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Arsenal’s rivalry with Manchester United has “lost its cutting edge” because neither side is able to sign the best talent available and have tumbled down the Premier League pecking order as a result, says Nigel Winterburn.
The outcome of contests that pitted Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson into tactical battle would often determine the destination of a domestic crown.
That is no longer the case, with those on the red halves of north London and Manchester having endured humbling falls from grace.
Passion has ebbed away from both camps, with Mikel Arteta and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer taking on sizeable rebuilding projects in their respective posts.
They will lock coaching horns at Old Trafford on Sunday, but Winterburn feels both teams are lacking a spark and cannot see either forcing their way back into title contention any time soon.
The former Arsenal defender told FreeSuperTips: “Manchester United and Arsenalhas lost its cutting edge asthe game is not as physical as it once was, and both teamsare no longer feared in the Premier Leaguelike they were when I was playing.
“When I was coming through,Manchester United werethe team that everyonein the Premier Leaguewas desperate tobeat.
“At Arsenal, youalways felt that if you beat Manchester Unitedin theleague, then you wouldfinish ahead of themand have a great chance of winning the title.
“Those games,you had addedintensitybecause of the history and incidents that would happen that made those games so special,and asa player you wanted to beapart of those games.
“They arestill twohuge clubs,butthey’re not teams that arefighting for thetitle andhavebothfallen down the pecking order when it comes to signing the best players.
“Arsenalwere alwaysgoinghead-to-headwith Manchester Unitedfor league titles,and that is where the intensity stemmed fromand where they have both fell off in recent years, the game has lost its edge.
“It must be said that the rivalry is not what it was, but it is still a huge game which the players should be able to motivate themselves for.”
If Arsenal are to start turning the tide, then they need to dramatically improve their record on the road against fellow members of the so-called ‘Big Six’.