Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho renew rivalry and other Arsenal and Manchester United talking points

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Arsenal host Manchester United on Saturday evening in the game of the weekend in the Premier League.

While this may not be the title-influencing clash of yesteryear, it is still rightly one of the standout fixtures in the English domestic calendar.

The Red Devils are desperately looking to close the gap on city rivals Manchester City at the top of the table where as the goal for Arsenal is to secure a top four Champions League berth again.

Here, we look at three key talking points ahead of the clash at the Emirates.

Get in touch with your thoughts too – sound off on Twitter and Facebook.

ARSENE WENGER AND JOSE MOURINHO RENEW RIVALRY

Since 2004, the Special One has been a thorn in the Frenchman’s side and it’s amazing to think that Arsene Wenger had to wait until May of this year for his first league win against a Jose Mourinho-managed side in 13 attempts.

That 2-0 success in north London at the backend of last season didn’t mean a great deal in the grand scheme of things but it was satisfying enough for Wenger.

The touchline and off-the-field battles between the 68-year-old Wenger and Red Devils boss have given the media plenty of storylines down the years – think back to their scuffle in October 2014 at Stamford Bridge, as well as those famous ‘specialist in failure’ remarks.

It’s been a bit more subdued this time around – with Mourinho actually comparing his match-up to Wenger with the iconic Bjorn Borg v John McEnroe clashes of the 1980s at Wimbledon.

It was an interesting comparison given that both of those players always got on with each other and their rivalry was never heated – with the Swede never getting sucked into the theatrics surrounding the American’s tantrums.

But, on Saturday, expect the the Wenger-Mourinho duel to probably resume status quo.

Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe shake hands after a match at Wimbledon in England.

Iconic rivalry: Borg v Mcenroe.

WHO DO ARSENAL CALL UPON TO REPLACE ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE?

It was without doubt a big blow to lose the Frenchman, the club’s leading scorer this term with seven goals, to a groin injury during the win over Huddersfield.

But Lacazette’s replacement, Olivier Giroud, stepped up to the plate with a brace and is likely to be given the responsibility of leading the line against United.

Indeed, he deserves that chance and has largely produced when called upon this term.

The alternate options would be to deploy Alexis Sanchez in a central role or unleash Danny Welbeck, who has has enjoyed playing against his old club of late. The form of Mesut Ozil also provides the Gunners with a welcome platform in which chances will be created.

Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Huddersfield Town at the Emirates Stadium in London on November 29, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Giroud scored a brace last time out against the Terriers.

WHO WILL FILL THE VOID LEFT BY NEMANJA MATIC?

The Serbian asked to be withdrawn early in the second-half during United’s 4-2 triumph at Watford due to a muscle injury – and will be a significant miss for the Reds in north London. It is not yet fully known how long the 29-year-old will be out of action and Ander Herrera is the likely man to come in.

The Spaniard, who replaced Matic on Tuesday, can play a similar role and hold his position in a midfield three that will include Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini – if the former Everton star is passed fit.

With the return and form of Pogba, both Herrera and Fellaini should be able to give the Frenchman a cushion to get forward and drive at the Gunners backline. Alternatively, Mourinho could just opt for two central midfield players, instead of a three.

Interestingly, Matic is still set to travel to London, but even if he does declare himself fit, Mourinho is unlikely to want to risk him ahead of next weekend’s Manchester Derby.

Soft centre: United when Matic doesn’t play.

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Fantasy Premier League Tips: Captain Chelsea's Hazard, drop Man United's Lukaku

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Each week, Sport360 will bring you tips for the English Premier League’s official fantasy football game. Fancy pitting your wits against us? You can join “Sport360 Fans League” using the code 2529004-595062.

We’ve barely had time to review the midweek Premier League action but straightaway, we look ahead to another round of Fantasy Premier League this weekend.

Arsenal take on Manchester United in the match of the while TottenhamLiverpoolChelseaManchester City and Arsenal all have decent fixtures in this Gameweek.

Here are a few pointers to guide you ahead of Gameweek 15.

CAPTAIN – EDEN HAZARD | CHELSEA |10.7M

It was a bit of a disaster in midweek with Eden Hazard benched against Swansea and coming on to score only a single point in the second half. However, we’re sticking with him for the weekend.

The Belgian will be well-rested after only playing nine minutes in midweek as Chelsea host Newcastle whose comeback from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at West Brom will have taken a bit out of them.

Hazard still has only 9.2% ownership and a double figure haul from him could see you surge up the table.

Eden Hazard

Eden Hazard

ALTERNATIVES

MOHAMED SALAH (9.8m) didn’t start in midweek either but was given over 20 minutes to make an impact with Stoke already stretched by Sadio Mane. The Egyptian was excellent as he bagged a brace from the bench and should now be fresh when the Reds travel to Brighton.

Harry Kane (12.8m) remains an option despite Spurs’ poor form, scoring in the last two GWs. Alvaro Morata (10.7m) couldn’t score against Swansea but continues to look dangerous while Raheem Sterling (8.2m) can’t be ignored after another great performance.

BOLD CHOICE

DAVID SILVA (8.3m) was another one of the big names rested in midweek and could deliver over the weekend. Sterling may get a rest, especially if Leroy Sane (9.0m) recovers from his illness and features for City.

