Manchester United 'would probably still beat Arsenal' with a weakened team, says Roy Keane

Jack de Menezes
Roy Keane believes Manchester United should beat Arsenal with a weakened team: Getty

Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane could not resist taking a dig at Arsenal ahead of this weekend’s Premier League clash between the two rivals, with the clash no longer the grand occasion it once was.

Both United and Arsenal head into this Sunday’s encounter outside of the top four, a very different situation to what Keane experienced during his years as United skipper in matches that often proved the pinnacle of the Premier League season.

Times have changed considerably, and United will enter the match off of their Europa League semi-final first leg against Celta Vigo while Arsenal were once again knocked out of the Champions League in the last-16 in a humiliating 10-2 defeat by Bayern Munich.

For United, the Europa League tie will have a much bigger impact on manager Jose Mourinho, who has already admitted that he may need to rest a number of first-team players against Arsenal due to the two-leg semi-final with Vigo along with the injury problems that the Portuguese currently has to contend with.

But Keane believes that resting first-team regulars against the Gunners may not be a problem due to how badly Arsenal have played this season, and he claimed that United can get away with rotating the side because they should still have enough talent to win the match.

"It is clear that his priority is trying to win the Europa League and guarantee Champions League football," Keane said on ITV.

Keane enjoyed a famous rivalry with Arsenal during his United career (Getty)

"I think he is right. With the way the last week has gone, prioritise winning a trophy, definitely."

Former Arsenal defender and fellow ITV analyst Lee Dixon pushed Keane further on the matter, asked: “Do you think there is anything wrong with that? If he plays a really weak team?”

"Well even a weak team would probably still beat Arsenal, they can afford to do that," Keane added, the long-lasting rivalry between him and the Gunners not lost on anyone as he answered.

While Mourinho has been open about United’s top four chances fading, Wenger has refused to throw the towel in, though his side sit five points behind fifth-placed United and a further point off fourth-placed Manchester City, with a game in hand over both of them.

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