Arsenal versus Manchester United. For years the pre-eminent Premier League fixture to look out for each season.
Then got here the doldrums. Arsenal have not been topped English champions since 2004, whereas United are approaching a decade this summer time.
There have been loads of false dawns since their barren spells however either side are on the up with loads contemplating Sunday’s fixture a pivotal one within the title race, regardless of it solely being the center of January.
Mikel Arteta (left) will face Erik ten Hag on Sunday as Arsenal welcome Manchester United
Premier League leaders Arsenal sit eight factors clears of fourth-placed United – with each the in-form sides at current.
It’s a testomony to the superb work Arsenal supervisor Mikel Arteta and his United counterpart Erik ten Hag have finished.
Inheriting squads, each have laid down their very own legal guidelines – to the chagrin of some gamers. Sportsmail seems to be at among the run-ins the laborious taskmasters have needed to cope with.
Arsenal (left) and United are the 2 in-form groups within the Premier League going into Sunday
Essentially the most troublesome resolution of Arteta’s stint, issues rapidly deteriorated between the Spaniard and his captain.
In a nicely documented fall-out, Aubameyang was stripped of the captaincy final December earlier than he joined Barcelona within the January switch window after mutually terminating his contract with Arsenal.
It’s believed the fall-out occurred attributable to Aubameyang’s disciplinary points which originated from his lateness to coaching. The ultimate straw noticed Arteta drop him for returning late from an agreed break.
Within the fall-out of that, a video emerged of Aubameyang slating Arteta’s administration expertise.
‘To handle large characters or large gamers, he (Arteta) cannot cope with it,’ Aubameyang was recorded as saying in an interview with A Jewellers.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang incurred the wrath of Arteta for repeated timekeeping offences
Because the video was first shared, Aubameyang took to social media to elucidate his feedback, writing a part of a tweet which learn: ‘Conscious there’s a video out that was recorded simply after I arrived at Barca.
‘On the time I nonetheless had numerous dangerous emotions in me – Arsenal are doing nice issues this season and I want all my previous guys nicely.’
Replying in October, Arteta indicated that life has improved since Aubameyang left.
‘Individuals are free to debate what they need,’ he mentioned.
‘I’ve by no means been in a greater dressing room (than this season) – extra fulfilling, extra hard-working, a greater relationship between workers and gamers and it’s an absolute pleasure as a coach to be part of this group.’
His time at Barcelona lasted simply half-a-season as he has since gone on to affix Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea in a £12million deal.
Chelsea are floundering, whereas Arsenal are hovering.
Aubameyang is now at Chelsea – having failed to succeed in the heights he achieved on the Gunners
Within the area of simply 5 months Matteo Guendouzi crossed the road of Arteta thrice – making the connection unsustainable.
Two of these have been through the Gunners’ mid-season coaching camp in Dubai in February 2020.
The midfielder was reprimanded for a coaching floor altercation with a team-mate and for his behaviour at an exterior occasion. As a consequence he was not noted of the Arsenal squad for his or her 4-0 victory towards Newcastle that month after failing to impress Arteta.
It was the primary time Guendouzi had been omitted from a Premier League matchday squad when he has been out there since he joined the Gunners in 2018.
After profitable again the belief of his supervisor, that rapidly went throughout a 2-1 defeat at Brighton in June 2020.
Matteo Guendouzi grabbed Neal Maupay’s throat throughout Arsenal’s loss at Brighton in 2020
The Frenchman was accused of calling Seagulls stars ‘s***’ all through the sport on the Amex earlier than changing into concerned in a bodily altercation with Brighton striker Neal Maupay.
Maupay had scored the profitable purpose in stoppage time having earlier been concerned in a collision with Bernd Leno which led to the Arsenal goalkeeper going off injured.
Frustrations boiled over for the Gunners on the finish of the encounter, with Guendouzi grabbing the Brighton ahead’s neck, leading to him going to floor.
Guendouzi averted an FA ban however his actions incensed Arteta who dropped him for the next matches.
