LONDON (Reuters) - Arsenal’s 20-year-long record of securing Champions League soccer could come to an end if Arsene Wenger’s side fail to overcome an injury stricken Manchester United on Sunday.
Jose Mourinho has suggested he will field a weakened side for the Premier League tie after confirming his ambitions in the UEFA Europa League in mid-week following United’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo.
Here is what the fans have to say about their two clubs:
Arsenal: Boyd Hilton, host of the Footballistically Arsenal [www.arsenalpodcast.net]
”I am deeply stressed out about this weekend’s game against Manchester United because it’s a game we should win against a manager who always finds a way of beating us.
”I think this game will end 1-1 because United are the draw specialists and we are just the mediocrity specialists right now.
”I feel like we could and should have beaten them in the reverse fixture this season but we’re just not quite capable of getting a result against a top six team away ... ever.
”I‘m mainly intrigued to see what team Jose Mourinho picks considering he’s said he’ll choose youngsters because the European game is his priority. I think the biggest battle will be Marcus Rashford versus our not very amazing three-man defence - if he plays. I’d be surprised if Mesut Ozil caused any of United’s players a moment’s concern.
“I don’t think United need to park the bus against us. They can do what every team does - allow us possession and watch us play our slow predictable game - unless Arsene Wenger suddenly picks Alexis Sanchez to play up front again. He played in this position when we were actually playing well earlier this season but Wenger seems to have forgotten about that.”
Manchester United: Robert Meakin, host of The Manchester United Redcast. [www.unitedredcast.com]
”Any Manchester United versus Arsenal clash a decade ago would be one of the biggest fixtures on the calendar but now it’s slipped down the pecking order.
”The long-running feud between Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger inevitably spices things up, not to mention United desperately needing the three points if they want to remain serious about a top four place.
”I think we’ll draw 1-1 this weekend. United could be still be weary after their Europa semi-final, and I‘m not convinced they’ll have enough to nick it.
”It’s undoubtedly been a disappointing season in the Premier League for both clubs. I‘m not confident United will make the top four. There have been too many squandered points at Old Trafford, I‘m afraid.
”With such disappointing home form, United can have no complaints if they fall short, although Mourinho will no doubt be on hand to offer a conspiracy theory.
”There has been some encouraging news in terms of returning players this week. Playing Arsenal away from home is always going to be tough, but I don’t think any present United XI needs to feel vulnerable against them.
”Obviously Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been our biggest loss. He’s done everything - and more - expected of him this season. We’ve also relied on his goals to an unhealthy degree.
”We all know what a great passing side Arsenal can be, given the chance, so a big part of the battle is taking control of the midfield. Anders Herrera has had an impressive season for United and we need him to be firing on all cylinders on the tackling front this weekend, hopefully alongside [Paul] Pogba.
“The Europa League is now the priority and some first-team players will be rested. But I still expect Mourinho to put out a strong side on Sunday.”
Compiled by Claire Bloomfield