A fix­ture that never fails to ex­cite

East African Business Week - - SPORTS -

LON­DON, Uk---this Satur­day, Manch­ester United will host Arse­nal, in an early kick-off that is the talk­ing point this week. Th­ese two teams are long­time bit­ter ri­vals and have in the past served up some mem­o­rable games.

The at­mos­phere will be charged af­ter an­other Jose Mour­inho gam­bit. Last week the Manch­ester United man­ager hinted his in­ter­est in Arse­nal’s Me­sut Ozil, some­thing to rile up Arsene Wenger in the run-up to the clash.

The Ger­man has been in fine form this sea­son but has yet to agree a new deal with the Gun­ners.

His cur­rent con­tract ex­pires in 2018 and he is hold­ing out for a huge in­crease on his £140,000-aweek deal.

Ac­cord­ing to The Sun, United are poised to swoop. Mour­inho called him “the best No.10 in the world” when the pair worked to­gether at Real Madrid.

And the Por­tuguese would surely love to pair him with Paul Pogba in mid­field.

Also in Mour­inho’s sights is Atletico Madrid for­ward An­toine Griez­mann. The France in­ter­na­tional caused a stir at Old Traf­ford af­ter ad­mit­ting he is keen to play along­side com­pa­triot Pogba at club level.

Pep Guardi­ola is also said to be an ad­mirer of the Atletico Madrid for­ward - with Manch­ester City heav­ily-linked with a move next sum­mer. But Mour­inho is be­lieved to be ready to ex­plore the pos­si­bil­ity of a Jan­uary move - steal­ing a march on any ri­vals.

On the other hand, Wenger has an­other prob­lem. Hec­tor Bel­lerin has re­port­edly been ruled out for the rest of the month af­ter in­jur­ing his an­kle dur­ing the Tot­ten­ham game.

Alexis Sanchez de­vel­oped a ham­string prob­lem dur­ing train­ing just be­fore the World Cup qual­i­fiers. The for­ward was later con­firmed to have suf­fered a low grade mus­cle tear ear­lier this week which has ruled him out Chile’s game against Colom­bia.

Arse­nal are re­ported to have con­tacted the Chilean Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion, re­quest­ing that the player re­turns to north Lon­don to be­gin his re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion from an in­jury which, it was ini­tially feared, would rule him out for six weeks.

Although the two clubs have fre­quently been in the same di­vi­sion as each other since 1919, the ri­valry has largely arisen since around 1990. Many of the clashes in re­cent times be­tween the two teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s have been due to the teams be­ing fierce ri­vals for the Premier League and FA Cup.

Dur­ing this pe­riod, there was en­mity be­tween the two long­est serv­ing man­agers in Premier League their for­mer club cap­tains Pa­trick Vieira and Roy Keane. The ri­valry has been noted for on-field trou­ble, par­tic­u­larly the con­tests in 1990, cul­mi­nat­ing

In re­cent years the ri­valry has di­min­ished some­what ac­cord­ing to for­mer Arse­nal player Lee Dixon, while Sir Alex Fer­gu­son has also stated that the two teams have cooled from those pre­vi­ously ‘heated’ ex­changes.

The ar­rival of Mor­inho to Old Traf­ford just might be the spark to re­light the flames once again.

Per­haps the other is­sue is, will Wayne Rooney have a chance to play and do some­thing that will fully re­ha­bil­i­tate him in Mour­inho’s eyes.


FA­MOUS DUEL: Roy Keane and Pa­trick Vieira’s tan­gles have gone down in Premier League folk­lore, but they have since spo­ken of their mu­tal ad­mi­ra­tion for each other.

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