Opposition boss: Arsene Wenger deserves the utmost respect for his lengthy tenure at Arsenal as he continues to build attractive sides playing football the right way. The Frenchman has had to endure criticism from some quarters following seven years without a trophy after losing some big names in the past couple of seasons. However, his philosophy continues to ensure the Gunners are competitive towards the top end of the table.
Star man: Jack Wilshere may be carrying a lot of expectation on his young shoulders but is almost certain to make a huge difference to the Gunners' fortunes. A clever, talented footballer, he is much admired by Sir Alex and the wider footballing public and is striving to put his injury nightmare behind him. Once fully into his stride, he will be a key man for Wenger's side.
Quote/unquote: "For us, what is important is the result at the end of the game and the quality of our performance. We do not even talk about that [van Persie]. I hope it [the fans' reception] is a respectful one because he has played for us for eight years and he has done very well for us." Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager.
Sub-plots: Van Persie meets his former club for the first time since trading the Emirates for Old Trafford and, despite the calls of Wenger, seems certain to face a barracking from the travelling fans. The Gunners have a poor recent record at United's home ground, with last year's humbling still in the back of their minds, and are under pressure to close the gap towards the summit.
Rivals watch: Leaders Chelsea visit Swansea following their extra-time exertions against United on Wednesday with the Welsh side buoyed by a fine win at Liverpool in the same competition. Manchester City are at West Ham with a 17.30 GMT kick-off while Liverpool meet Newcastle on Sunday.