How many of Arsenal’s team would make it into Manchester United’s starting eleven?

As much as the end to the current season could be extremely exciting and successful for Arsenal, they are still not quite where they used to be as a club. There was a time, of course, when they were unbeatable. There was a time when it was only the Gunners and Manchester United fighting it out for the league title.

So, what has happened in the last few years which has prevented Arsenal being one of the ‘big two’? For eight seasons in a row, Arsenal finished no lower than second in the Premier League. This was until the last three when their final positions have been 4th, 4th and 3rd.

One way to see just how far away Arsenal are from being Manchester United’s main challengers again could be to see how the individual players compare. How does Arsenal’s full strength team match up to the best team the Champions can put out?

This is something I would like your opinion on, so without too much analysis, let’s take a look at my views:

Edwin Van der Sar v Manuel Almunia – Has to be Van der Sar unfortunately.

Gary Neville v Bakari Sagna – Personally, I’d rather have Sagna in my team.

Patrice Evra v Gael Clichy – For consistency purposes, it has to be Evra.

Rio Ferdinand v William Gallas – This is a close one, but I think the odds would be in favour of Ferdinand.

Nemanja Vidic v Kolo Toure – For similar reasons that Evra won, Vidic is the winner.

Cristiano Ronaldo v Theo Walcott – For what he has achieved in the last couple of years, it’s going to be Ronaldo.Ask me again this time next year though.

Ryan Giggs v Andrei Arshavin – Giggs is still a decent player, but for creativity and variation the Russian wins this one for me.

Michael Carrick v Cesc Fabregas – No competition, Fabregas all the way.

Paul Scholes v Denilson – A number of players could fill this position for Arsenal and all of them will be as good as/better than Scholes at some point, but for now, the former England man has to get the nod.

Wayne Rooney v Robin van Persie – For me, this is the closest one of the lot. In fact, I can’t choose between them. This one is a draw.

Dimitar Berbatov v Emmanuel Adebayor – Neither have been fantastic this season. However, the Manchester United man (and Carlos Tevez) has produced the goods more often.

The end result for this ‘experiment’ is Manchester United 7.5 v 3.5 Arsenal. Whether this means much, I’m not sure. However, it does suggest that Arsenal are just two or three established high quality players short of challenging for the Premier League again.

This could happen in the next couple of years when the likes of Walcott, Clichy and Denilson really kick on as players – you never know. It certainly makes a change from the days of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, or Tony Adams and Ian Wright and co when Arsenal would have been much closer to Manchester United in this type of analysis.

Something to think about isn’t it? Let me know your thoughts.

By Thomas Rooney

35 thoughts on “How many of Arsenal’s team would make it into Manchester United’s starting eleven?

  1. YON

    Your comparisions are wrong. You compare Scholes to Denilson and you say Scholes wins???? Will you be confident if Wenger started our game vs City with Cesc and Scholes in the middle??? or Cesc and Denilson??? That should answer the question as to who is better. RVP vs Rooney??? Are you joking? How in the world is Rooney anywhere near RVP in terms of skill, goal scoring, goal creating/assists??? Clichy vs Evra??? Who won the PFA spot for Left-back last year and what is the age difference??? Evra is 27 and Clichy is 23 and yet Clichy is still better (nobody can do those dribbles of his). Its Rio vs Toure and Gallas vs Vidic and not Rio vs Gallas and Toure vs Vidic as you put it. The first way… its Toure who wins over Rio (technically) and Vidic beats Gallas. Almunia vs Van Der Saar??? Almunia is rated as the 2nd best goalkeeper by actim stats.

    1. Gautam

      if your arg is age then……
      vidic is younger than kolo or gallas so shld be not as good by your arg
      ron younger than andreiy
      rooney younger than rvp
      scholes is 10 years past his peak and is a spl case.
      so its not that clear cut to compare 2 teams.
      arsenal plyrs are better technically on an avg.
      man utd plyrs have that extra will to win .
      so its a draw.

    2. phil

      Football is a team spot and u will note that Wenger always emphasises on team spirit and similar over the past few years. Comparing player for player is only one dimension of how good the team is but is not the only way to compare. If the team stays together for another 2 years, this team can start to compete for the EPL title right down to the finishing line.