Guendouzi spent the next season out on mortgage at Hertha Berlin earlier than spending 2021-22 at Marseille on mortgage. That then turned everlasting as they activated the option-to-buy clause.
Guendouzi is now at Marseille, having turned a mortgage deal everlasting there in July 2022
Finishing a hat-trick of massive personalities proven the Emirates exit door is Mesut Ozil.
The playmaker’s £350,000-per-week wages had been a supply of rivalry amongst his critics and his six-figure sum was scrutinised additional through the Covid pandemic.
A lot of the FA Cup winners’ squad accepted a year-long 12.5 per cent pay minimize in gentle of the coronavirus disaster, however the 31-year-old refused, insisting the gamers have been ‘rushed into it with out correct session’.
He claimed the explanation it turned public data that he turned down the proposed deal is as a result of ‘individuals have been attempting for 2 years to destroy me’ and ‘to push an agenda they hope will flip the supporters towards me’.
Ozil reiterated he wouldn’t be compelled out earlier than his contract expired on the finish of the 2020-21, regardless of not taking part in a single minute after the restart.
Mesut Ozil turned an ostracised determine underneath Arteta in direction of the tip of his Arsenal spell
‘You do not play 10 video games in a row for those who’re unfit, not ok or do not behave nicely,’ the midfielder instructed The Athletic in August 2020, referring to his run of Premier League appearances underneath Arteta pre-lockdown.
‘If I performed these video games badly and was then not noted fully for that cause then I’d perceive, however this was not the case.
‘Probably the choice affected my possibilities on the pitch, I do not know. However I am not afraid to face up for what I really feel is true and if you see what has occurred now with the roles, possibly I used to be.’
Ozil was referring to the information that Arsenal made 55 members of workers redundant.
‘My place is evident,’ he continued. ‘I am right here by to the final day of our settlement and I am going to give every part I’ve for this membership. I am going to resolve once I go, not different individuals. I did not signal for 2 or three years. I signed for 4 and that ought to be revered by everybody.’
Ozil added it was ‘disappointing’ when Arsenal distanced themselves from his feedback on the therapy of Uighur Muslims in China in 2019. The membership mentioned they have been ‘apolitical’ on the time.
Having been given permission to begin his summer time break early whereas Arsenal have been making ready to play Chelsea within the FA Cup ultimate the membership took a dim view to the defiant interview. He additionally spoke out in late 2019 when he mentioned he wouldn’t be compelled out and described how he was blamed every time Arsenal fell quick in ‘large video games’.
Following Ozil’s remarks in August 2020, issues hadn’t modified for him in January 2021 with the Germany World Cup winner nonetheless frozen out by Arteta – with the Arsenal boss having made it clear that he was not in his plans. He was not registered in Arsenal’s Premier League and Europa League squads for that season and had not performed for the membership since March 2020.
Later that month he signed a three-and-half-year cope with Turkish giants Fenerbahce after having his contract terminated with the Gunners. He’s now at Istanbul Basaksehir.
The Germany World Cup winner left Arsenal for Turkish giants Fenerbahce in January 2021
ERIK TEN HAG
The younger rising star at Previous Trafford, Garnacho wasn’t in Ten Hag’s good books throughout pre-season. The teenage winger did not play a single minute of the Pink Devils’ tour of Bangkok and Australia final summer time as punishment for lacking two crew conferences.
His solely look got here within the ultimate pre-season pleasant towards Rayo Vallecano at Previous Trafford.
Garnacho earned his first begin underneath Ten Hag in a 3-0 win over Sheriff Tiraspol within the Europa League on October 27 – impressing and never trying again since.
Every week later, he scored the winner in a 1-0 win over Actual Sociedad with a superb end within the Europa League earlier than repeating the feat once more 10 days later at Fulham to safe a last-gasp 2-1 Premier League win.
Requested what enchancment he has seen, the United supervisor mentioned: ‘Quite a bit. He has a ability that I do not see many gamers within the Premier League having. He beats gamers one-on-one.
Alejandro Garnacho needed to regain the belief of Ten Hag after misdemeanours in pre-season
‘However he is realized within the final months about play in a crew, dwell, do the fitting issues within the week, have the fitting angle on the coaching floor. You see how he is appearing as a crew participant, and along with his particular person expertise that may make the distinction.
