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Manchester United Fixtures

WIll United Add to Arsenal’s Early Struggles?

Manchester United v. Arsenal. Does it need an introduction? Not really (unless you’re a novice football fan), but here comes one nonetheless. Since Arsene Wenger took the reins at Arsenal in 1996, the two sides have fought head-to-head for honors on a regular basis. Along the way, there’ve been classic matches, unforgettable moments (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and the development of the rivalry within the rivalry between Wenger and Fergie.

In recent seasons, that rivalry has seemingly become much friendlier, and at the same time, United have soared while Arsenal have stuttered, and the rivalry has shifted greatly in United’s favor. Since defeating United on penalties to win the 2005 FA Cup final, Arsenal have gone trophyless. In the same time period, United have won four league titles, a Champions League title, the Club World Cup, three Carling Cup titles, and a trio of Community Shield crowns.

On the pitch head-to-head, it’s a similar story. Before May’s 1-0 defeat at the Emirates, United hadn’t lost to Arsenal in the previous seven meetings between the two sides, and they’d gone 8-1-1 in the last 10.

Given the starts that each side has had to the new season, it’s no surprise that United are heavily favored to continue that run.

Along with spending big in the summer, United are reaping the benefits of the extensive Premier League experience academy products Danny Welbeck and Tom Cleverley gained on loan last season. After collecting the Community Shield for the second straight year and the fourth time in five years with a thrilling second-half comeback against City, United have opened the Premier League season with back-to-back wins over West Brom and Tottenham.

As for Arsenal, they’ve made a quality addition in former Lille star Gervinho, but they’ve subtracted arguably their two best players in the last couple of weeks, selling Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri to Barcelona and City, respectively.

As if the almost-constant speculation and eventual sale of those two wasn’t enough to deal with, Arsenal’s start to the Premier League season has been forgettable, with more red cards (2) than points (1) in two matches.

That being said, these are the kinds of matches where records, statistics, and recent form can be thrown out the window, and to their credit, Arsenal come in with some positive momentum, having beaten Udinese to qualify for the group stage of the Champions League.

However, it’s hard to see anything other than a United win today, and it should be a comfortable one at that.

Prediction: Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal