The days of the epic rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal has gone for sometime now. The time when the matches between the Reds of Manchester and the North London club will decide the title race no longer exist. With United sitting in seventh in the league and Arsenal just a place above, this clash which will take on Saturday will be far from a title decider.
In the late nineties and the early 2000, Manchester United and Arsenal were the two dominant clubs in England. Since 1996 to 2004, no team other then the Red Devils nor the Gunners won the premier league. During that period United managed to win six and Arsenal won three BPL titles.
It was the cash rich Chelsea owned by Roman Abramovich under the management of the ‘Special One’ Jose Mourinho broke the nine year jinx to win the title at the 2004 season. Since then, other clubs have came into the frame with Manchester City winning two league titles in the last three seasons. So the question is, as the increased competition taken away the limelight from this grand fixture or did these two teams collapsed at the wrong time which other clubs took advantage of?
United to its credit has always been up there as a title contender. Only after Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, the club experienced a shocking collapse in the league. Arsenal on the other hand have not won a league title since the invincible season in 2003-04. The real reason behind Arsenal’s fall from grace is yet to be known. Despite of it, the clash on Saturday night at Emirates bare great importance for both the teams for various reasons.
Why United need the victory?
United, after enduring one of the worst season of their life time last time around, getting back among the big boys is very important. Especially, after the slow start the club has witnessed this season, this becomes a must win game, as it not only gives them three points, but also takes three away from their direct rival. Considering the fact that the club had spent over 150 million in the summer, finishing in the top four and returning to Europe is the minimum requirement for their manager Van Gaal. So winning games of these magnitude is important for United.
Why Arsenal need the victory?
Unlike United, Arsenal had one of their usual season last time around. As it happened in the past ten years, Arsenal despite not challenging for the title, have always been a top four club, which they also managed last season. So with big signings such as Sanchez and Welbeck, many expected Arsenal to improve, however for some reason they are under performing this season. Hence, Arsenal’s poor start to the campaign is difficult to understand. Having managed only 17 points from 11 league matches, a win especially at home against their direct rival is a must for the Gunners.
This may not witness the old epic clashes between Roy Keane and Patrick Viera or the touch line heated exchanges between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, nonetheless the match bears great importance for both teams, so whoever wins it, will come out of the match with great confidence. On the other hand, the losers will find it hard to pick themselves up. With a draw not good enough for both teams, a tense battle can be expected on Saturday night.
Image courtesy: Telegraph