The end of Sir Alex Ferguson's imperious reign at Old Trafford was always going to precipitate a downturn and David Moyes has found himself holding the poison chalice of expectation.
Losses to Stoke City and a draw to bottom of the table Fulham have seen United slip 15 points off top spot, while they are currently 14 points shy of the Gunners, who are coming of a humiliation of their own on the weekend, a 5-1 loss away to Liverpool.
That defeat saw them lose top spot and they will be desperate to hit back against a down-and-out old rival in front of their fans in this match.
Bet365.com.au has Arsenal as $2.15 favourites, with the draw at $3.50 and Manchester United at $3.60. It would have been a long time since United started such long odds for a league match.
Manchester United's have lost away this season to three of the top four clubs, while their only other away defeat of the season came against Stoke. A defeat in this match would result in United's first hat-trick of away losses in the league since New Year's Day 1996.
Any neutral supporter watching United under Moyes will attest that they have lost their intimidation factor and Arsenal should take advantage of that in this match.
There are five other games on Thursday morning, the most intriguing of which is Newcastle United (8th) hosting Tottenham (5th).
Spurs are $2.30 favourites in that match, but haven't won a league match at St James Park since 2004.