  2. Patty

    Its a matter of preference, apart from Rooney and maybe Ronaldo, I don’t think Man utd have players who are clearly better than ours, its all very tight. Plus Man utd players get more plaudits than they deserve a lot of the time whereas the opposite can be said for many of the Arsenal players. Therefore many of the Man utd players reputation precedes them.

  3. It is all definetly very tight – I think that Clichy is much better than Evra, and I wouldn’t pick Scholes or Rooney – dirty bastards!
    Thing is that Man Utd’s team have a core who have all been there for at least 5 years – our team has one player left over from the 03/04 invincibles – Kolo Toure.
    Experience counts!

  4. Andes

    quite silly an article. Didn’t we beat Man U this season already?

    how about asking this – how many Man U players do u think could make it at Arsenal?

  5. JULIUS (arsenal4ever)

    All Arsenal players would turndown man. utd squad.

    They are even bigger than those of man utd. Who of these can fit in the Arsenal squad, making who to sit? – Nani, Anderson, where can they play.

  6. Great post. I have to say I disagree about the Rooney vs Van Persie. In previous seasons I would have given it to Rooney simply because RVP got injured after 10 odd games. However this season, Van Persie has been our most consistent player and perhaps the biggest success in our unbeaten run in the league at present.

    With regards to Berbatov v Adebayor, the Bulgarian can pull off goals of the highest quality. Ade on the other hand, gives the added option of height, sometimes a must in the Prem. Both players don’t work as hard so this one is a draw for me.

    I think Almunia has been more consistent than Van de Sar. The ex-dutch international has not had many saves to make thanks to the brilliant defence in front of him. So Almunia would win there for me.

  7. CruEL


    What sort of analysis is that?

    Can we give you Adelosedaballyor for free? I’ll drive him up there myself.

  8. ???

    from an honest observation of games here my team and ill explain as i go. remember this is for this current season only…
    almunia over VanDerSer – as outstanding as VDS can be he is like James and is very prone to mistakes. he is just fortunate of havin probably the best central partnership in the world. without them he would NOT have had no record.

    Sagna over all man-u right backs. very sound defensively and good attacking wise.

    rio over toure anyday. better in air, better at reading game, better postitioning, consistant

    vidic over gallas (tight). but for same reasons as rio.

    evra over clichy (tight) but this is due to consistancy as they are one in the same.

    arshavin over ronaldo (very tight). ronaldo has been good but hasnt been as arshavin has been since he joined in jan. both can score goals, moments of magic, but arshavin i feel will create more assists also.

    its denilson over scholes. denilson has shown ability to carry team while doing dirty work allowing those around him to attack.

    carrick over fab. (dnt forget based on this season). im sorry but even before cesc was injured he was playin below par (minus 1 or 2 killer passes)

    nasri over (any man u left midfield). can do it all, create, scored, set piece, pace and is more mobile

    rooney over VanP. rooney can take game by scruff of neck and carry team. is commited for 90mins (VanP fades in/out and make 1 moment of magic).

    Ade over berb. both have been shit but ade is better target man.

    captain- rio

  9. Lanesra Too

    In yer dreams, Manure. None would quit for you so none would try for your eleven. The Prof doesn’t breed arrogance which is your weakest link and might be your downfall. Who would we take from Manure? I’d have liked Berb last year but no longer. I rate Giggs as the best Man U player – ever! If he’d played for England, we’d have silverware by now. Our loss, no one’s gain.

  10. WC

    Hmm there’s some apples and oranges arguments in there. Personally Adebayor is a better all round player. While Berbatov has scored more goals (though crap as of late and definitely not justifyning his 30M price tag) he’s a lazy sluggish player. Adebayor is like the poor man’s Rooney with less finnishing this season. Both have a high work rate and typically come from deep. to be honest I think Fergie would prefer Adebayor to Bera simply because Adebayor draws more defenders o him and would allow more space for Rooney to operate. As for Scholes/Denilson – very different games, very different positions and duties. Scholes may be more Diaby than Denilson.

