Mikel Arteta believes Arsenal against Manchester United no longer contains the bitterness of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger’s era as Gunners boss insists players are unable to get away with old antics
- Mikel Arteta no longer believes Arsenal vs United is as feisty as years gone by
- Gunners face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in the Premier League on Saturday
- The meeting evokes memories of hot-blooded clashes from almost 20 years ago
- However, Arteta says players can no longer get away with the antics of old
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal against Manchester United is no longer the feisty fixture it once was, with players unable to get away with the antics of old.
This meeting evokes memories of hot-blooded clashes, including the 2003 Battle of Old Trafford during Arsenal’s Invincibles season — a game which would have kept VAR busy.
Arteta says players are too heavily policed to be badly behaved now, but called on his side to remember the history of the fixture and play with passion.
Mikel Arteta no longer believes Arsenal’s rivalry with Man United is as feisty as years gone by
‘It has calmed down, but not only with Arsenal and United fixtures,’ Arteta said. ‘In general you see the way the derbies used to get played and it’s not the same right now. The game is evolving. We are educating the players in a different way and for sure now they are not allowed to do some of the things they used to do.
‘With VAR, even less. You are much more controlled and policed so you know you’re not going to get away with certain things.’
On whether Arsenal’s players need a tribal mentality to win on Saturday and push for the top four, he said: ‘You need that passion to defend your position and show how much you want to win.’
The two clubs were involved in hot-blooded clashes as they fought it out for top honours
They will have to do it without Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The captain has missed Arsenal’s last two games because he has been abroad supporting his sick mother. And Aubameyang’s need to quarantine is expected to keep him out this evening. Providing he produces a negative Covid-19 test result, he will be clear to face Wolves on Tuesday.
Thomas Partey is winning his race to recover from a thigh problem and Arsenal will make late calls on Kieran Tierney (calf) and Emile Smith Rowe (muscular discomfort) following fitness tests.
All three were injury concerns but able to train with Arteta’s squad on Friday.
However, Arteta says players are not able to get up to antics of old ahead of their game