Premier League Preview: Arsenal v Manchester United
By Football News
Premier League champions Manchester United travel to Arsenal on Sunday looking to maintain their charge to beat Chelsea’s points record.
Robin van Persie’s hat trick won the game for United over Aston Villa on Monday night which sealed their 20th league title, and they will be full of confidence given they have only lost once in the league this year.
In 2004-05 Chelsea set a new record for the number of points accumulated in a season with 95, but United know that if they win all of their remaining fixtures they will eclipse that record by one point.
Sunday will be the first time former Arsenal forward Van Persie has returned to the Emirates, he will undoubtedly get a mixed reception from the home crowd which could be made worse if the game were to start with a guard of honour from Arsenal for the new champions.
One of the stars of the season for Arsene Wenger's side has been Santi Cazorla. The Spaniard joined the club from Malaga in the summer and has scored 12 goals in 34 Premier League games.
Cazorla is key to Arsenal's passing game and believes that they can trouble United on Sunday, if they can keep the ball from their opponents.
He told Arsenal's official website: "If we have the ball, we’re definitely going to hurt them. We’re a team that keeps possession well and knows how to hurt the opposition.
"If we don’t, it’ll be the reverse. They’ll cause us problems because they have a lot of quality and when given space they can threaten us.
Keeping the ball is the key. We need to force them back and not give them time on the ball as they have players that can make a difference.
"We always look forward to the big games. They’re coming here having won the league and we hope that they’ll be more relaxed than if they had to win the league on our pitch, but it’s going to be a very difficult game.
"At the moment, they’ve got the best team in the Premier League - they’ve proven that by winning the league with games to spare. But I hope we can get the three points at home because we need them more than they do.
United’s recent record against Arsenal is impressive; they have only lost once to Arsene Wenger’s side in their last eight meetings and have scored 12 goals in their last three encounters.
Wenger's side continue to face a battle with Tottenham and Chelsea for a top four spot at the end of the season and they are in excellent form with just four games to play.
They have not lost in their last seven matches and have only dropped two points in that time which has pushed them right back into contention for a Champions League spot next season.
Alex Ferguson has injury concerns around Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling, with neither defender appearing in the win over Villa they may not be risked given United have already secured the title.
Arsenal could be without Mikel Arteta in the centre of midfield, but they will definitely be without Abou Diaby who has been ruled out for the rest of the season for Arsenal with a knee injury, while Lukasz Fabianski's rib injury will see him miss out.