Penny for the thoughts of Keane and Vieira that it’s come to this

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·6-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Arsenal
    Arsenal
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Manchester United
    Manchester United
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Roy Keane
    Roy Keane
    Former Professional Footballer
  • Michael Carrick
    Michael Carrick
    LiveTodayTomorrowvs--|
  • Ralf Rangnick
    Ralf Rangnick
    German association football manager
<span>Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA</span>
Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

THE BIG MATCH

There was a time back there when Manchester United and Arsenal were the two best teams in the Premier League, and their showdowns were the fixtures that decided the season. Now, not so much, with the quality regressing to levels similar to the era before Arsène Wenger arrived on these shores with suitcases full of his new inventions, water and broccoli, and Fergie had drastically reduced the United starting XI’s 330-pint-per-session intake. As a result, tonight’s meeting of these old foes at Old Trafford is extremely unlikely to have a bearing on the season overall. But it may have a bearing on their seasons, and for that reason alone we should probably feign interest.

Related: Ally McCoist’s joy and Roy Keane’s rage: how pundits can eclipse the action | Max Rushen

It’s fair to say both teams have had their trousers handed to them, neatly folded, whenever they’ve faced proper opposition this season. United have already welcomed their two arch-rivals to Old Trafford, losing the first halves against Liverpool and City to the aggregate score of 6-0, though together the second halves added up to just the 1-0 defeat against teams who had declared, which was progress of sorts. Arsenal meanwhile have already faced Chelsea, City and Liverpool, and came out of those fixtures with an 11-goal deficit, having failed to score at any point themselves. So it’s going to be interesting to see what happens tonight. Is it possible for both teams to implode at once? Head says no, but slapstick-loving heart refuses to listen.

To be scrupulously fair, both sides have reason for optimism, too. United are coming off the back of a staunch 1-1 draw at leaders Chelsea, and will be eager to impress new interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who will be observing from a blame-free position in the stands, behind Michael Carrick. Arsenal have won seven of their last 10. And neither are as bad as Everton. It’s too close to call, so Arsenal’s hopes may depend on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang rediscovering the art of scoring from two yards out, with United’s dreams resting on whether Carrick shows enough resolve to keep Harry Maguire, available again after suspension, out of harm’s way on the bench. Penny for the thoughts of Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, that it’s come to this.

LIVE ON BIG WEBSITE!

Join Paul Doyle for hot MBM updates of Tottenham 2-0 Brentford from 7.30pm before Rob Smyth is on hand for Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal from 8.15pm.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

“This was the last resort after I was denied the chance to a fair trial. I was denied the chance to be heard, I was denied the chance to speak up and after all I was detained whilst my trial has not finished yet. I was detained just to make sure that I don’t speak up, that I do not talk, that I do not defend myself, that I do not reveal the true story behind what happened to me” – Former Qatar World Cup official Abdullah Ibhais explains why he is entering the 17th day of a hunger strike in prison.

FIVER LETTERS

“My beloved New England Revolution were eliminated from the MLS Cup playoffs in a single match conference semi-final 2-2 AET (3-5 penalties) on Tuesday night. While any rational person would consider our season a rousing success – we did, after all, amass 73 points in 34 regular season matches; this may not sound earth shattering, but it does represent an MLS record for points in a season – that’s not how things work in USA!! USA!!! USA!!!! Here only the playoffs matter. So my Sporting Kansas City friend, whose team was also eliminated in gruesome fashion, and I were commiserating. I texted: ‘A wise person once said it’s not the loss (or rejection) that kills you, it’s the hope.’ Then I realised I’d picked that line up from The Fiver. So I’m devastated, and I’m using The Fiver as a source of wisdom. Does it get any worse than that?” – Michael Monroe.

“Seeing new Norwich City manager Dean Smith standing on the touchline resplendent in a monogrammed club anorak, I idly wondered if he gets to wear his boss’s jacket on other days too?” – Allastair McGillivray.

“The 10 players on the ‘who the Premier League should watch list’ surely give lie to the letters writers accusing the Fiver of English bias and chips on shoulders” – Trevor Wastell.

Send your letters to the.boss@theguardian.com. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Michael Monroe.

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Our Football Weekly Special on how to tackle misogyny in the game is right here.

NEWS, BITS AND BOBS

Ralf Rangnick will take charge of his first match as Manchester United’s interim manager when Crystal Palace visit on Sunday after the paperwork regarding the German’s employment was completed on Thursday.

Christian Eriksen has started training with former club Odense in his native Denmark. “It’s natural for him since he played here in his youth and lives around the corner. We are very happy to be able to provide training facilities for him,” cheered the Danish club.

We&#x002019;re all rooting for you, Christian.
We’re all rooting for you, Christian. Photograph: Robert Perry/EPA

Auckland will stage the opening game of the 2023 Women’s World Cup, with Sydney confirmed as host for the final of football’s showpiece tournament.

Naughty Crystal Palace and Aston Villa have been charged by the Football Association for failing to ensure that players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion, which is important in the modern game.

Everton owner Farhad Moshiri says he will not sack Rafael Benítez anytime soon, so he can expect his P45 in the post. “Rafa needs time to have his mark on the squad,” Moshiri bleated on TalkSport. “He will be supported to add depth to the squad.”

STILL WANT MORE?

Max Rushden declares pundits should be engaging and entertaining, whether that comes in the form of Ally McCoist’s infectious laughter and self-deprecation or Roy Keane’s fury.

Italy could have a shiny new No 9 if they reach next year’s World Cup because Gianluca Scamacca is pulling up trees for Sassuolo. Nicky Bandini has the story.

Ligue 1 is more competitive and unpredictable than you think, Adam White explains.

Rafael Benítez and Salamon Rondón are symptoms, not the cause, of Everton’s deep malaise, argues floating-football-brain-in-a-jar Jonathan Wilson.

England’s 20-0 hammering of Latvia was the final straw for Suzanne Wrack, who says it is time for action to combat the mismatches.

And if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!

MAME BIRAM DIOUF TAKE A BOW

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting