It was once the fixture in the English footballing calendar. Manchester United vs Arsenal, a rivalry etched into Premier League history that invariably carried the tag of “title decider”.
From Sir Alex Ferguson versus Arsene Wenger, Roy Keane versus Patrick Vieira, the Treble winners versus the Invincibles, huge personalities collided, competed and conquered for nine seasons where the title moved exclusively between Manchester and north London.
Man Utd vs Arsenal
September 30, 2019, 7:00pm
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Manchester United host Arsenal on Monday Night Football and although the age-old Premier League rivalry may no longer possess its heavyweight standing, it’s likely to have significant bearing on their prospects of returning to the Champions League as pressure mounts on both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery.
It undoubtedly remains one of the standout fixtures on the Premier League calendar and the two sides will meet in the knowledge that victory would inflict a damaging body blow on their erstwhile rivals.
In isolation, a win for either side would have an immediate impact on the shape of the league table. Were Arsenal to prosper by registering their first league win at Old Trafford since 2006, Emery’s side would underline their credentials to finish behind Liverpool and Manchester City in a coveted top-four spot.
Conversely, a United victory would propel Solskjaer’s side level with the Gunners and quell the storm clouds which have gathered ominously in the wake of last Sunday’s defeat at West Ham. But both managers will be fully aware of the wider ranging repercussions a decisive result could spring.
Following a bright start to the season, first United and then Arsenal have stumbled in their pursuit of a top-four berth and Emery and Solskjaer have subsequently faced the first serious rumblings of discontent about their tenures during the last couple of weeks.
Manchester United and Arsenal meet in front of the Sky Sports cameras with their respective seasons at a crossroads. Where they eventually end up remains to be seen, but events at Old Trafford could provide a telling indication as to the direction they are heading.
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Rare home comforts
Manchester United have offered supporters a crumb of comfort during their inconsistent start to the season by reserving their best performances and results for Old Trafford.
But with six of their next seven matches after Arsenal’s visit coming away from home, a big performance and a welcome boost to morale is essential ahead of a daunting month on the road, where they are yet to taste victory this season.