Arsene Wenger will bring his Arsenal side to Old Trafford looking to finally end his hoodoo against old foe Jose Mourinho.
The Manchester United boss has a worrying injury list to contend with ahead of Saturday's (19 November) lunchtime kick-off and could be without seven of his first-team players, including his entire first-choice back four.
Given United's woefully inconsistent form this term – they have won just three of their last nine games in the Premier League – Wenger may feel this is his best chance to get his first league win over the former Chelsea boss at the 12th time of asking. But with two key members of his first-team unavailable, he has a few selection dilemmas of its own.
Arsenal's back five has picked itself this season with the blossoming partnership between Laurent Koscielny and Shkodran Mustafi now looking one of the most formidable in the league. The absence of Hector Bellerin however poses a major problem. The Spain international is now the club's first choice right-back by some distance and is soon expected to sign a new contract that will likely make him one of the club's top earners. But, as reported by IBTimes UK earlier this month, the 21-year-old will miss the trip to Old Trafford – in addition to the Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain – after damaging ankle ligaments during the 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur prior to the international break.
Having returned to full fitness after a long-term knee injury, Carl Jenkinson appears to be the only real alternative. His last appearance at Old Trafford was a rather harrowing one – the 8-2 defeat in August 2011 – but having featured twice at right-back against Reading in the EFL Cup against Reading and Ludogorets in the Champions League, he is Wenger's preferred back-up with Mathieu Debuchy MIA this season.
Arsenal have been without Santi Cazorla since the 19 October when he picked up an achilles injury, and his controlling presence in midfield has been missed. The club are yet to confirm a return date for the Spain international who told Cadena Cope on Tuesday he is still unsure when he will be able to return, seemingly ruling himself out of the United clash.
Likely Arsenal team to face Manchester United:
GK: Petr Cech
RB: Carl Jenkinson
CB: Laurent Koscielny
CB: Shkodran Mustafi
LB: Nacho Monreal
CM: Granit Xhaka
CM: Francis Coquelin
RW: Theo Walcott
AM: Mesut Ozil
LW: Alex Iwobi
FW: Alexis Sanchez
Wenger opted for the midfield pairing of Francis Coquelin and Granit Xhaka to battle Tottenham 10 days ago but Aaron Ramsey will be hoping to battle his way back in. Since returning from his hamstring injury, the 25-year-old has featured for 13 (vs Sunderland) and 25 (vs Tottenham) minutes for his club before completing the 90 minutes for Wales against Serbia on Saturday.
Further upfield, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil are all but certain to retain their places while Alex Iwobi will be hoping to hold off Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left. Interestingly, the Nigeria international currently leads a poll on the Arsenal website asking fans who they would rather see on that flank.
Alexis Sanchez has led the Arsenal line throughout this Premier League campaign but there would have been gasps of anguish last Tuesday as reports emerged the forward had suffered a minor thigh tear in a training session with Chile. That anguish would have turned to rage after Chile boss Juan Antonio Pizzi suggested the player could still feature against Uruguay on Tuesday, with Arsene Wenger describing the decision to risk his player as "suicidal."
As it turned out, Sanchez survived the Uruguay game, even scoring twice to help his side to a much-needed win before being replaced after 84 minutes. The former Barcelona star is likely to be assessed before any final decision is taken, but after returning to north London unscathed, his chances of starting have been considerably bolstered.