‘Additionally for him, it is to maintain going within the course of. It isn’t finished, there’s a lot to come back. There’s numerous room for enchancment with him, however he will help. He can contribute on the best stage already and I am actually completely satisfied.
‘It is a bonus for us as a membership that you just herald younger gamers and so they can come not solely into the squad however the crew, and I believe that is part of our mission that has to contribute to our success.’
Now an integral a part of Ten Hag’s plans, United want to tie him right down to a brand new deal.
Garnacho has repaid Ten Hag since pre-season – resembling this winner at Fulham in November
Garnacho offered the sensible help for Marcus Rashford’s winner towards Manchester Metropolis final Saturday, and the goalscorer is one other who has been punished for poor timekeeping this season.
The Pink Devils’ No 10 is in a wealthy vein of kind however overslept on the morning of their journey to Wolves final month and was subsequently late for a crew assembly.
The outcome? Workers have been instructed that the he had been benched as they ready to go away the lodge for Molineux.
Marcus Rashford was dropped for United’s journey to Wolves final month after oversleeping
Rashford did not sulk although and it was telling that he made the distinction as a half-time substitute by scoring the winner in a 1-0 triumph, having accepted his punishment.
Talking after the match, Rashford defined: ‘Clearly it’s crew guidelines. I made a mistake. That may occur. I’m clearly disillusioned to not play however I perceive the choice and I’m occur we managed to win anyway. We draw a line underneath it and transfer on. I used to be a little bit bit late for a gathering. I overslept however it could actually occur.’
Since then? Rashford has gone on to attain 5 targets within the following 4 matches for his boyhood membership.
Nevertheless, Rashford made up for it by scoring the winner to help Ten Hag’s Pink Devils’ superb kind
Has there been a extra explosive exit in Manchester United historical past? Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from Previous Trafford had been brewing because the finish of final season, reaching an explosive conclusion in November.
Ronaldo missed the beginning of United’s pre-season for ‘household causes’, later lacking the tour of Bangkok and Australia too.
Ten Hag deliberate for the Portuguese famous person, final season’s high scorer with 24 targets, to be a part of his strikeforce for his first marketing campaign on the helm and United’s switch technique mirrored that.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s bombshell interview with Piers Morgan blasting Manchester United, the supervisor and his team-mates was a degree of no return for Ten Hag in November
Nevertheless, these plans had already began to go awry and attributable to his lack of match-fitness Ronaldo began the season-opening defeat at dwelling to Brighton on the bench. He began the week later towards Brentford however issues went from dangerous to worse as United misplaced 4-0.
Ten Hag dropped Ronaldo for the 2-1 win over arch-rivals Liverpool and United seemed considerably extra vibrant and fluid with out the 37-year-old spearheading the assault.
Ronaldo rapidly turned relegated to beginning Europa League matches and being an influence substitute within the Premier League – one thing he hadn’t envisioned.
Issues reared an unpleasant head in October’s win over Tottenham, when Ronaldo responded to being left on the bench as an unused substitute by disappearing down the tunnel within the 89th minute. He later apologised and was reintegrated.
Ronaldo’s ultimate sport for United was a 3-1 defeat at Aston Villa on November 6 through which he captained the crew. He was absent for the final two video games earlier than the World Cup attributable to sickness however then quickly the true causes emerged why.
Ronaldo is now at Al-Nassr and awaiting to make his debut for the Saudi Arabian outfit
On the eve of the World Cup, the ahead performed a bombshell tell-all interview with Piers Morgan.
In it Ronaldo claimed that United did not imagine his absence for lacking the pre-season tour was that his new-born daughter was ailing as he criticised Ten Hag, his team-mates and the membership’s hierarchy over varied points.
The result? Ronaldo and the membership separated by mutual consent, with United not having to pay any compensation for the remaining months of his £500,000-a-week contract.
Now Ronaldo is awaiting to make his aggressive debut for Saudi Arabian aspect Al-Nassr having joined in December.