Arsenal v Manchester United: Defeat for either side at the Emirates will see more 'crisis' talk

Neither side can afford another slip up if they are to meet their respective ambitions of Premier League glory or Champions League qualification

Arsenal will look to recover from their humiliating 5-1 defeat to Liverpool when they welcome Manchester United to the Emirates on Wednesday, in a match that could prove crucial for both teams in determining where their Premier League aspirations lie.

The Gunners’ title hopes took a serious blow on Saturday, as the Reds ran rampant to clock up a four-goal lead in under 20 minutes. In all seriousness, they were lucky to concede just four as Liverpool had another three clear-cut chances to score, and they were soon 5-0 down in the second-half before a late Mikel Arteta penalty gave them nothing more than a consolation.

The result meant that Chelsea leaped from third to first, given Manchester City’s failings at Norwich, and despite Arsenal still being well placed to continue their push for silverware for the first time in nearly a decade, they have shown signs recently that they could find the next two months a real struggle as they take on the best that both the Premier League and Europe has to offer.

Slightly lower down the table, United’s attempt to salvage a fourth-placed finish could have really done with a Liverpool loss, but they have far more problems at home to sort out before they can even think of making a late charge for Champions League qualification. The late Darren Bent equaliser in Sunday’s 2-2 draw against Fulham saw United slip a worrying nine points behind their long-time rivals, and they are edging towards the point of no return – where even Europa League qualification could prove hard to come by.

A victory over the Gunners would send out a serious message that Moyes and his side are not done yet. The £37.1m addition of Juan Mata has looked a step in the right direction given his three assists in as many games, but the question remains whether he was the type of player United really needed. Further questions arose at Old Trafford on Sunday when Mata began the match on the wing, a position that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho decided he wouldn’t make the grade in.

History is on United’s side heading into the Emirates encounter though, as the Gunners have beaten the Red Devils just once in their last 13 attempts. However, as the club’s history may be on their side, Moyes’s history certainly isn’t. The Scot is yet to beat one of the so-called ‘big four’ (Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool) when on his travels, and the philosophy of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ doesn’t appear to have done his luck any good at all.

Should Liverpool secure an expected win at Fulham on Wednesday, a United defeat would leave them 12 points away from Champions League football next term, and when they slipped that many points behind the league leaders, talk of a title defence was quickly ended.

In effect, the match against Arsenal is one they simply cannot afford to lose, and with Arsene Wenger’s squad set to come out with a point to prove of their own, the fixture could prove to be a nervy affair. That’s not taking in the always frosty reception that former Arsenal captain Robin van Persie receives whenever he returns to north London, which always adds something to these games since the Dutchman made the switch in his personal hunt for silverware.

While Arsenal have been labelled a “big horse” in a two-and-a-half horse race (according to the ever-entertaining Mourinho and his “little horse league leaders”), they could end up falling short before they’ve even reached the last. It is not so farfetched to say that Arsenal could lose against United plus next month’s important fixtures against Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, and immediately they would have let 15 points slip through their grasp since the Liverpool mauling and see their title hopes ended for another year.

Read more:
Moyes: We gave away a diabolical second goal
Ozil's disappearing act a sign that title talk doesn't add up
News
people
News
people And here is why...
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsWelsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
News
Destructive discourse: Jewish boys look at anti-Semitic graffiti sprayed on to the walls of the synagogue in March 2006, near Tel Aviv
peopleAt the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Time to stop running: At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity

Time to stop running

At the start of Yom Kippur and with anti-Semitism flourishing, one Jew can no longer ignore his identity
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence