Ashley Young and Granit Xhaka leading Man United and Arsenal out shows the fall of a rivalry

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It was hard not to look at the two starting line-ups at Old Trafford on Monday night with some despair.

The lack of world-class talent was apparent. Aside from David de Gea, Paul Pogba and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, there wasn’t much else to get excited about.

It was a far-cry from some of the teams that Manchester United and Arsenal have fielded in years gone by.

Their clashes at the start of the 21st century often saw Roy Keane, Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy go head-to-head with Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

Keane and Vieira epitomised the rivalry.

The two midfield titans left nothing in the tank when they faced off against each other.

Who can forget Keane’s “I’ll see you out there,” remark to Vieira ahead of their meeting at Highbury in 2005?

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The pair respect each other now. “He was a good player and I knew I had to be at my best when I was up against him,” Keane said about his old adversary on Monday Night Football.

Knowing what once was, football fans couldn’t help but be sad that Man United and Arsenal are now being led out by Ashley Young and Granit Xhaka.

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This is no disrespect to Young or Xhaka. But they simply don’t possess the aura or leadership skills that Keane and Vieira had.

Indeed, many blamed Xhaka for ducking to avoid Scott McTominay’s shot that gave United the lead on Monday evening.

Check out what fans had to say about the current captains...

Neither club is the behemoth that they once were.

The Red Devils have made their worst ever start to a Premier League season while Arsenal are currently closer in points to the relegation zone than they are leaders Liverpool.

Twenty years ago, Man United vs Arsenal was a fixture not to be missed. That’s not the case anymore.

The fall of a rivalry is very, very real.

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