Devils have a chance of taking home this year.

February is when the problems began for United, losing to Middlesbrough and settling for draws with Fulham and lowly Leeds. Then the club's Champions League hopes were dashed in the final minute of a match against Porto. Finally, to rub salt in their wounds, the Devils were drubbed 4-1 at home by cross-town rival Manchester City.

But there are signs of a turnaround. Last weekend, Man United thrashed Tottenham 3-0 for its first shutout in nine games. Meanwhile, Arsenal was lucky to hold Chelsea to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of its Champions League pairing this week. And last weekend’s 2-1 defeat of Bolton was hardly an inspiring performance by Arsenal’s high standards.

Man United’s defense has been suspect for much of this season. The eight-month suspension of star defender Rio Ferdinand has left gaping holes at the back. But defender Gary Neville will make a welcome return to the rearguard, back in action after serving a four-game suspension for head butting.

For Arsenal, the ghosts of last season’s late collapse may come back to haunt the club. Having built a sizeable lead atop the Premiership table, the Gunners blew it in their final few games and allowed Manchester United to take the title. Since Arsenal is unbeaten so far this year, it’s questionable how the team might react to a loss against United at this late stage in the season.

The last four league meetings between the rivals have seen two draws and a win for each team.

This week’s picks:

Chelsea vs. Wolverhampton: 27-3-2004 10:00 ET
Chelsea don’t really have a chance to catch Arsenal, but they won’t give up on this season without a fight. Their defence is one of the best in Europe, not just in England. Don’t expect Wolves to breach it either, since they score less than half a goal per road game. With a horrible 0-4-11 record on the road, Wolves have allowed 31 goals in 15 away games. Chelsea simply do not give up points at home to teams of Wolves’ calibre. Play on Chelsea (-330)

Roma vs. Bologna: Mar. 28, 9:00 a.m. ET
You can’t ignore the best home record in Europe. Roma loves to play at home and it shows, with 37 goals for and only six (yes, six) against in 13 home games. Having just exited from the UEFA Cup to Villarreal (despite winning 2-1), Roma will focus on catching up to Milan in Serie A.
Bologna is a lousy 2-4-6 on the road, and its only hope for a strategy will be to defend like crazy. It won’t work. Play on Roma (-250)

Arsenal vs. Man Utd: Mar. 28, 11:05 a.m. ET
Man United is getting way too much respect with this line. The Red Devils' defense has been awful this season and their best goalkeeper, Tim Howard, is not even playing. You cannot expect to beat Arsenal with that type of defense. United will have to rely on its offense to get a result in this match, and the team has only been scoring 1.5 goals per road game. Those goals weren’t scored against teams of Arsenal’s quality, either. An attacking style will only make Man United vulnerable at the back, opening up plenty of chances for Arsenal’s prolific strikers. Although United has won nine of 14 road games this season, none of those wins came against top quality teams. Arsenal has won nine straight games, the Gunners haven’t lost a single game this year, and the worst they’ve done at home is drawn two of 14 games. You have to like their chances against a clearly weaker Manchester United, especially with this absurd line. Play on Arsenal (+120)

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