LONDON – At the start of this decade, clashes between Arsenal and Manchester United were still potentially title-deciding affairs, but when the pair meet on New Year's Day at the Emirates they will have more modest goals in mind.
United have not won a league title since Alex Ferguson's final season in charge seven years ago, while Arsenal have to go back to 2004 for the last time they raised the Premier League trophy, during the reign of Arsene Wenger.
Both clubs entered this season hoping to finish in the top four, but while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has guided United to fifth place, just a point off the Champions League spots, Arsenal languish in 12th, 11 points behind fourth-placed Chelsea after their home defeat to Frank Lampard's side on Sunday.
Arsenal's poor form led to the dismissal of their Spanish manager Unai Emery and the arrival of his compatriot, former Gunners midfielder Mikel Arteta.
Having left his role as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City, Arteta is talking big despite beginning with a draw at Bournemouth before Sunday's loss.