Date: 11th March 2011 at 1:09pm
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As we all know, Manchester United and Arsenal are set to meet in the FA Cup on Saturday in a game which we are all looking forward to.

Both respective managers have been in the headlines recently for their inability to say anything nice about well, anyone. Inevitably, it’s going to be billed as a feisty affair – they always are. But off the back of recent results for both clubs, is this Saturday’s game more than just a cup-tie? Could it shape the rest of their season?

From being in the hunt for four trophies, Arsenal’s season has taken a dramatic nose-dive. If the Carling Cup final defeat to Birmingham wasn’t hard enough to take, a draw against Sunderland in the league, which could have put them right on United’s heels, was just a damn right kick in the teeth. Throw on top of that being outclassed once again by Barcelona and denied European glory for at least another year, and you’ve got yourself a pretty miserable week, if you’re an Arsenal fan. Yes, I know, it was all the referee’s fault, apparently, but the fact remains that the Gunners were chasing four trophies, and it’s now only two. United haven’t imploded quite so dramatically – yet – but the warning signs are definitely there. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men have lost three of their last five and have let their rivals back into the title race when it seemed all but destined to end in another championship winning season for the Red Devils. It isn’t unusual for any team to hit a blip, and yes, you could argue that is what United are experiencing. The problem is, more worryingly than anything else, for the first time in years, United’s strength in depth doesn’t look good enough, and their ageing stars is a topic which we seem to spend half of our lives debating.

Both sides are in need of a massive pick-me-up before this weekend’s clash. A win for either club could really rejuvenate their season. Arsenal are still very much in with a shout of winning the league, but given the past week or so, everything points to another year of disappointment. Arsene Wenger’s men have a bit of a reputation for failing to see the league through, despite their unquestionable quality. Imagine what another defeat, and another competition passing by would do to the team?

Similarly, if United lose to another of one their closest rivals, it could be the beginning of the end of their season. Old Trafford expects trophies. What the fans don’t expect is below par performances against Chelsea and Liverpool, and an away record which would be better suited to that of a mid-table team. Saturday is a must win – for both teams.

It all makes for a pretty interesting spectacle for the neutral. Both teams dare not lose for the sake of the rest of their season, but we can’t forget that this is a cup-tie. Maybe not on Saturday, but it will have to be decided one way or another, and with Manchester United still fighting on the European front, I’m sure they would rather not have to squeeze another fixture in, especially with it being a reply at the Emirates.

For whichever team that loses, it will take one almighty effort to restore the belief in the side and bring back the form which has kept them both hunting Premier League glory. It’s a bold statement, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the winner of this Saturday’s tie go on to clean up on the domestic front. For the other, it could be a long end to an already drawn-out Premier League campaign.

More than just a game? United-Arsenal normally is. But this one is definitely more than just a cup-tie.

Blog courtesy of James Ireson from FootballFanCast


5 responses to “What bearing will Saturday’s tie have on the season?”

  1. Busky says:

    Well written. From an arsenal fan.?

  2. Manu92 says:

    12 Mar FA Cup Arsenal H
    15 Mar UEFA Champions League Olympique de Marseille H
    19 Mar Barclays Premier League Bolton H
    02 Apr Barclays Premier League West Ham A
    09 Apr Barclays Premier League Fulham H
    01 May Barclays Premier League Arsenal A
    07 May Barclays Premier League Chelsea H TBC
    14 May Barclays Premier League Blackburn A TBC
    22 May Barclays Premier League Blackpool H TBC
    This is our fixtures list we if assume that united get’s eliminated from fa cup and the champions league. To be honest, i may sound like an idiot but i won’t mind losing to arsenal tonight and losing on away goals to marseille….because qualification will result in fixture congestion. More fixtures can result in more injuries and fatigue problem which will affect our premiere league games and also our cup games. It can result in united finishing the season trophy less!!! NOW I want united to win as many trophies as possible but the premiere league is my first priority, Arsenal will be in the most advantageous position if they lose tonight. Till the end of the season they’ll be playing only 1 game per week and will have only i game in midweek that is against spurs on april 20!!
    Dilemma for we United fan.!!. But that doesn’t mean i want them to suffer further defeats. We have to win tonight for the sake of answering the critics and proving the world that we are good enough to win big matches!!

  3. Manu92 says:


  4. the city is red. says:

    Man United vs Arsenal, who does the F.A put in charge of the game do you ask….why chris foy of merseyside.

    Chris Foy, the guy who failed to take any action against ballack for elbowing evra, chris foy the guy who allowed birminghams controversial goal in december to stand, chris foy, the guy who wouldnt give utd a thing even if we were shot dead in the area.

    F.A has officially cheated us out the cup.