Just the mention of this fixture should send shivers down the spines of Premier League fans up and down the country. Whilst recent meetings between these two clubs have been one-sided affairs, with United being too strong for Arsene Wenger’s inexperienced line-up, there are enough pointers to suggest that this meeting could be different.
Arsenal have improved from the side that crumbled in the face of a serious of pinching the title last season, however will go into the game with a number of key injuries across their squad. Still minus first choice goalkeeper, left-back and captain Cesc Fabregas, the Gunners could be better prepared for a meeting with the old enemy.
United just about secured the draw which guaranteed their progress to the Champions League knockout stage as group winners, and on the whole must be very pleased with the position they now find themselves. Sitting clear of major title rivals Chelsea with a game in hand on the West Londoners, this is a real chance to stamp some authority on the title race.
Yet, with Wayne Rooney still struggling for form and with Dimitar Berbatov lurching from the sublime to the ridiculous, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have struggled to put teams away as they once would. The last game billed as a litmus test for the destination of the title race was the painfully drab Manchester derby, and with a great deal of momentum at stake, it may be a case of both sides shutting down defensively to maintain their positions ahead of the Christmas schedule.