  11. Cesar

    from what u guys wrote i can see that u don´t give nasri any credits. He is one of our best players and one of the best prospects in the world.He had been doing extremely great for us especialy when we didn´t have no one to create besides him do to injury.

  12. aqqe

    Totally useless but very, very interesting post! I love these.

    VDS / Almunia – VDS, unfortunately. Not by too much though, Almunia is a totally different keeper to the one that started the campaign.

    Evra / Clichy – Clichy. Gael had a rough patch of about 2 months lately where he didn’t play well, but he seems to be out of that now and we all know who got in the team of the year last season. And deservedly so.

    Rio / Toure – Rio.

    Vidic / Gallas – Vidic, but it’s close.

    G.Neville / Sagna – Sagna, easily.

    C.Ronaldo / T.Walcott – C.Ronaldo, but then again he’s far from the form of last season, and he doesn’t contribute much at all during games apart from the occasional goal. Ronaldo is a very overrated player, but you can’t choose anyone over the world player of the year.

    Carrick / Cesc – Cesc, easy.

    Scholes / Denilson – Same as you said, Arsenal have about 3-4 players in the squad that equals Denilson ability and they will all surpass what Scholes is now (perhaps not in terms of medals won though) but Scholes wins because of experience.

    Giggs / Arshavin – In terms of ability Arshavin wins easily, and add that Giggs cant play frequently and this one is a landslide, even with Giggs’ experience in the calculation.

    Rooney / RvP – I agree, draw.

    Berbatov / Ade – Draw. Berbatov is suddenly hugely overrated because he joined Man. U, his performances haven’t been that good. Ade of last season wins this one comfortably, but we all know that Ade of last season has gone missing. So draw.

    1. Joss

      I think all the top 4 teams are very close player for player – however Arsenal have had so many injuries we have been left lagging. But if we had a fully fit 1st XI (something we haven’t had for as far as I can remember since our unbeaten season) this is how I see us measure up:

      Almunia vs Van der Sar = Van der Sar

      Sagna vs Neville = Sagna

      Clichy vs Evra = draw

      Toure vs Vidic = Vidic

      Gallas vs Rio = Rio

      Nasri vs Giggs = Nasri

      Cesc vs Hargreaves (when fit) = Cesc

      Arshavin vs Scholes = Arshavin

      Rosicky vs Ronaldo = Ronaldo

      RVP vs Rooney = Draw

      Adebayor vs Berbatov = Berbatov

      Lets just hope we can have a fully fit team by the time we play Manchester (maybe 4 games if we meet them in CL and FA) and show them the true meaning of attacking football!

  13. Sam

    how are all of you saying berbatov beats adebayor first of all ade is african player of the year second he scored 30 goals last season somethink berbatov has never done also berbatov is older than ade and berbatov was 30 mil whilst ade was 3 mil (WHAT a bargain) now worth a good 40 mil and if you look at the stats ade has 8 goals in 22 pl games whilst berba has 8 in 23 pl games overall ade has 12 goals in 24 games this season whilst berba has 13 in 29 games altogether its clear to see adebayor is better

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  15. Jon

    Yon are you fuckin tripping? How the hell does our defence outstrip uniteds when our goals conceded has been horrendous?Clichy better than evra? So fuckin what if clichy is younger, those runs he does means fuck all. He never scores or assists from them. Clichy fucked our season last year at west brom and has done it this season.

    What a blind pro evo manager you are!

  16. vieirasboots

    Wow as pointless as the comparisons may be this post provoked reaction eh?

    If only football were this simple the best collection of individuals aren’t a blueprint for certain success or we may as well step aside and let chelsea utd and soon city slog it out.

    The q in its simplest form – how many arsenal players would get into utd’s first choice eleven on current form and playing utds way – they defend as a team better than us and rely on technical brilliance going forward aligned with gettin in the box goin forward more often than us, well its at a push 3 –
    Almunia no better or worse than van der sar technically but had fewer howlers this year and prob dreams of havin a team in front of him who defend like utd. Sagna consistently better than the numerous rb’s played at utd this season.
    Nasri possibly our best player this season which says a lot for how we trod water until jan.

