The last Premier League game between two elite clubs: Arsenal F.C. and Manchester United was a played like a mere formality. Fans and followers of these two great teams must have observed that the atmosphere was different from what obtained in the past.
The exciting and somewhat tense atmosphere that enveloped the similar matches was obviously missing. At the end of this match, which saw each team scoring one goal each, United qualified to play in the Champions League while Arsenal broke the 4th place jinx that saw it finishing at the same spot seven times in the previous ten seasons.
What has happened to the days when the fans of the two English Premier League (EPL) giants tossed pizzas at each other in the tunnel while Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger engaged in verbal war of supremacy? It seems these two teams have not been able to live up to expectations in recent times. For the Red Devils, the most obvious reason for their drop in performance is the departure of Alex Ferguson.
When David Moyes took over from Ferguson, United had its worse season in 20 years. United had up to 12 losses, the highest in 24 years, and they failed to qualify for the UEFA Champions League for the first time in 21 years. Moyes was obviously not prepared to coach a team like Manchester United and he was sent packing even before the end of the season. But the signing of Louis Van Gaal as the teams new manager has helped United to start recovering gradually. Many new signings have been made to rebuild the team and it has reclaimed its place among the top four in the EPL.
Arsenal, led by Arsene Wenger, have also been lagging behind (though not as badly as Manchester did last season). Untill recently, they could not afford to sign on many top players due to the debts incurred while building the Emirates stadium. Alexis Sanchez has proved his worth as a top class professional but the £42 million pounds spent on Mesut Zil did not produce the desired results. Obviously, Wenger should be commended for some of his recent choices from the transfer market and his ability to groom young talent. This helped the team last season to win their first major trophy in 11 years.
After Arsenal ended their trophy drought, Arsenal tickets available online sold rapidly since the confidence of most fans was boosted and they felt that their team will work hard and start working towards wining a continental trophy. But the Gunners still need to do everything possible to finish as one of the top 2 teams in the EPL and make up for their poor showing in the Champions League, where they dropped out in the Round of 16.
For Arsenal to be crowned as champions of the EPL or to get to the last stage of the Champions League, Wenger needs to tactically adapt his game plan to meet the tough demands of the Champions League and get his team to meet the challenge of beating all their opponents in the Premier League.
As the new season rolls in, we expect Arsenal to get ready to break all their previous records while Manchester United gets off to a good start and sustains a winning streak that will bring in trophies once again.