One of the biggest fixtures of the Premier League calendar is upon us.
In years gone by this match WAS the only game that truly mattered. Two titans going toe-to-toe, the only teams that were the equal of the other, and each clash delivered true drama.
Predicting the result was nigh-on impossible, and every 90 minutes hinged the destination of the title that season.
Our matches against Manchester United may be less climactic than they were. No more Arsene Wenger facing off against Sir Alex Ferguson. No more mind games, no more on-pitch fisticuffs.
It just comes down to the football now, but for the fans, this is no less important than it was.
The unpredictability still resides too. Games don’t go as you think they will go, and the matches take on a cup-tie feel, with form going out of the window.
Unless the game is at Old Trafford though.
Yep, our bad luck, our woeful performances in the so-called ‘Theatre of Dreams’ has left us with no win there in the League since 2006, when Emanuel Adebayor scored the only goal of the game.
That was more than thirteen years ago.
Since then we have been sent back to London with our tail between our legs time and again, and on Monday, we once again go to Old Trafford eager to end the hoodoo.
We have won at United since then. Back in 2015, Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal goals earned us a 2-1 win in the FA Cup. This shows we have the power to end the wait for a win at Old Trafford, but it is down to mentality that has blocked us recently.
We have been on at the very least, the same level, squad wise, with Utd over the last few years. Yet we have still failed to bring the points back with us. We have often travelled to Manchester with the prospect of defeat weighing us down. That can’t happen any more.
Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are an uninspired outift, who lack creativity and without Marcus Rashford, a recognised striker. They will have Mason Greenwood up top, and while he may be a tad unknown, we should have the minerals to deal with him.
Quite simply, we have never had a better opportunity to end this terrible sequence of results. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in red hot form, Nicolas Pepe’s pace is electric and can hurt United’s crumbling defence, and with Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierny all available, we have a potential defence that can hold firm.
And we will need it, as another common trait is when we play United, is we make them seem like peak 1970s Ajax, no matter how bad they actually are.
Monday sees us go to Old Trafford with one of our best chances to win finally.
Can we end the hoodoo?