Man United vs Arsenal: Why Arteta's success could be blueprint for United

Two of England's most storied soccer teams meet on Sunday with their paths headed in wildly different directions.

armory – Top of the Premier League — is mounting a second consecutive title challenge and hopes to end a two-decade-long wait to finally become a champion.

Manchester United are desperately trying to avoid that Minimum completion In the Premier League era.

Manager Erik ten Hag can still salvage the campaign by winning the FA Cup this month. But also a win against Manchester City final would not disguise his team's poor performance in the league, and at a time when new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe overhauling failed club

It wasn't that long ago that Mikel Arteta's fortunes were similarly ruined at Arsenal.

Lured from City in 2019, when he was Pep Guardiola's trusted assistant, Arteta delivered his first trophy by winning the FA Cup after finishing eighth in the league.

Three consecutive defeats at the start of the following season included a 5-0 defeat at City and calls for Arteta's sacking. Arsenal have blown away their chances of Champions League qualification by losing seven of their last 12 games.

The jury was out on Arteta but Arsenal supported his methods and proved their faith in him with the ability to dispose of high-paid players such as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil. The focus and money was spent on young players who would grow with Arteta and buy into his approach, such as Martin Odegaard, Ben White and Declan Rice, key figures in their rise over the past two seasons.

They led the league with 248 days last season but another slump drew criticism. However, the way Arteta transformed a club that failed to qualify for the Champions League from 2016 to last year is a lesson in the benefits of a manager's patience and faith.

How Ten Hag will hope United follow Arsenal's lead.

The Dutchman has repeatedly called for confidence in his process in the face of consistently poor results.

United's 13 league defeats are the most in the Premier League era. United lost a total of 18.

United have won just one of their last seven league games, against last-placed Sheffield United. Eighth in the standings, on course for its lowest finish of the era.

Such abysmal numbers are why there is so much uncertainty surrounding Ten Hague's position, even with the chance of silverware.

He has pointed to a debilitating injury list all season, and if he can defy the odds in the FA Cup final, he can point to a continued campaign with a trophy that no United manager has achieved since Alex Ferguson.

After also securing a top-four finish in his first season, Ten Haag may consider his second season an outlier.

Ferguson himself believed that the FA Cup was needed in 1990 to ease the pressure after finishing 13th in the division.

But Ten Haag's squad looks unbalanced. United have looked tactically naive and have conceded 81 goals in all competitions so far, the most since 1976-77.

United fans are more than confident that their side can challenge Arsenal for the title this weekend.

Reporting by the Associated Press.

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