Louis van Gaal’s Red Army head down south on Saturday to face Arsenal at the Emirates as the league leaders going into the weekend look to pile the pressure on Arsene Wenger after yet another European clusterf***. While Manchester United have hardly set the world alight this year, LVG’s philosophy – whatever that may include bar throwing huge wads of cash at players – appears to be working, and the Red Devils go into the match on the back of three league wins on the spin, in which they’ve scored nine goals and conceded just three.
So why are Man Utd such a big price at to beat Arsenal? The Gunners have all but thrown away their Champions League challenge with a couple of disastrous defeats at the hands of Olympiacos and Dinamo Zagreb, and they managed to disintegrate entirely away to an out-of-sorts Chelsea two weeks ago. Yet United are still outsiders?
In fact, they’re the biggest price they’ve been at the Emirates in the last five years, and even a bigger price than David Moyes’ Man Utd were two years ago.
So what is the thinking on the PP Trading Floor? Is it simply just a few too many midweek beers and a lack of concentration? We dropped them an email to find out, carefully pointing out the following stats:
- Arsenal have won just one of the last 13 Premier League matches against Manchester United.
- Since August 2011 Arsenal have played 34 matches against ‘Big 4 teams’ (These include Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Liverpool). They’ve won just seven – a win rate of 20.6 per cent.
- That win rate drops ever so slightly to 17.6 per cent when you consider their home form alone, and drops even further to just 12 per cent if you take out their form against Liverpool.
The reply we got was short and frank. Despite thinking the traders would soil their chinos when they saw our stats, they were quick off the mark with the following key points:
- A bet every year on Man Utd to win away to Arsenal in the league would have clicked just three times in the last decade. they’ve also drawn four and lost three in the last 10 visits to face the Gunners.
- Last year Louis van Gaal’s side managed just two shots on target and were under pressure for most of the tie, yet still escaped with a 2-1 victory that Dick Turpin himself would have been proud of.
Whatever the traders may say, we can’t help but think that United are a massive price going into Sunday’s clash. Despite a few clean sheets in the league, Arsenal have conceded 10 goals in the last five games in all competitions and have looked as stable as a Kerry Katona marriage in recent weeks. United’s attacking trio of Memphis ( to score first), Mata ( to score first) and Martial ( to score first) have scored seven goals between them in the Red Devils’ last four league games and can give the Gunners plenty to think about.