Arsenal and Man United back on top in throwback title clash | Soccer

Arsenal and Man United back on top in throwback title clash | Soccer

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The idea of ​​Arsenal and Manchester United battling it out for the Premier League title feels like a throwback to a bygone era that many young fans will never have known.

The same goes for some players.

Arsenal striker Bukayo Saka was just 2 when Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ won the London club’s last title in 2004. He was 11 when United last won in 2013.

Both teams, however, head into Sunday’s game at the Emirates Stadium knowing victory would be a significant boost to their respective title ambitions at the other’s expense – although doubts remain over their credentials. to break Manchester City’s dominance.

Arsenal continue to confound pre-season predictions as they lead the way to the top of the table, with last week’s North London derby victory over Tottenham the latest evidence that the side coached by Mikel Arteta are real contenders.

While United’s momentum took a hit on Wednesday when they conceded a stoppage-time equalizer against Crystal Palace, the win over City last week was another sign of continued improvement under manager Erik ten Hag.

United have lost just one game in their last 20 matches in all competitions, winning 16 in that run.

The form of the two teams sets up a much-anticipated match, reminiscent of famous battles of the past when the two teams constantly clashed for the title in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

A win for Arsenal would potentially end talk of United’s serious challenge to the top this season by widening the gap between the clubs to 11 points. United, however, are the only side to have beaten Arsenal in the league this season and have the motivation to move within five points of the leaders if they can repeat that feat.

If the meeting between Arsenal and United is an unexpected title confrontation, the context of Liverpool’s game against Chelsea on Saturday is also unexpected.

Liverpool have gone from challenging for an unprecedented quadruple last season to mid-table mediocrity. Last season’s Champions League finalists sit in ninth place, one place above Chelsea on goal difference.

Back-to-back league defeats to Brentford and Brighton have characterized Liverpool’s erratic form as the Jurgen Klopp-led side appear to be in danger of missing out on the top four.

Victory over Wolverhampton in the FA Cup lifted the mood at the Merseyside club, but they need to stage a league run to challenge for Champions League qualification.

Chelsea’s first four prospects are also at risk after a season of upheaval under new owners Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital.

Champions League-winning manager Thomas Tuchel was sacked in September and pressure is mounting on replacement Graham Potter after seven defeats in the last 11 games.

Last week’s win over Palace was much needed but another defeat at Anfield would raise further questions about the former Brighton manager’s ability to take on such a prestigious job.

West Ham’s game against Everton on Saturday is a clash between two fast-sinking sides. Both are in the relegation zone after miserable runs, with West Ham winning one of their last eight games in all competitions and Everton winning one of their last 13 and winless in nine.

To add spice to this contest, West Ham manager David Moyes was previously in charge at Everton before leaving to take over at Manchester United in 2013. Everton manager Frank Lampard started his playing career at West Ham.

Leicester’s form has also dropped since the holidays and sit two points above the relegation zone ahead of their game against Brighton on Saturday.

Four straight league defeats quashed a revival overseen by manager Brendan Rodgers after a poor start to the season that saw him fail to win a game until October.

James Robson is on

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