Marc Overmars winning the league for Arsenal at Old Trafford in 1997/98. Ruud van Nistlerooy’s missed penalty. Roy Keane v Patrick Vieira in the tunnel. Wayne Rooney’s ‘dive’ that ended the invincible run. Pizza-gate. Ryan Giggs’ FA Cup semi-final goal. The 8-2 game.
It would be an understatement to say that Arsenal v Manchester United has a little bit of recent history behind it. But has Gunners manager Arsene Wenger got the formula to beat the Red Devils? We dig into the numbers from the last 18 years to find out…
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Credit to Alison Sheridan in PP Design for some incredible work on the infographic
The good news for Arsenal fans is that it appears, initially, Wenger did have the magic formula to beat Man United. However more recently, defeats against their fierce rivals have been as common as bum notes on this year’s X Factor.
Wenger won five of his first 10 home games in all competitions against Man Utd, however he has just a 30 per cent win rate in his last 10 home games against them. Although in both sets of 10 games, Wenger lost three, he is now drawing, more than winning against the Red Devils. Le Professeur, arguably, had a team more likely to challenge for the title in the late 90’s than he does now, but a rejuvenated Arsenal alongside a sliding Man Utd should reflect some more positive recent results for the Gunners.
In his first 26 games against United, Wenger’s win rate was a monster 42 per cent. Home or away, league or cup, Wenger would win, on average, almost every other game against Manchester United. His last 25 games tell a different story altogether. He has won just 16 per cent of these games, equating to just one win every six games. A measly return that would have Piers Morgan and the rest of the #WengerOut brigade manically bashing their keyboards with their faces in an attempt to channel their unrelenting fury into a barely legible 140 characters.
If one win, three draws and 10 losses in their last 14 head-to-heads is like throwing petrol on the #WengerOut fire, then defeat at the Emirates on Saturday is the equivalent to adding the Amazon rainforest, a crate of fireworks and a small bomb to the heap. But the stats show that Arsene Wenger can beat Manchester United – a 40 per cent win record at home against them isn’t shabby, Mourinho’s home win record against United is just 50 per cent. Wenger has the formula to win, he either just can’t lay his hands on the recipe, or might be missing a few key ingredients.
The Gunners go into Saturday evenings game as the 6/5 favourites, knowing a win would put four points between them and Louis van Gaal’s side. All eyes will be on Alexis Sanchez who has a remarkable 12 goals in his last 14 games for club and country. Is he the key to Wenger’s winning formula? It’s 5/1 that Sanchez opens the scoring against Man Utd and 11/4 that he scores anytime in an Arsenal victory.
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