Victory at the Emirates will send United 12 points clear of Arsenal in the Premier League…
For a long time, this fixture looked set to be a title decider as both sides battled it out for the Premier League crown. However, Arsenal’s recent collapse in form (two points from a possible nine) has allowed Chelsea to usurp the Gunners into second place as United’s main title rivals. Arsene Wenger’s side will be keen to capitalise on a week's rest period though, following their 2-1 defeat to Bolton last Sunday. The Reds, meanwhile, are six points clear at the top following a nervy 1-0 win over Everton and are boosted by an outstanding attacking performance during the 2-0 win over Schalke in the UEFA Champions League semi-final first leg on Tuesday.
Ins and outs
The Gunners are without long-term absentee Lukasz Fabianski (shoulder), Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen, who won't be risked after making his comeback from an Achilles problem at Old Trafford in Thursday's reserve-team draw. Otherwise, Arsene Wenger has a full squad at his disposal. It’s a similar situation for Sir Alex Ferguson, who is only without Owen Hargreaves (shoulder), Anders Lindegaard (knee) and Darren Fletcher, who is likelier to play in midweek. Dimitar Berbatov has recovered from his groin injury.
Following consecutive defeats to Chelsea and then Liverpool, United were faced with the daunting task of facing the Gunners in the FA Cup sixth round at Old Trafford. With a do-or-die clash against Marseille looming large, Sir Alex opted for rotation and, in particular, Brazilian flair as Rafael and Fabio stole the headlines (and a goal in the latter’s case) with a pair of sensational performances in an impressive 2-0 win.