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David Thompson 21st Jan 2012 - 16:33

Rooney eyeing 12/1 hat-trick against Gunners depleted 11


Arsenal v Manchester United

16:00 - live on Sky Sports 1

Match betting Arsenal: 9/5 Draw: 23/10 Man Utd: 6/4

Two massive games on Sunday and despite table topping City and Harry Redknapp's Spurs doing better things with the ball on the pitch, the late kick-off between these two will still go down as the bigger game. The old firm Thierry Henry and Paul Scholes may have been paying each other complements this week but don't expect a friendly atmosphere once Mike Dean blows his whistle at the Emirates.

The game may hold more significance than the 3-points up for grabs, however Arsene Wenger's side will be keen to snatch all three considering Chelsea's stuttering performance against Norwich. They sit five points adrift of Andre Villas-Boas' side that are in fourth place and a defeat would create a problem with Liverpool and Newcastle both emerging a real contenders for European places.

Manchester United on the other hand will be more the interested of the two sides as to the result at The Etihad. Sir Alex Ferguson will not want to lose ground to their rivals, and damage limitation will be in the mind of the manager who recently received the FIFA Presidential Award at the Ballon d'Or presentation.

With both games in mind William Hill have this week decided to offer a special Match Winner to span Sunday's action. If 10 or more goals are scored at the Etihad and the Emirates then we will be paying out at a Match Winner price of 8/1, enhanced from 6-1.

In their last encounters Arsenal were trounced 8-2 at Old Trafford and Spurs went down 5-1 at White Hart Lane. Sixteen goals on that occasion was out of the ordinary, but with so many attacking players on show, and some, at times, woeful defending capable from all four sides the 8/1 on offer could be worth a look.

On the topic of defensive frailties, both United and Arsenal have had their problems. If Sir Alex had a choice of a player to bring out of retirement then Edwin van der Sar could well be the first name he'd mention.  David de Gea's failure to impress at Old Trafford has eventually led to Anders Lindegaard replacing the Spaniard as No. 1 choice, but the Dane is far from the standards set but the exemplary Van der Sar.

Nemanja Vidic has also been a big miss but the return of Chris Smalling and Phil Jones should go some way to easing United's defensive problems. As for Arsenal their defensive injury crisis somehow has deepened further. Thomas Vermaelen looks likely to miss the big match and with their most defensive minded central midfielder Mikel Arteta out with a calf strain the gunners could be liable to conceding goals on their home patch.

Wayne Rooney filled his boots scoring a hat-trick in the reverse fixture in Manchester, and William Hill has gone all out to offer a second Match Winner for this tie. If a player on either side can bag a hat-trick at the Emirates you will be paid out at enhanced odds of 12/1, originally 8/1?

With 39 goals between them many will focus on the duel between Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, however United's number 10 has been quick to deflect the focus elsewhere and I agree. The likes of Nani and Arshavin owe their managers and fans a big performance and my tip would be for either of these two to get on the scoresheet. Nani can be backed at 15/2 to score first and is a 9/4 shout for anytime, whilst the out of form Russian is 10/1 about first and as big as 7/2 about anytime.



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