The two English giants will battle it out at the Emirates on Saturday as they look to push themselves in the top four of the Premier League.
Only a decade ago the two sides were the epitome of everything good in the Premier League however this season either of the teams will be happy with a top four finish. Arsenal did end their nine year long trophy drought last season but have failed to create an impression in the Premier League.
The last time they won a league title, they did it in supreme fashion when the Gunners went the entire season unbeaten to clinch the title back in the 2003/2004 season, however in recent years a top four finish has been their saving grace.
Whereas the lack of available funds had been hindering their progress earlier, recurring injuries have been the achilles heel of the current Arsenal side. Arsene Wenger's men were destined to clinch the league title last time around after spending 128 days as the league leaders until injuries took their toll.
Key men including Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott were ruled out for lengthy periods and Arsenal came crashing down from potential title winners to yet again the fourth best team in the country. With Arsene Wenger failing to add more depth to his squad Arsenal have been facing the same problems this season. The arrival of Chilean international Alexis Sanchez has been a breath of fresh air for the Arsenal fans, but the Gunners have so far failed to capitalize from the talents of the former Barcelona man with their defence as vulnerable as ever.
The North London side is trailing leaders Chelsea by 12 points and from the looks of it Arsenal will find it difficult to catch up with their city rivals and would rather be hoping to cement a place in the top four by the end of the season.
Man United on the other hand are currently in an identity crisis and after dominating the league for decades the Red Devils are finding it difficult to make it to the top four in the league. David Moyes took over the hot seat at Old Trafford last season and guided Man United to their worst ever finish in the Premier League era.
Not only did the Red Devils fail to challenge for the title, they were unable to make it to the top four which denied them of a place in Europe's elite competition which resulted in the former Everton boss being shown the exit door after just one season in charge of the club.
His successor Louis Van Gaal is one of the most respected tacticians in the world of football but even he has failed to revitalize the Man United side. After spending a momentous amount on transfers in the summer which saw the club breaking the bank for former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria, Man United was expected to once again meet its lofty ambitions this season.
Apart from the Argentine, the Red Devils also spent a huge sum on former Southampton full back Luke Shaw, whereas other transfers included the likes of Daley Blind as well as Radamel Falcao who was acquired on loan from AS Roma.
Despite of boasting a star studded squad, Man United have so far failed to throw the impression of a top English club. The arrival of Falcao was supposed to give Van Gaal selection headaches but that has not happened so far with the Colombian having spent the majority of his spell on the sidelines. The ageing Robin Van Persie has managed just three goals in 10 appearances whereas Wayne Rooney has been playing in a deeper role than he usually does and his eight appearances have yielded just three goals as well.
In defence Man United have lost most of their first team players due to injuries and have had to rely on fringe players or make shift defenders which has further hindered their progress this season. As a result of all their shortcomings United are currently seventh in the league table just one point behind their opponents on Saturday.
It will be a surprise if Van Gaal's men can resurge a title assault from here and from the looks of it the Dutchman will be satisfied should he successfully guide the club to a top four finish. Thus a fixture which only a few years back used to be a title decider, will this time only be good enough to give us an idea as to whether the two teams can make it to the top four by the end of the season.