Image by Gordon Flood
By Anhad Imaan
After a week of international fixtures, football fans from all over the world are eagerly waiting to switch their televisions to witness some breathtaking Premier League football once again this weekend. One of this weekend’s highlight fixtures is undoubtedly going to be Manchester United Vs Arsenal, scheduled to be held at the Old Trafford on Saturday, the 19th of November. These matches between Manchester United and Arsenal have in recent years, and perhaps in the history of the Premier League itself, have been among the most competitive ones. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s arrival in the League in 1996, took everyone by surprise. It wasn’t long before the Frenchman won 3 Premier League titles and 4 FA Cups, winning the double (the Cup and the League) twice. His arrival established Arsenal as Manchester United’s most fierce rivals.
Although Manchester United are the more successful club in terms of trophies won and with a higher win percentage against their fierce rivals, Arsenal have in recent seasons proved to be the better side, with the North Londoners finishing above United in every season since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013. In many ways this fixture echoes the rivalry between Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, one that existed for a decade in the Premier League. With former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho now in charge at the Old Trafford, Arsene Wenger is inevitably going to be in the limelight given how popular his bitter rivalry with Mourinho is all over the globe.
Both teams are expected to try and win this won, given Liverpool’s astonishing form and Chelsea’s 5-0 demolition of Everton in their last Premier League fixture, with competition on the top of the table a lot tougher than we have seen in recent seasons.
Arsenal go into this game having won 7 of their opening 11 fixtures, lost one and drawn three with a total of 24 points. Home side Manchester United are six points behind their rivals having won five, lost three and drawn three. Jose Mourinho’s side have recorded a lower points tally at this stage of the season than Luis Van Gaal’s Manchester United team last season.
The two sides have met a total of 64 times (including FA cup, League cup and other cup fixtures since 1996) and 48 times since the inception of the Premier League.
In the Premier League, Manchester United have won 23 times while Arsenal have won a total of 13 times, with the remaining 16 fixtures ending in draws.
Since 1996, Manchester United have won 8 times against Arsenal in fixtures other than the ones in the Premier League while Arsenal have won 6 times, and 4 of these fixtures have resulted in draws.
Wayne Rooney is the all- time top scorer in these fixtures having scored 10 goals against Arsenal, followed by Thierry Henry with 8. Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford since September 2006.
Paul Pogba, Michael Carrick, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
New signings Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba are yet to fully showcase their stealth, and the reasons why they are called the biggest signings of the summer transfer window, although we have already seen the United duo show their quality in some of the fixtures this season. United veteran midfielder Michael Carrick has regained playing time in the starting 11, and is likely to partner Pogba in midfield, and is also likely to be a key orchestrator for his side from deep positions.
Mesut Ozil, Laurent Koscielny, Alexis Sanchez, Petr Cech.
With both sides likely to play a quick counter attacking game, Arsenal keeper Petr Cech, widely regarded as one of the best and most composed shot stoppers in the world, will have to be on his toes. In front of him , Arsenal skipper Laurent Koscielny will have to be at his best, organizing his partners in defence and keeping an eye on United youngster Marcus Rashford should he start. Up front, Mesut Ozil will be expected to do his magic in the final third and from within Arsenal’s own half, while Arsenal fans around the globe are praying that Alexis Sanchez remains fit for this one, with reports claiming that the Chilean could miss this match with injury.
Expect an energetic, quick and heavily physical game, fans! With Mourinho and Wenger in the stands, there’s no reason this is not going to be a heated fixture.
Time: 2:00 pm, (BST), 6:00 pm, (IST)
Match Location: Old Trafford Stadium, Sir Matt Busby Way, Stresford, Manchester M16 0RA, UK