This weekend in the FA Cup on Friday night, the two most decorated teams in the competitions illustrious history will clash at the Emirates Stadium in North London as Arsenal will welcome Manchester United in what promises to be yet another exciting clash between the two FA Cup giants.

Both Arsenal and Manchester United have reached the final of the tournament on 20 occasions each. Arsenal lead the way with the number of victories at 13, losing the other seven finals, while Manchester United have won 12 of the 20 finals they contested, losing the other eight.

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Furthermore, the teams have twice met in the final itself, most famously back in the 1978-79 season when Manchester United came back late on to pull back from a 2-0 deficit to get back to 2-2, only for Alan Sunderland to score a last minute winner straight from the kick off to hand Arsenal the trophy.

The teams also met in a less exciting encounter in the 2004-05 season when after a 0-0 draw at the Millennium Stadium, Arsenal landed the victory on a penalty shootout 5-4, with Patrick Viera scoring the winning kick after Jens Lehmann had saved Manchester United’s second penalty from Paul Scholes.

It is always a huge occasion when these two teams meet, in whatever competition the match is being played in, but an FA Cup tie adds a huge amount of spice to the match and with a national TV audience tuning in to watch the game, it is the perfect opportunity for managers Unai Emery and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to show why their team is rated as one of the favourites to win the trophy once again this year.

We are going to preview the game in a bit more detail now and give you our tips on the best bets to make on the game based on how we expect the teams to line up and play. Remember, if you do fancy a bet then if you sign up with bet365 Sport, you can utilise the current bet365 New Player Bonus to receive up to £100 in bet credits once you are betting on the site.

Arsenal v Manchester United Preview

Arsenal

Current Form

  • V Chelsea (H) – W 2-0
  • V West Ham (A) – L 0-1
  • V Blackpool (A) – W 3-0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
  • V Fulham (H) – W 4-1
  • V Liverpool (A) – L 1-5
  • V Brighton (A) – D 1-1
  • V Burnley (H) – W 3-1
  • V Tottenham (H) – L 0-2 (Carabao Cup Quarterfinal)
  • V Southampton (A) – L 2-3
  • V Qarabag (H) – W 1-0 (Europa League Group Stage)

Played 10, Won 5, Drew – 1, Lost 4, Goals Scored – 17, Goals Conceded – 14

Leading Goalscorer – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 16 goals (28 games)

Premier League Position – 5th (44 points from 23 games – +16 Goal Difference)

What is clearly evident with Arsenal’s recent form is that it has been very erratic, although the Gunners have lost just once at home in that time, a 2-0 defeat to rivals Tottenham in the Carabao Cup. In general, the Gunner’s home form has been excellent and it has been on the road that they have struggled, a fact which will not be lost on Unai Emery, should this game not be settled in Arsenal’s favour on the day and a daunting replay at Old Trafford be required.

It will be interesting to see what team Emery picks for the game. Arsenal do tend to rest players in cup games at times but when they have lined up against better teams in cup competitions, Emery has tended to pick his best team and with this being the clubs best chance of silverware this season, I am expecting Emery to name his strongest possible side here.

Arsenal will be without Hector Bellerin, who ruptured his cruciate ligament against Chelsea and will be out until the end of the season. Danny Welbeck and Rob Holding are also ruled out through injury while ex-Man United star Henrikh Mkhitaryan will also miss out as he recovers from a fractured toe. Two of Arsenal’s stars, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, could be suspended if they pick up another yellow card in the game.

Other than Bellerin’s enforced absence, I’d expect Arsenal to be unchanged from the team that beat Chelsea 2-0 so impressively last week.

Predicted Arsenal Team (4-4-2) – Leno, Maitland-Niles, Kolasinac, Papasthatopoulos, Koscielny, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ramsey, Lacazette, Aubameyang.

Manchester United

Current Form

  • V Brighton (H) – W 2-1
  • V Tottenham (A) – W 1-0
  • V Reading (H) – W 2-0 (FA Cup 3rd Round)
  • V Newcastle (A) – W 2-0
  • V Bournemouth (H) – W 4-1
  • V Huddersfield (H) – W 3-1
  • V Cardiff City (A) – W 5-1
  • V Liverpool (A) – L 1-3
  • V Valencia (A) – L 1-2
  • V Fulham (H) – W 4-1

Played 10, Won 8, Drawn 0, Lost 2, Goals Scored – 25, Goals Conceded – 10.

Leading Goalscorer – Paul Pogba – 10 Goals Scored (26 games)

Premier League Position – 6th (44 points from 23 games – +13 Goal Difference)

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over the helm after the defeat to Liverpool, United have been in superb form, winning all of their last seven games and moving level on points with Arsenal in the Premier League in doing so. The Norwegian has picked the brains of Sir Alex Ferguson to help him steady the ship at Old Trafford and has done so to excellent effect.

A comfortable win over Reading in the last round saw United through and Solskjaer did give his squad a little rotation for that game and I can see him doing the same here, with the likes of Herrera, Lingard, Martial and Rashford all possibly rested, allowing Sanchez, Lukaku, Perreira and Mata to earn recalls. Bailly could also start, but I think against Arsenal, Solskjaer will want his first choice back line in play, although I expect Sergio Romero to start in goal as he tends to in the FA Cup.

A few weeks ago, this would have been a likely easy win for Arsenal, but United have improved significantly since then and as such, they are well set up to give Arsenal a real game here. With a number of players now returning from injury, United should be well set up both for this game and the remainder of the season.

Predicted Man Utd Team (4-3-3) – Romero, Young, Dalot, Jones, Lindelof, Matic, Perreira, Pogba, Sanchez, Mata, Lukaku

Arsenal v Man Utd Top Tips

Full Time Result – Draw – 5/2 with bet365

Although this is a game both sides will want to settle on the first game, I feel that the teams are so well matched that a replay is the most likely outcome. Arsenal are very strong at home and don’t lose many games. United are in great form too and have confidence from that run, so I can’t see Arsenal being the team to end that run, that said, I can’t see United quite doing enough to win in London, hence the most likely outcome being a draw.

Correct Score – Arsenal 1-1 Manchester United – 6/1

Games between these teams can either be very tight, or have plenty of goals but I think the added pressure of a cup tie, will mean a tighter than usual affair. There is so much attacking talent on both sides that I can see both teams scoring and while a 2-2 draw would not surprise me, I think a 1-1 draw is the most likely outcome.

Anytime Goalscorer – Juan Mata (Man Utd) – 9/2

The Spaniard may not play as often as he would like but he does have a knack of scoring precious goals for United at key times and I feel as he has a good chance of starting this game as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rotates his squad, I feel Mata could be the one to make Arsenal pay and at 9/2 he is a very good price for an anytime goalscorer.