While Manchester United are the most successful team in the history of the Premier League, they are tied with Arsenal when it comes to FA Cup victories. Both clubs have won Footballa s oldest club competition a record 11 times, and are, along with Liverpool, favourites to win the title again this year.
Arsenal, who are managed by the Premier Leaguea s most experienced manager Arsene Wenger, are also the defending champions after ending a long title drought last year. Wenger will be aware that a victory against United will give his team a boost in not just the cup, but also the race for top four in the Premier League. And Wenger expects a similar performance from his team this time around.
“It is a game with special intensity because it is between two teams who have a chance to win this competition,” the Arsenal boss told his pre-match media conference.
“Both teams will think: ‘If we get over this hurdle, we have a good opportunity to win the competition.”
United rivalry with Arsenal has become milder from what it used to be earlier in the century as Wengera s side clashed with Sir Alex Fergusona s for top honours, year in year out.
The two clubs are now locked in a race for a top four spot in the Premier League and the FA Cup represents the most realistic chance of a trophy this year.
Uniteda s captain Wayne Rooney has won every other club honour there is to win, but doesna t have too many good memories from the FA Cup. Rooney first lost to Arsenal in the 2005 final and then to Chelsea in the 2007 final. Understandably then, Rooney is looking for some luck and glory in the competition.
“We haven’t been to a final for a few years, we want to try to win that game and we are looking forward to that,” he told United’s official website
“Of course, I think it is a massive trophy. It is a trophy that, growing up as a youngster, I used to love watching and I was fortunate enough to see Everton lift the FA Cup in 1995 when I was nine years old. It is something which I would love to do and hopefully it can be this year.”
The match also marks the return of Danny Welbeck to his former club for the first time since his last minute transfer to Arsenal in the summer.
Both teams are in good form going into the game, as Arsenal have won 10 out of their last 12 games in all competitions, while United have been defeated just twice in their last 22 games.