Arsenal bid to slow Utd blitz; Pep juggles




London: Arsenal host Manchester United in the Premier League this weekend in a game that could have a major bearing on who secures a coveted Champions League spot for next season.

Third-placed Tottenham, now realistically out of the title race, are just five points clear of sixth-placed Chelsea as the finishing line comes into sight.

Leaders Manchester City host Watford and Liverpool welcome Burnley to Anfield, while Spurs visit Southampton and Chelsea entertain Wolves.

Arsenal entertain United on Sunday in a huge game between two sides battling for a top-four place in the Premier League.

“We are finding fresh players and a different energy for each match, and for Sunday I think it’s going to be the same,” said Arsenal manager Unai Emery, whose side are fifth in the Premier League table, one point behind United in fourth.

“Every player worked a lot and we are going to look forward to the next match, but I know and I am positive for Sunday, that with fresh players with energy, with quality, that we have the possibility to put in a big performance against Manchester United and win against them.”

United will head into the game fresh from their stunning 3-1 win away to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday that took them through to the Champions League quarter-finals on away goals.

That result was achieved with a depleted side, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team will also take confidence from the fact they won 3-1 at Arsenal in the FA Cup in January.

“They are in a very good moment but we are together in the table and we played against them one month ago in the FA Cup — we lost 3-1 but I remember we did very good things, we had chances,” said Emery.

“We know Sunday is a tough match, an amazing match for everybody, we will be at home with our supporters, and we need a very big performance from each player.”

Arsenal will be able to call on Alexandre Lacazette for that game — the French striker is suspended for the two legs against Rennes. Manchester City have been installed as favourites to retain their Premier League crown after retaking top spot from a faltering Liverpool, but the picture is more complicated than it seems.

Kevin De Bruyne limped off against Bournemouth last week to compound a miserable season for the Belgian while Fernandinho is also currently out of action.

One good piece of news for Guardiola is that defender Aymeric Laporte returned to training this week, though it is unclear when he will be ready for action.

City are through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and look certain to progress next week to the last eight of the Champions League as they chase an unprecedented quadruple.

But despite the depth and quality of their squad, they need their big players available at the sharp end of the season.

Agence France-Presse

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