Arsenal vs Man United five-goal thriller reignites old rivalry
Arsenal vs Man United five-goal thriller recaptures ancient rivalry.
Arsenal vs. Manchester United games lost their luster in 2011 when the Gunners arrived at Old Trafford for a Premier League game and were thrashed 8-2.
By that point, Arsenal had dropped out of the elite division of English football. At the same time, they continued to qualify for the Champions League consistently, they had not mounted a serious title push since 2008 and had not won a trophy since the FA Cup in 2005.
United were still at the peak of its powers then. Only a Didier Drogba goal that should have been flagged offside in 2010 and a late collapse against Everton in 2012 denied them what would have been an unprecedented five English titles in a row. As such, their games against an increasingly uncompetitive Arsenal became decreasingly meaningful.
Erik ten Hag’s arrival in 2022 was the first time identity and mental toughness were restored. Mikel Arteta, of course, has had a similar impact at Arsenal over a little longer period of time.
But in the intervening years, people cared less and less about Arsenal and Manchester United as a fixture. Not when Manchester City and Liverpool were starting to set new standards in the Premier League and Chelsea continued to be there or thereabouts most of the time.
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In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Premier League game was the one that everyone sought on the schedule. Both would invariably be contending for the title, and each meeting would have a significant impact on how a given season played out.
Furthermore, many of the best matches in the Premier League and/or the most memorable moments occurred when Arsenal and Manchester United competed because of the stakes involved when they joined forces.
The five-goal thriller played this past Sunday at the Emirates Stadium served as a much-needed reminder to the rest of football of what Arsenal vs. Manchester United matches should be about.
To begin with, it had value within the wider context of the season. The league leaders, who are also the favourites to win the title, were facing a quickly developing team that had been defeated just once since the beginning of October in all competitions.
The players on the pitch didn’t disappoint either. Both vibrant teams wanted to win the game and win it in the right way. They each attacked and it swung back and forth to keep both sets of fans and neutrals on the edge of their seats.
Marcus Rashford gave United the lead, but Eddie Nketiah and Bukayo Saka gave Arsenal the lead back with two of their own. Big players put on big performances. Lisandro Martinez’s goal for the Red Devils brought them to a point of parity, but Nketiah’s second goal for the Gunners at the very end of the game gave them the victory and brought them one step closer to the title.
It was about time that the games between them brought some of the old spice back, and long may it continue given the trips both teams had been on.