Manchester United vs Arsenal used to be the ultimate Premier League fixture.
So often, these fixtures would have a massive say on whether the title was headed for Manchester or north London.
With United not getting anywhere near winning the league in the previous three seasons and Arsenal going 12 long campaigns without tasting success, that’s not quite the case anymore.
But there was a time when it wouldn’t get any bigger than Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson clashing on the touchline, or Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane squaring up in the tunnel and on the pitch.
Quite simply, United and Arsenal were the best two sides in the country. Between 1992 and 2004, there was only one season where a side other than these two didn’t win the title - and that was Blackburn Rovers back in the 1994/95 campaign.
But that’s not to say that the two sides played the same way during their era of dominance. Arsenal had more of a short-passing game, with their squad having plenty of foreign imports. However, United had a swash-buckling team, who concentrated on attacking and exciting wing-play.
And now, an ever-present of the United side during their battles with Arsenal, has revealed Ferguson’s plan for matches against their title rivals.
Ryan Giggs spent 23 years in the first-team at United and was heavily involved in the clashes with Arsenal. He’s explained what the manager always said before they took to the pitch.
“Arsenal have always had wonderful footballers, and they still do,” he wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Sir Alex would say to us: ‘The way to beat them is not to try to play them at their game. Play them at yours.’ So we would hit them with pace and power.”
With United playing their own game, it seemed as though they had the edge over Arsenal. During those aforementioned 12 years, the Red Devils claimed eight titles, while Arsenal had to settle for three.
So, if Jose Mourinho is looking for a team-talk for the clash this lunchtime, maybe he should just tell his side to play their own game.
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