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Erik ten Hag question and prize money reality as Arsenal myth busted after Man United FA Cup win

Manchester United won the FA Cup to raise questions of Arsenal
-Credit: (Image: Marc Atkins/Getty Images)


Manchester United won the FA Cup in a surprise victory over rivals Manchester City to deliver a meaningful blow to how other clubs looked at their seasons. Despite their eighth-placed finish in the table, they picked up more trophies than Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham who all finished above Erik ten Hag’s side.

Arsenal in particular have faced a considerable amount of backlash in the wake of the cup final. Claims that even their title challenge which came to within just two points of Manchester City represents still a worse season than the Red Devils.

Therefore, we at football.london are asking the question to our writers whether they agree or not. Have Manchester United had a better season overall than Arsenal after their FA Cup victory?

Tom Canton – Football Writer

For me, the answer is no, they have not. Arsenal have had a brilliant season and are operating at a much higher level than Ten Hag’s side who were beaten twice by the Gunners throughout the campaign – despite the persistent moaning in the Dutchman’s press conferences of course.

If I were to throw a question back of who deserves to be sacked as of today: Mikel Arteta or Erik ten Hag? I think this answers the other question quite clearly.

There is no debate that Arteta has earned his stay with Arsenal and that there is confidence that this Gunners side will continue to progress and be well-placed to win future FA Cups and far more in the league and Europe too. On the other side, Ten Hag could be sacked tomorrow and Man United are certainly considering it from what we understand.

From third to eighth in the league, injuries or not, that is quite the slump. Arsenal have suffered problems and yet maintained their charge, as they have each season despite players missing at key times they still progressed.

Richard Cusack - Central Audience Editor

The cold, hard facts are that Manchester United have had a more successful campaign than Arsenal because they have won more trophies if you look at it through that lens.

But how far is that FA Cup going to get United next season compared to the Gunners, who have pushed Manchester City all the way while navigating a return to the Champions League all without a star summer signing in Jurrien Timber?

Clearly, United are light years away from Arsenal so how can they have had a more successful season? Would United fans swap places with their Gunners counterparts?

They would. Nowadays an FA Cup just doesn't cut it and while it's the most prestigious cup competition in the world, winning it is certainly secondary to finishing in the top four with all the riches and status it brings to a club.

Saturday will have been a thrilling day for United fans, but that's all it was in the grand scheme of their season.

Tom Coley - Central Audience writer

Manchester United have had a horrendous season, there is no way around that. Football is still about moments and filling the trophy cabinet, but has 12 months of pain with one day of jubilation (and a likely hangover) made it all worthwhile? Probably not.

Have Liverpool had a better year than Arsenal because of the Carabao Cup? No. Have United? Also no. Saturday's win over their rivals will live long in the memory but is far from the only parameter for measuring success.

Arsenal have been consistently a substantially better team than United and continue to take giant steps towards winning bigger competitions even than the FA Cup. This is not to ignore the elephant in the room with Arteta though, pressure on him to deliver some form of silverware will ramp up the longer his impressive league form goes without tangible reward.

Arsenal are better placed to move forward though and have had a much greater amount of good days than United. One trophy doesn't change that.

Kieran Horn - Central Audience writer

In isolation and without any context, Manchester United have had a better season than Arsenal but in this case, that is absolutely false. The FA Cup triumph over Manchester City was a great moment in an otherwise troubling season for United with Arsenal finishing six places and 29 points above one of their oldest rivals.

Mikel Arteta also saw his team do the league double over Erik ten Hag's team and will be in a way better position heading into next season. For a start, there are no concerns surrounding Arteta's future with the Gunners playing some of their best football of the 21st century.

However, actual success will be determined by the trophies won in that period and currently United are two ahead despite their struggles. If the Gunners can achieve their goals over the next few years then the building process and heartbreak felt in several competitions will be worth it.

Heading back to the actual point though, Arsenal have earned more in prize money than United, secured another season of Champions League football and enjoyed more small moments of joy. It is somewhat understandable for some to say United have had a better campaign but that is a rather naive point made without looking at the bigger picture.

Sam Truelove - Content Editor

If you posed this question 48 hours ago, the response would have been very much one-sided. Arsenal have challenged for the Premier League title for the past two seasons, while they have also cemented themselves among Europe's elite with an impressive Champions League campaign. Mikel Arteta has built a squad which is young, hungry and looking like they will keep challenging for top honours in the years to come.

Manchester United, meanwhile, finished eighth in the league under Erik ten Hag, causing obscene amounts of speculation regarding the Dutchman's future at Old Trafford. For many, Ten Hag was one loss from the sack. The defeat did not come, however, as Man Utd shocked the footballing world to beat Man City 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday to win the FA Cup.

This cup success does not mean the Red Devils have had a better season than the Gunners. In my opinion, Arsenal are the better side. The more complete side who can look back on the 2023/24 season more fondly than Man Utd.

Yet, over the past two seasons, the Manchester side have won two trophies while Arsenal have won zero. While the gap between the two teams is extremely large, Man Utd's FA Cup win perhaps does mean one thing ahead of next season - Arsenal must win silverware or fans may start to question the Arteta and his ability to win trophies with this great squad.