Arsenal-Manchester United Preview

TOM BENNETT (STATS European Football Writer)
The Associated Press

Premier League leaders Arsenal will be looking to cement their title credentials as they travel to Old Trafford to face defending champions Manchester United on Sunday afternoon.

Arsene Wenger's Arsenal (8-1-1) opened with a loss to Aston Villa, but have not looked back, racking up 25 points to open a five-point gap atop the table. A shock midweek 1-0 win away at last season's Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund also saw the Gunners go top of their daunting European group, sending them into Sunday's crunch match brimming with confidence.

However, Arsenal have a terrible recent record against United, winning just one of their last 12 meetings in all competitions. A 1-0 win at Old Trafford in 2006 is also the Gunners' only Premier League win at the ground in the last 11 years. United striker Wayne Rooney queried Arsenal's title chances ahead of Sunday's game, but midfielder Aaron Ramsey believes his side will be confident of proving a point.

"It is going to be another massive game - this was always going to be a big week for us and we couldn't have got off to a better start. Hopefully now we can go to Old Trafford and finish the job off," said an in-form Ramsey after scoring the winner in Germany. "It would be massive to beat United. We are feeling really confident at the moment and we're in good form in the league, so why not go there and win?

"They have had a bit of a rough start but they have overcome that now I think. We have struggled at Old Trafford over the last few seasons, so hopefully now that we feel a lot more confident this will be the time when we do manage to do it."

United (5-2-3) had a tricky start to the campaign under new manager David Moyes, but have shown signs of progress over recent weeks, going four games unbeaten to move within three points of the top four. A scoreless draw at Real Sociedad on Tuesday also leaves the Premier League winners top of their Champions League group, but United did see summer signing Marouane Fellaini sent off as he continues to struggle to settle at his new club.

Despite being eight points off the lead after just 10 games, Moyes is not writing off his team's chances just yet - knowing a win on Sunday against their in-form visitors would go a long way to reducing the gap.

"I said at the start that Arsenal have got the same chance as the rest of us to win the league," said Moyes. "It's an open Premier League. They've had a really good start but it will only be decided at end of the season who will win it. We'll wait and see until then.

"Arsenal are coming to play the Champions. They're in the top position at the moment, their form has been very good and they'll come here in good spirits. But we've had some growing momentum and we want to put on a good show."

Moyes has injury doubts over Tom Cleverley (vision), Rafael (ankle), Jonny Evans (back) and Michael Carrick (calf), while Danny Welbeck (knee) and Darren Fletcher (bowel) remain out. Arsenal are without Theo Walcott (abdominal strain), Yannick Sanogo (back), Lukas Podolski (hamstring), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Abou Diaby (knee), but may be able to call upon Jack Wilshere and Mathieu Flamini after the midfield pair resumed training after ankle and groin injuries, respectively.

United took four points off Arsenal last season, winning 2-1 at Old Trafford and drawing 1-1 at the Emirates. Robin van Persie scored in both games for the Manchester club after his move from Arsenal in the summer transfer window.

Sunday will be the 50th time Arsene Wenger has faced Manchester United in all competitions since becoming Arsenal manager in 1996, but the first time without Sir Alex Ferguson in charge.

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