David Sadler column
THE first Big Four showdown of the season at Old Trafford between United and Arsenal on Saturday will show just how foolish some people are for writing teams off. The two clubs have been under fire from the critics and the doubters. Both had suffered big name losses during the close season. City plundered Old Trafford for Carlos Tevez and the Emirates for Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure. United have also lost Cristiano Ronaldo. Neither club invested heavily to replace the departed superstars and the vultures circled both camps. Arsenal, even more than United, were being written off by the critics. They were the ones seen as the most likely to lose their Big Four status to the new breed of challengers. But they have started off like a train. Two wins in the Premier League with ten goals and victory over Celtic on their own patch in the Champions League qualifier. Arsenal danger It was ridiculous in the extreme to dismiss Arsenal. There is no question they have one of the top managers in Arsene Wenger and play the game in the right manner. They have been the antidote to this summer's spending frenzy. Under the radar Wenger has assembled a group of young players who play in a very pleasing way. They might not go all the way but I don't think their place in the top four is under threat. I think Spurs and City are showing all the signs of making the top six, but the so called Big Four will still be in their normal places. United, too, have been written off in many places after losing Ronaldo and Tevez. That feeling reached a crescendo after the defeat against Burnley. The critics were revelling in the predictions that the Reds were on the slide. But what a response at Wigan. I am sure there are a few people feeling a touch silly now after that deluge. Wayne Rooney continues to look in the mood and I thought Dimitar Berbatov was magnificent. Last season's two European Cup matches against the Gunners were terrific and obviously Saturday is a chance to measure how the two teams still stand in the pecking order.
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