Arsenal vs Manchester United

Arsenal vs Manchester United (Flickr)

Neither Arsenal nor Manchester United have won the Premier League since the 2012/13 season (when the Red Devils pipped their local rivals Man City to the title in Alex Ferguson’s last campaign in charge). But in the two decades prior to that, the Premier League title race often involved a straight battle between the Gunners and United, with the Manchester side usually coming out on top. Indeed, in the nine seasons from 1995/96 to 2003/04, the title was only won by either Arsenal or Man United.

In this article, we’ll take a look back at how Arsenal have performed against Manchester United in the Premier League era, both in terms of the number of titles won and their overall head-to-head record.

Arsenal vs Manchester United: Premier League Titles

Team Number of Premier League Titles Seasons Title Won
Arsenal 3 1997/98, 2001/02, 2003/04
Manchester United 13 1992/93, 1993/94, 1995/96, 1996/97, 1998/99, 1999/2000, 2000/01, 2002/03, 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09, 2010/11, 2012/13

Okay, there can be no real dispute here: Man United have been far more successful than Arsenal when it comes to winning Premier League titles. Interestingly, up to the end of the 2022/23 season, both sides have finished as runners-up on seven occasions. Also, as of the end of the 2022/23 season, Man United and Arsenal occupy the top two spots (in that order) in both the total number of Premier League wins and the total number of Premier League goals scored. Arsenal fans will be heartened to know that Tottenham are also in second place on an all-time Premier League list… goals conceded!

The balance could have been tipped slightly the other way had Arsenal converted at least some of their second-place finishes into titles. And finishing second to Man United three times in a row from 1998/99 to 2000/01 and then again in 2002/03 was heartbreaking for many Arsenal fans. But at least in 2003/04 the Gunners achieved something the Red Devils never have when the Invincibles of Arsenal went the whole season without a single defeat!

Arsenal vs Manchester United: Premier League Head-to-head Record

Arsenal Stat Manchester United
18 Wins 26
18 Draws 18
26 Losses 18
70 Goals 87
19 Clean Sheets 17
131 Yellow Cards 129
4 Red Cards 5

Prior to the start of the 2023/24 season, Arsenal and Man United had met 62 times in the Premier League. Of those, Man United won 26, Arsenal 18 and there were 18 draws. So, unfortunately for Arsenal fans (though perhaps not surprisingly), Man United are once again ahead, and it will take a while for the Gunner to catch up.

There was a strong rivalry between the clubs when Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson were at their respective helms, and even between certain players from the two clubs (Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira having several particularly feisty run-ins). This is partially represented by the number of yellow and red cards shown in fixtures between them. However it should be mentioned that Arsenal have had eight reds against Spurs in the Premier League, and Man United have had a whopping 10 when playing against Liverpool.

Memorable Premier League Matches Between Arsenal and Man United

Arsenal vs Manchester United

There have been numerous memorable games over the years between these sides in the Premier League, but perhaps none more so than 28th August, 2011. The sides met at Old Trafford as old rivals Wenger and Ferguson had yet another chance to gain bragging rights over the other.

On this occasion, however, it was the Man United boss who had a gigantic smile as he watched his side smash Arsenal by the unlikely scoreline of 8-2. Among the scorers for the Red Devils was Wayne Rooney, who remains United’s top scorer against Arsenal (with 14 in all competitions).

For their part, Arsenal haven’t ever really hammered Man United by massive scorelines in the Premier League. But their duo of league victories over their title rivals in the 1997/98 campaign were certainly very sweet for Arsenal players, staff and fans. The first of Arsenal’s double over United that season came at Highbury in November 1997 when the Gunners went 2-0 up with goals from Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Vieira, only for a Teddy Sheringham brace to draw United level before half time.

In a tense second half, Arsenal got the eventual breakthrough when David Platt scored in the 83rd minute. With the title race nip and tuck, the sides met for the second time that season at Old Trafford in March. In a much tighter affair, a single Marc Overmars goal in the 79th minute proved decisive… and Arsenal went on to win the title by a single point, with Man United in second place.

Will Arsenal Turn the Tide Against Man United?

As things stand, Arsenal are well behind Man United when it comes to their direct head-to-head record in the Premier League and indeed in terms of the number of titles they’ve won. But they have finished ahead of United in the league in each of the past two seasons and they have also won five and drawn three of the last 10 league matches against them. So the question is, could Arsenal, under the stewardship of Mikel Arteta, finally start getting the upper hand against the Red Devils?

Well, it’s certainly possible, but there are so many variables that is really too early to say. At the time of writing, Arteta is doing an excellent job at the Emirates and his win percentage is better than Arsène Wenger’s (58.14% to Wenger’s 57.25%). But if the Spaniard continues the way he’s going, he has a chance of at least getting towards parity in the head-to-head stats with United. But, in terms of the number of Premier League titles, we can’t see Arsenal catching the Red Devils any time soon, mainly because Man City are likely to hoover up the majority of them for the next few years!