Manchester United must replicate success of Arsenal

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Manchester United's poor first half to this season has led to a number of critics questioning whether David Moyes is the right man to take the Red Devils forward. 

And - after United were beaten for the third successive match against Sunderland in the Capital One Cup semi-final first leg this week - some have suggested that Moyes must overcome the Black Cats in the second leg in order to save his Old Trafford career. 

But they would be wrong. There is a far more important challenge ahead for the Manchester United boss to focus on this season. 

And that is pipping arch rivals Liverpool to fourth position, which will consequently hand the Premier League champions a place in next year's Champions League competition. 

Whilst the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City look almost certain to secure their place in Europe's elite competition, there could be a tense battle between two of England's greatest rivals for the final European spot. 

With 18 Premier League fixtures remaining - and Manchester United sitting five points behind Merseyside outfit Liverpool - the Red Devils should take heart from the success that Arsenal had in the last campaign. 

In the 2012/13 season, the Gunners were trailing their great rivals Tottenham in the race for fourth place and many believed the power in north London was changing. 

Things looked difficult for Arsenal - they were struggling to find consistency, whilst Tottenham were flying with Welsh wizard Gareth Bale seemingly firing them to glory. 

This time around, Liverpool are flying, playing great football and have controversial Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez acting as their talisman. 

And, like Arsenal were last season, Manchester United are stuttering. The Red Devils can't find consistency in their performances and certainly don't look the part. 

For Arsenal last season, it was a combination of two men that were crucial to them overhauling their rivals. The defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker was key in helping the Gunners reach Europe's top competition. 

And this season - for Manchester United - David Moyes needs two men to step up in the second half of the season.

Look no further than Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Whilst the English forward has been sensational at times this season, he has, on occasions, struggled with injury. 

And whilst Van Persie was world class last season, this campaign has been a very different story for the Dutchman - again because of injury.

The Manchester United boss will be desperate for his star duo to return and, if they can, then they have the ability to overhaul their rivals this season. They only need to look at what Arsenal did last season. 

If David Moyes can take Liverpool down this season, then that may just be good enough for fans of Manchester United and will certainly give the Red Devils boss a platform to build on for the future. 

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