While Arsenal look like title contenders and United look like a giant question mark, Arsene Wenger looking like a genius and David Moyes looking like a mistake, tonight's match could change all of that – or cement the perceptions even further.
With such a highly anticipated fixture already upon us this season between the two sides, we look at five of the most memorable matches between them at Old Trafford in recent times.
1. Man United 0 Arsenal 1 – October 20, 1990: Anders Limpar scored the winner in this First Division game, but it was the 21-man brawl brought about by a foul by United’s Denis Irwin on Arsenal’s Nigel Winterburn that this match is best remembered. Arsenal were deducted two points by the English FA and United one.
2. Man United 0 Arsenal 1 – May 8, 2002: The two sides had fought for the title that season, but a strong second half to the campaign had seen Arsene Wenger’s side pull away from United at the top. Victory at Old Trafford, thanks to a second-half Sylvain Wiltord effort, saw Arsenal crowned as champions on United’s turf.
3. Man United 0 Arsenal 0 – September 21, 2003: An unremarkable encounter came to life in stoppage time when United won a penalty. There was already bad feeling towards Ruud van Nistelrooy from Arsenal players, who felt he had got Patrick Vieira sent off, and when the Dutchman’s spot kick hit the bar and bounced out, Martin Keown led the Arsenal celebrations by jumping up and down around him.
4. Man United 2 Arsenal 0 – October 24, 2004: A Van Nistelrooy penalty and a Wayne Rooney goal ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run of 49 league games in a match remembered as much for what happened off the pitch. Arsenal players clashed with United officials post-match, and a pizza slice was thrown at Sir Alex Ferguson, United’s manager.
5. Man United 8 Arsenal 2 – August 28, 2011: A nightmarish day for Wenger’s side as the league champions went goal crazy against them with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick, while Ashley Young netted twice. Robin van Persie scored one of Arsenal’s goals in what would be his last game at Old Trafford before joining United.