Manchester United vs Arsenal | Sunday 1st November 2020, 16:30 | Sky Sports
Two old foes meet at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for the highlight game of the weekend but this pair are a far cry from their dominant early 2000s teams. The days of Keane versus Viera will probably not be matched for a while as it’s been a time for Manchester City and Liverpool to take the big dog tag these days.
United and Arsenal have not fared well on the performance data this season, the Gunners are averaging just 1.13 Expected Goals (xG) per-game so far and also rank as one of the worst sides for touches in the opposition box. That being said, the more defence-minded approach from Mikel Arteta has seen his side limit their opposition to just 1.1 xG per-game. It’s therefore no surprise to see their last two end in a 1-0 scoreline.
Arsenal, and more notably, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, overachieved their numbers last season and that variance is coming back to hurt them slightly; PEA has just the single goal to his name so far and there’s been a clamour for Arteta to give the Gabonese frontman a more central role where he can get on the end of more chances.
Shifting Aubameyang out left worked towards the end of last season but teams look to have caught onto how the North Londoners love to overload the left to allow PEA space to drift in.
When playing away against the top-six, Arsenal have looked to set up defensively and try make the most of their pace on the break. It has worked in some games – the cup win over Manchester City stands out – but in some, such as their trip to Anfield last season, they had little or no threat in forward areas.
You’d expect Arsenal would have to get on the scoresheet to get anything from this game, however their hosts have kept back-to-back clean sheets, and it could prove difficult.
Ole-Gunnar Solskjaer was rightfully praised for his sides performance midweek and there does look to have been an upturn in form since that impressive away display against Newcastle. But all things considered, I’m expecting Arsenal to set up in a similar way to what Chelsea did last week and it could lead to another low-scoring encounter.
With that in mind, I’d like to get unders onside but I’ll get a bit more creative and head to the Bet Builder and take Under 4 Goals but boost the price by also adding in each respective side to have Under 5 Cards in the game, that pays 4/5 (Bet365(.
Mike Dean is the referee here so the relatively high card line is understandable but old Deano has simmered down a bit from last season, perhaps the emission of fans has meant he doesn’t get the same buzz from playing the pantomime villain.
Dean has dished out just 11 cards in his first four games and his stats were also down in games behind closed doors towards the end of last season. He’s also bucked the trend in this fixture, the last two he has done he’s given a low amount of bookings. For both to have Under 5 cards in this it looks a worthy way to boost the 4/9 quotes on Under 4 Goals.
I’ll also dip into the props market for an alternative angle. Arsenal were once known for high possession and a fixation with keeping the ball. That has not been the case under Arteta though, he’s happy for the ball to be in front of his defence and they aren’t a notable pressing team.
Interestingly, the Gunners average the 14th lowest possession this season when away (44.9%). United, on the other hand, average 53.3% of the ball.
The player that looks nicely priced up with Bet365 is United right back Aaron Wan Bissaka who is available at even-money to have over 40 attempted passes in the game. AWB averaged 47 passes per-game last season and has beat this line in 3/4 games he’s played this term, including both home games. He’s 7/10 to have 45+ passes elsewhere so this does look a tempting line and price.