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Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Match preview

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Welcome to the business end of the season.

This looks alarmingly like a fever dream I had when I was a kid
This looks alarmingly like a fever dream I had when I was a kid
Charles Pertwee/Getty Images

Arsenal vs. Manchester United
English Premier League
Sunday, May 17, 2015
8AM PT/11AM ET/4PM BT
Old Trafford, Manchester
FORM: ARS Randy Johnson's 2001 season | MUFC Randy Johnson's 1991 season
US TV: NBC Sports | Worldwide TV info livesoccer.tv

Three more games. That's all this crazy league season has left in it. This game is probably the trickiest, and it definitely has the most at stake - a win today means Arsenal are one step closer to second place, and guarantees that United can't leapfrog them and will finish no better than third. Do these things matter? Not really, at least in the league, because there's no trophies for not-first; it's still almost as nice to finish above MUFC as it is to finish above the neighbors, though.

It is very important, however, in the Champions League picture. The winner of this game will have the inside track on third place, which carries with it direct entry into the Champions League and avoids everyone's favorite thing, a play-off round.

Arsenal would already have one hand on the Mythical Second Place Trophy if not for last weekend's slip-up; as it is, they have to win out and hope Manchester City drop points in order to schedule the Second Place Parade. But, that's for later in the month; tomorrow, there's business to be done.

Arsenal have fielded the same side for four consecutive games now, and there's no reason to think that tomorrow will be different; if it ain't broke, etc. Or however you say that in French. Hopefully, last week's hiccup put a kick up some collective backsides; Arsenal certainly have the quality to beat the most pedestrian United side since, well, since last season, but if they want to win at Old Traffford, they have to play with more urgency than they did at Swansea.

For United, their health picture is a bit less rosy. Michael Carrick is out, as are Luke Shaw and Wayne Rooney, and both Jonny Evans and Rafael da Silva are doubts. All of which means RvP gets the start, probably, so that's a thing.

Three more games. Nine more points to be had. Let's get the first three tomorrow.