Another bumper weekend of Premier League action approaches, with Arsenal’s clash against top-four rivals Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium the undoubted pick of the fixtures.
A game that was once the pinnacle of English football, the significance may well have dropped slightly in recent years, but the importance of Saturday’s match-up is still very high.
Both Arsenal and United have ambitions of pushing towards the Premier League summit and come into the game in form, with the victor, should there be one, making a big statement about their ability to challenge for honours in 2017-18.
Arsenal have gone on a run of three consecutive victories of late, not conceding in the process, but facing United and all the weaponry that the visitors possess will be a step up for the hosts.
Jose Mourinho has made the Red Devils a much-more ominous proposition in his second season in charge at Old Trafford, with the travelling side looking like they have all the ingredients to challenge for the Premier League title.
United have been scoring freely this term, with big-money summer signing Romelu Lukaku leading the line for the Manchester club after signing from Everton.
The Belgian started the campaign in sparkling form in front of goal, but he has not registered recently and will be desperate to get his name on the scoresheet in North London.
Despite Lukaku’s questionable confidence at the moment, the bookmakers still place him as one of the favourites to break the deadlock, with odds of 4/1 for the powerful centre-forward to score the first goal.
Arsenal’s clashes with United have been feisty over the years and the disdain between the clubs’ respective managers will not help in cooling tempers come Saturday evening.
Both teams will want to control the tempo of the game and win the personal battles, but this could well lead to flare-ups between two passionate groups of players.
With this fixture having a history of disciplinary issues, punters placing money on a man to be sent off at odds of 7/2 could well be onto a winner.
As both teams look to build a head of steam going into the busy festive season, victory here would be an excellent springboard for either of these giants of the English game.