Arsenal face Manchester Unted in the Premier League at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
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CASE FOR THE DEFENCE
All the focus may be on forwards this weekend - Robin van Persie's return and the question of who will replace the suspended Olivier Giroud - but it is the battle of the respective defences that could be more interesting.
Both Arsenal and Manchester United's backlines have come in for criticism this season, but only Manchester City have conceded fewer goals. Arsenal have kept one less clean sheet than the champions, but have allowed fewer shots on goal and have won marginally more of their tackles.
The two sides are so evenly matched defensively that you can barely split them (in terms of duels won, Arsenal have a superior record by 0.2 per cent), although things are slightly different at Emirates Stadium. Despite having the best away defence (14 goals conceded), 12 teams have a better home defensive record than the 21 goals shipped by the Gunners at home.
That will have to improve on Sunday if Arsène Wenger's side are to ruin United title party and boost their own chances of securing a top-four finish.
ARSENAL v MANCHESTER UNITED - MATCH FACTS
- Arsenal and Man Utd have dropped the joint-fewest points from winning positions in the Premier League this season (4)
- Manchester United have won six and lost one of the last seven Premier League meetings with Arsenal
- The Gunners have kept just four clean sheets in their last 16 Premier League games at Emirates Stadium
- Robin Van Persie has scored in each of his last three appearances when Arsenal have played against Man Utd, twice for the Gunners and last time out for the Red Devils
- Wayne Rooney scored his first Premier League goal, his first in the league for Man Utd and his 100th Premier League goal against Arsenal
- Rooney's 10-goal haul is the highest by a Premier League player against the Gunners (along with Robbie Fowler) and also his joint-highest versus any opponent in the history of the competition
- Only Arsenal (18) have scored more goals in the final 15 minutes of matches than Manchester United (15)
- Man Utd are the first team to be crowned champions with four games remaining since Arsenal in 2003/04
- Van Persie has scored 17 goals in his last 17 Premier League appearances at the Emirates
- Arsenal have taken only four points from seven games against the other sides in the top five this season, every other member has at least 10
The Matchday Programme is now available on the iPad! Find out more here.Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 25 Apr 2013