TWO INS

MESUT OZIL | ARSENAL  | 9.3M

Mesut Ozil is starting to play at his best. Another great performance helped Arsenal to a 5-0 win over Huddersfield. His two assists and a goal in the span of five minutes completely blew the opposition away. He’s now scored 43 points in only his last five outings, including two double figure hauls.

Mesut Ozil

Mesut Ozil

ANDREAS CHRISTENSEN | CHELSEA  | 5.4M

David Luiz is out of the picture with a knee injury meaning Andreas Christensen should be a regular starter for Chelsea who enjoy a good run of fixtures. The 21-year-old has already started in the last four GWs, keeping three clean sheets and earning one bonus point. He’s a cheap way into that Blues defence. If you haven’t brought him in already, you should.

Andreas Christensen

Andreas Christensen

TWO OUTS

ROMELU LUKAKU| MANCHESTER UNITED | 11.4M

Romelu Lukaku has kept ticking away all season but those double figure hauls we were expecting from him on a regular basis seems to have dried up. He’s only scored once in his last seven GWs and although he’s picked up three assists in that time, that’s still poor for a striker in his price bracket.

United face Arsenal away and City at home next while Morata and Kane both look in better goal scoring form than the Belgian. Jose Mourinho has proved reluctant to attack against the bigger sides as well which could see Lukaku blank over the next two weeks.

Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE | ARSENAL | 10.3M

Just as he was starting to come into a bit of form, opening the scoring against Huddersfield as well, Alexandre Lacazette has been hit by a groin injury. While he’s expected back the week after next, it could be longer than that and even then, he could well return lacking the sharpness he’s worked so hard to gain this season.

Alexandre Lacazette

Alexandre Lacazette

Sport360s Fantasy Premier League tips are brought to you by McGettigans JBR.

Take part in our FPL League using the code using the code 2529004-595062 win exciting prizes!

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How do Manchester City compare to the Premier League's best?

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Manchester City‘s dramatic 2-1 win over Southampton on Wednesday restored their eight-point lead at the Premier League summit and further enhanced their status as overwhelming title favourites.

Pep Guardiola’s sparkling team have smashed record after record since the start of the season and are currently on a 19-game winning streak in all competitions.

But how do they match up against teams who have made similarly impressive starts to a Premier League campaign?

Arsenal 2003-04 Premier League record after 14 games: W10 D4 L0 F28 A10 Pts 34

One of the most feted teams in the history of English football, Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ became the first side since Preston North End in 1889 to complete a top-flight season unbeaten.

After 14 games of the 2003-04 campaign Arsenal were actually second in the table behind Chelsea, who had flown out of the blocks under Claudio Ranieri.

But Chelsea wilted during the English winter, winning only three of their next eight games, and Arsenal, inspired by Thierry Henry, stormed past to glory.

Arsenal Invincibles

Chelsea 2005-06 Premier League record after 14 games: W12 D1 L1 F33 A7 Pts 37

Chelsea took England by storm in Jose Mourinho’s first season as manager in 2004-05, finishing 12 points clear of Arsenal at the top of the table, and they picked up where they had left off the following campaign.

Mourinho’s men won their first nine games and although Manchester United beat them 1-0 in early November, Chelsea were 10 points above them – having played a game more – after 14 matches.

Chelsea responded to the defeat against United with a salvo of 10 successive wins and finished eight points clear at the top despite losing their last two matches.

Chelsea 2005

Manchester United 2006-07 Premier League record after 14 games: W11 D2 L1 F30 A7 Pts 35

Having been left for dead by Chelsea in the previous campaign, there were few expectations United would become front-runners, but Alex Ferguson’s side took the title race by the scruff of the neck with 11 wins in their first 14 games.

United’s early-season form showcased the nascent partnership between Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, whose goals would fire the club to three successive Premier League titles and Champions League glory in 2008.

United finished the 2006-07 season six points clear of Chelsea, who suffered the indignity of having to offer their rivals a guard of honour when they hosted Ferguson’s men on the season’s penultimate weekend.

Manchester United 2007

Manchester City 2011-12 Premier League record after 14 games: W12 D2 L0 F48 A13 Pts 38

The only team to have outscored Guardiola’s City at this stage of a Premier League season, Roberto Mancini’s side made a blistering start to the campaign, averaging 3.43 goals per game in their first 14 matches.

The centrepiece of that run was a seismic 6-1 victory away to defending champions Manchester United in the October, which was their derby foes’ worst home defeat since February 1955.

It left City five points clear of United at the top of the table, but a spring surge by United took the title race right to the wire. Mancini’s men ultimately prevailed on goal difference courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s immortal stoppage-time goal against Queens Park Rangers on the final day.

Manchester City 2012

Manchester City 2017-18 Premier League record after 14 games: W13 D1 L0 F44 A9 Pts 40

Guardiola’s City are the first Premier League team to have amassed 40 points in their first 14 games, their sparkling sequence of victories featuring a 6-0 win at Watford, a 7-2 annihilation of Watford and 5-0 thrashings of Liverpool and Crystal Palace.

Spearheaded by Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane, they have not dropped points since a 1-1 draw with Everton on August 21.

Eight points clear of Manchester United, the title seems to beckon and if they win their next two games – at home to West Ham United and away to Manchester United – they will set a new record for successive victories within the same English top-flight campaign.

Manchester City 4

Provided by AFP Sport

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