Considering Monday’s fixture at Old Trafford we’ve looked at the statistics for Arsenal vs. Manchester United fixtures in the Premier League era, and added in some video highlights too.
Both sides have a rich history of Premier League rivalry since Arsène Wenger’s arrival at the club in 1996, with some classic matches and infamous incidents. The Van Nistelrooy penalty miss and Keown’s celebrations, the Wiltord title winner at Old Trafford, or Man Utd’s 6-1 victory against a central defence of Stepanovs and Luzhny were all defining moments. Add into that various tunnel fracas, the Keane Vieira rivalry, pizza throwing, and last season’s debacle which saw Wenger sent to the stands, and you have an all action fixture.
Arguably the rivalry has diminished in recent years as Arsenal have slipped away from consistent top two finishes, but the fixture is still one of the most infamous in world football.
Old Trafford has never been an easy ground to play at, and for Arsenal there is a contrast in home and away form, as well as the goals per game at Old Trafford. The graph below shows the scores from league games at Old Trafford since 1992/93.
Arsenal are not the most prolific scorers at Old Trafford in the league. In fact they have never scored more than one goal against Man Utd at Old Trafford in a Premier League game.
The team has scored just eight goals, compared to Man Utd’s 24, and all of these goals have come under the guidance of Arsene Wenger.
The eight Arsenal scorers are listed with video highlights linked below:
1997/98: Overmars 1-0 Win
1998/99: Anelka 1-1 Draw
1999/00: Ljungberg 1-1 Draw
2000/01: Henry 6-1 Loss
2001/02: Wiltord 1-0 Win
2006/07: Adebayor 1-0 Win
2007/08: Adebayor 2-1 Loss
2009/10: Arshavin 2-1 Loss
There was a rather large goal drought between 2002/03 and 2006/07 when the Gunners did not score at Old Trafford in the league. This was Wenger’s worst run, matching the Premier League record before he arrived in 1996, of four seasons without scoring at OT.
This suggests that historically Arsenal need a clean sheet to take three points away to Man Utd, something which hasn’t occurred regularly this season. Indeed Arsenal have conceded 18 goals in their 16 games already.
Winning is not an impossibility though, and under Arsène the team has managed it three times, drawing four times. Interestingly in Arsenal’s three title winning seasons they never lost at Old Trafford twice winning 1997/98, 2001/02 and drawing in 2003/04 the season that saw Arsenal go unbeaten as the Invincibles.
In terms of points, we’ve compared the statistics on home and away points for Arsenal sides since the inception of the Premier League. Red are points at home, yellow are points away, both games for each season are shown.
Arsenal’s form against Man Utd has varied over the 18 Premier League seasons. Since Wenger’s arrival the club has fared better than before. Not only have all the goals at Old Trafford come under Wenger, but the Arsenal have taken markedly more points, albeit not many away from home.
Man Utd are strong at Old Trafford, and Arsenal under Wenger have taken just 13 points in 14 attempts in the league, an average of just under one per game.
At home, Arsenal have fared rather better, taking 27 points in 14 games under Arsène’s leadership, which is closer to two per game.
In the Wenger era over all Arsenal and Man Utd league games both Wenger and Fergie are dead level on average points taken, Wenger averaging 1.36 per games, and Fergie averaging 1.36 per match.
Ironically since 2006/07 Arsenal have taken more points against United, even though the team has been finishing lower, in either third or fourth place. But still Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the league since 2006/07 with the 1-0 win, Adebayor scoring in the 86th minute.
That season saw the real emergence of Wenger’s new generation and the following season 2007/08 was the first proper title challenge for several years. The improved results by this team came to an abrupt halt last season when Arsenal lost both home and away fixtures.
So historically Premier League fixtures at Old Trafford have seen mixed results for both sides, but with Arsenal’s scoring kept to a minimum. Alex Ferguson’s sides generally getting the better of Arsène Wenger’s in the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.
There is no doubt that the result is important to both teams. On the other hand this is just one game in 38, and it can be too easy to overplay the importance of one match.
Finally here’s a little memento of the mutual respect between the two managers:
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