Arsenal v Manchester United. Wenger v Ferguson. Vieira v Keane. Keown’s roar, Rooney’s tumble, Henry’s masterpiece. Tunnel showdowns, heightened tensions, magical moments – this is the glamour game that has it all, and it’s back.
No matter what the circumstances, it remains a fixture that demands attention. A fixture that leaps off the calendar.
There is no getting away from the fact that this particular clash finds its two protagonists some way off the heights they scaled around the turn of the century. Saturday evening pitches sixth in the table against seventh, with neither side at full strength and both still searching for their best form.
But the Gunners have a point to prove. Having gone into the international break on the back of disappointing results against Anderlecht and Swansea City, this match offers the opportunity to right a few wrongs and make a statement about where they are going as a team.
Brendan Rodgers will no doubt point to refereeing decisions that did not go his team’s way, but after a bright opening ten minutes Liverpool never got going and Chelsea more than deserved their three points.
In Oscar and Eden Hazard the Blues have two of the hardest working attacking midfielders in the division, and after a shaky start Gary Cahill and John Terry showed all their class in defence.
The Reds desperately need Daniel Sturridge back after another poor showing from Mario Balotelli, and questions will now be asked as to whether the team picked to play Real Madrid was worth it.
Paul Scholes had made a statement tabout Di Maria “Preparing for the broadcast of the game [Real Madrid v Liverpool, for which Scholes was a television pundit] in Madrid this week, I watched reruns of last season and Angel Di Maria smiling broadly as he celebrated goal after goal with Cristiano Ronaldo.
“He doesn’t seem to be in the same happy mood at United. It feels downbeat among the team.” Howvever, Jorgelina Cardoso insisted that her husband – who became the most expensive player ever purchased by an English club when United paid Real Madrid €76 million for his services this summer – is settling in well to life in Manchester.
Next to a collage of images of Di Maria at United, Cardoso wrote: “You are free to think whatever you want, but in fact, Angel is absolutely happy of being in Manchester United … Buenas noches!!!