It’s a busy weekend of Premier League action coming up this weekend with the top two having winnable home games, Man City taking on Watford and Liverpool facing Burnley, the focus of many peoples attention may well be on the race for third and fourth place with Chelsea and Spurs facing tricky games with Wolves and Southampton respectively.
The other two teams battling for those places face each other this weekend in London as Arsenal welcome Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium in what should be a cracking encounter between two attack-minded teams.
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Let’s take a look back now at some classic Arsenal v Manchester United encounters over the years, before we preview the big game this weekend and give you our tips on the bets to back in the big clash at the Emirates.
Arsenal v Manchester United – A Longstanding Rivalry
Ever since these two teams first met back in October 1894, when they were known as Woolwich Arsenal and Newton Heath, this has been one of the greatest rivalries in English football history. There have been many classic encounters between the teams but we have picked our selection of games from the archive as examples of these classic encounters.
May 1979 – FA Cup Final – Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United
Still regarded as one of the most exciting finishes to an FA Cup Final in history, for 85 minutes, things seemed to be going all Arsenal’s way. Two first half strikes from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton (who would later sign for United) put the Gunners 2-0 up and it seemed the Cup would be on its way to Highbury.
However, United staged a remarkable comeback after Gordon McQueen netted a goal back on 85 minutes and just three minutes later Sammy McIlroy bundled his way past several Arsenal players to slot the ball home and bring United level.
There was a twist in the tail however as straight from the kick off Graham Rix fed Liam Brady whose teasing cross was missed by United keeper Gary Bailey allowing Alan Sunderland to slide in at the back post and turn the ball home to clinch a dramatic last-minute victory for Arsenal.
Nov 1990 – League Cup – Arsenal 2-6 Manchester United
Arsenal may have won the league in season 1990-91, losing just one game and conceding just 18 goals, but they came unstuck in the League Cup as they were thrashed 6-2 at home by a rampant Manchester United. Clayton Blackmore gave United the lead drilling home from 25 yards before Mark Hughes precise finish doubled their lead. Lee Sharpe curled home a superb third just before half time to give United a 3-0 lead.
Alan Smith pulled Arsenal one back in the second half and then the Gunners added another to make it 3-2, again from Smith. However this just spurred United on and two further goals from Lee Sharpe to complete a memorable hat-trick and a late Danny Wallace strike handed United an incredible and richly deserved 6-2 victory.
Apr 1999 – FA Cup Semi Final Replay – Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United
The game that will forever be known as the Ryan Giggs semifinal was one of the most topsy turvy games of all the matches between the teams. David Beckham gave United the lead with a superb swerving shot past David Seaman but Arsenal equalised in the second half thanks to a sublime finish from Dennis Bergkamp. Five minutes later, United lost their captain Roy Keane as he was issued a second yellow card.
In the last minute, 10-man United conceded a penalty and its seemed Arsenal would be on their way to Wembley, however Peter Schmeichel saved well from Dennis Bergkamp’s spot kick and the game instead went into extra time.
With the extra man Arsenal were expected to dominate but in the 109th minute, Ryan Giggs picked up the ball on the halfway line and weaved his way past the Arsenal defence before smashing the shot into the roof of the net to give United an improbable victory in the most spectacular of fashions.
May 2002 – Premier League – Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal
Having already secured the FA Cup the previous weekend with a 2-0 win over Chelsea, Arsenal completed the League and Cup double in style by defeating the previous champions on their home ground of Old Trafford.
The game was not all that remarkable, and it was Sylvain Wiltord’s goal in the second half that handed Arsenal their 12th win in a row in the league. They would extend that with a 4-3 last day victory over Everton at Highbury in a game where they received the league title that they had won up at Old Trafford in the week.
August 2011 – Premier League – Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal
In one of the most sobering games ever for Arsene Wenger as Arsenal boss, Manchester United inflicted this thumping defeat on Arsenal at Old Trafford at the start of the 2011 season. Danny Welbeck and Ashley Young put United 2-0 ahead before Wayne Rooney added a third. Just before half time, Theo Walcott pulled one back for the Gunners.
However United exploded in a six minute spell with Rooney, Nani and Park Ji-Sung all scoring to make it 6-1 to United before Robin Van Persie made it 6-2. However, Carl Jenkinson was sent off in the 77th minute allowing Rooney to complete his hat trick from the penalty spot on 82 and then Ashley Young added further humiliation to the scoreline by adding the eighth goal in the final minute.
This Weekend’s Clash
This weekends game comes on the back of two matches between the teams already this season. They fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the Premier League at Old Trafford, before United managed to defeat Arsenal 3-1 in the FA Cup Fourth Round back in January, at the Emirates.
Arsenal will definitely feel that they owe their main rivals one for that loss and they come into this game in decent form and with only a couple of players ruled out through injury, though with a notable issue in the right back area of the team, something which United will no doubt look to exploit.
United though have a lengthy injury list with a number of key first team players out injured although Paul Pogba will likely return to the team after sitting out the game with Paris St Germain in the Champions League in midweek through suspension. Romelu Lukaku has netted four goals in his last two league games for United, which means he will likely be their main attacking threat.
Full Time Result – Arsenal v Man Utd – Draw 5/2
It’s hard to pick these two teams apart given their current predicament and as much as I know Arsenal want to win this game, United’s away record under Solskjaer is excellent but I feel the Red Devils are a couple of key men short of winning this game, hence I am backing the draw.
Correct Score – Arsenal 1-1 Man Utd – 13/2
9 of the last 11 matches between these teams have seen both teams find the net and I would expect that to continue on Sunday given the problems both sides have in defence and the attacking talent available to both. However, I think this will be a tighter affair than both previous games this season and a 1-1 scoreline sounds about right.