Arsene Wenger: Arsenal v Man United, no longer final of the championship
Arsene Wenger has conceded meetings between Arsenal and Manchester United are no longer the "final of the championship" but believes the fixture is still crucial to the Premier League
Arsene Wenger has conceded meetings between Arsenal and Manchester United are no longer the "final of the championship" but believes the fixture is still crucial to the Premier League. In and around the turn on the century, Sir Alex Ferguson's United and Wenger's Gunners were the teams to beat in England and took nine consecutive titles between them from 1996 to 2004.
Since then the emergence of teams like Chelsea and Manchester City has seen the two-horse race for the Premier League widen, while Liverpool, Tottenham and Leicester can also lay claim to being in the title picture in recent years. That means the meetings between United and Arsenal are no longer pivotal in deciding the destination of the trophy. United travel to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday with the Gunners having won the corresponding fixture towards the end of last season - Wenger's first competitive victory over Jose Mourinho coming at the 16th attempt.
They both go into this meeting hoping for a victory in an attempt to keep a hold on the coattails of runaway leaders City. But Wenger admits the clash is no longer decisive even if he is still keen to get another win over his old foes. "No, not as much," he replied when asked if the game defines the season as much as it once did. "We are early in the season and during some seasons when I was here it was the final of the championship but that is not the case any more."