United are targeting a first league win at the Emirates Stadium in Sunday's Premier League summit meeting...
Form guide: United will be buoyant after shattering derby rivals Manchester City with a last-gasp winner at OT for the second time this season, in Wednesday’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg. The Reds have scored 13 goals in the last five league games to keep up with leaders Chelsea and Sunday’s opponents Arsenal, who sit third after being held to a goalless draw in midweek by Aston Villa. Despite being dumped out of the FA Cup by Stoke last weekend, the Gunners are unbeaten in 10 league games and have lost just once at home this term – to Chelsea.
Ins and outs: Rio Ferdinand misses the game after being handed a four-game ban for violent conduct against Hull, but fellow centre-back Nemanja Vidic is set to return from a calf injury. John O’Shea and Owen Hargreaves are the Reds’ only other absentees. The home side are likely to be without defender Thomas Vermaelen, who sustained a leg injury against Villa, and striker Eduardo is also out with a hamstring problem. Abou Diaby (calf) and Fran Merida (ankle) are doubtful, while Robin van Persie, Johan Djourou and Kieran Gibbs are long-term casualties.
Star man: Captain and heartbeat of the Arsenal team, Cesc Fabregas is in irresistible form with 14 goals to his name already this season. The classy Spanish midfielder combines technique, vision and energy with a new-found steel and, having recovered from the hamstring injury that has niggled him in recent weeks, the 22-year-old will be Gunners’ driving force on Sunday.
Manager: Arsene Wenger is Arsenal’s most successful manager ever, having picked up three league titles and four FA Cups in his 13-year spell in north London. The Frenchman has enjoyed plenty of ding-dong battles and mind-games with Reds counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson over the years, and is building a squad capable of challenging for the title again this year.
Referee: This is Chris Foy’s first league game involving United this season. The Merseyside official took charge of the Reds’ FA Cup defeat to Leeds, the Carling Cup win at Barnsley and the Community Shield against Chelsea, and has only issued three red cards in all games so far this term.