    Genius that Cesc may be we’re talkin this season so give it up lads Fletcher would be picked before Cesc.

    As for Clichy costing us the league at west brom last year! He could easily have got playa of the year from me. The reason clichy’s disappointing this year was the quality he showed last. Personally I thought birmingham was last yrs turning point not just for that eduardo assault but for the pen against clichy that wasn’t a pen.

    Would I swap our players for utd’s??
    Nah cos I honestly believe given time this lot could be special

  17. Dannyboy

    Absolute rubbish this. It’s fun to compare but it really doesn’t mean anything. What does it prove? That united have slightly better individual talent, who by the way are all at their peak. If you look at Arsenal’s squad, it is full of young talents which are all emerging. Compare the sides in a few years and the score will be the other way round. I’m beginning to think Arsenal’s squad is really improving and isn’t far from being the best. Looking at the starting line ups used in the article lets have a look at the rest of the squad.
    GK….Fabianksi v Foster – both very good young keepers, Foster probably edges it due to consistency
    RB….Eboue v Rafael – I personally don’t like Eboue but on his very best day he could match the Rafael. Rafael will be much better soon.
    CB….Djourou v Evans – I think djourou is one of the best emerging CBs in the game and isn’t far from the 1st team. Evans is good but I would have Djourou
    CB….Silvestre v Brown – When Arsenal bought him I was confused but it turns out he’s a good buy when he is fit bringing experience. Brown is out of favour atm so I would go with Silvestre
    LB….A.Traore(loan to Pompey)/Gibbs v O’shea- i would have the two younger, quicker and more offensive Arsenal boys over O’shea anyday
    RM….Rosicky v Park- I like Park for his work ethic but he can’t match Rosicky for skill and technique.
    CM….Diaby v Fletcher- Diaby wins this all day long
    CM….Song v Anderson- For all the talent Anderson has I HATE his attitude. He just edges it over Song who is very underrated.
    LM….Nasri v Nani- No contest. Nasri easily takes this one
    ST….Eduardo v Tevez- Very close but Eduardo just wins because of his cool head and fantastic finishing
    ST….Bendtner v Welbeck – As much as people criticise Bendtner he isn’t THAT bad and I would have him over Welbeck.
    Not to forget players like Vela, Ramsey, Wilshere and Senderos(loan to Milan).
    End of.

  18. sualdam

    “How many of Arsenal’s team would make it into Manchester United’s starting eleven?”

    All of them – plus the guy who cleans out the toilets, and the woman who makes those nice hot rolls.

  19. James Shepherd

    This was an interesting read and done with tongue in cheek as this is clearly not a good way to compare teams.
    But Denilson in your 1st XI?
    And no Nasri surprises me.
    There’s a few hatters out there but you gotta have that. It was surely better than reading nothing….look forward to another Arsenal post from the at-least weekly ‘guest writer’ !!

  20. James Shepherd

    Ideal starting XI is:
    van Persie

    End of.

  21. Sir Cecil

    There is only one Arsenal player Ferguson might pick and that’s only because Scholes is getting old and needs a younger replacement. So Fabregas could fit in nicely. Apart from that, Man U are stronger in every position, as season-long performances, results and trophies clearly show.
    Walcott for the aging Giggs? Possibly, but a younger Giggs would never have to worry about that at all.

  22. abdikan Bare

    with me arsenal players are always the best than manchester united players. Arsenal players are more intelligent and can create more goals,i think the writer supports manchesterunited.

  23. Fabregas' Dad

    I don’t see how you can say Fabregas vs Carrick is no contest and Giggs vs Arshavin is. Arshavin’s better than Fabregas and Carrick is better than Giggs.

    Almunia’s better than Van Der Sar, and as for “Personally, I’d rather have Sagna in my team”, I see no need for ‘personally’ in that sentence, whoever thinks Gary Neville’s better than Sagna is a nutcase.

    Also, Walcott’s not a starter in our team, Nasri is (it’ll be Rosicky if he ever gets fit), and as for “Ask me again this time next year though”, I assure you, Walcott will not be a better winger than Ronaldo in a year’s time.

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