While Manchester United go to The Emirates in pursuit of the title, Arsenal's instead face the search for their own balls.
1. The Emirates
Despite its derisory nickname 'The Library', Highbury cooked up a fervid atmosphere whenever Manchester United were in town. With its gorgeous marble halls and famous North Bank, it was among the most beloved stadiums in Britain. In contrast, the Emirates' crowd alternates between quiet and cranky. They do a cracking line in gourmet canapes, but the experience is about as intimidating as a day trip to Pontypandy.
He's a balding, slightly overweight Scouser, and the best English player since Paul Gascoigne. Sure, he scares kids all over the land with his wonderful vocabulary, and threatened to leave the club only last year. But on current form, he's easily among the world's very best, and provides a deadliness that Arsenal couldn't match without taking to the field bearing arms.
Since Roy Keane informed Patrick Vieira he'd 'see him out there', Arsenal have usually opted to leave their cojones tucked safely away in the dressing droom. They fritter away 4-0 leads, they give away 102nd minute equalisers, and they let Birmingham City win trophies. In short, any hint of struggle turns them into wibbling combustible mards.
Sometime after the departure of Thierry Henry, Arsenal decided taking shots from outside the box was an improper diversion from the club's strictly aesthetic principles. Safe in the knowledge that they play the best football in the world - bar Barcelona, who don't count, because they humiliate the Gunners on an almost yearly basis - Arsenal fans don't bother themselves with trivial matters like results, points and trophies.
5. Darron Gibson
Yeah, he was hounded off Twitter in less than two hours by his own supporters, but he does what no Arsenal player can: shoot from more than five yards out with a brutal, backwards bovine conviction.
Play Ji Sung Park against Arsenal and he morphs into a rampaging, goal-scoring warrior: a man born to lead continents into battle
Manchester United's three eldest players, Edwin van der Sar, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, have 23 Premier League winners medals between them alone. That's not to mention other competitions, or indeed the achievements of other squad members like O'Shea, Ferdinand and Brown. United's players know how to win and then do it all over again the next year. Ad nauseum. Arsenal haven't won a trophy since 2005, and their players show no sign of learning how.
7. Park Ji-Sung
Small, weak and unsteady, Park often seems like he's solely on the pitch to run around relentlessly and bump into other players, thus creating some kind of chaos effect. However, play him against Arsenal, as Ferguson usually does, and he morphs into a rampaging, goal-scoring warrior: a man born to lead continents into battle. Or, a man that's suddenly realised he's only up against a bunch of eight-year old girls.
In Ferdinand and Vidic, United have the outstanding central defensive pairing of the last five years. Since Arsenal did the double over United in 2006-07 and Adebayor dragged the pair all over the show, Arsenal have had barely a sniff against the Reds, winning only one of the last eleven meetings.
9. The 2005 F.A. Cup Final
Arsenal's most recent piece of silverware, and among the gravest pieces of injustice wrought on the world in the last decade. A rampant United pulverised the Arsenal goal while Vieira and co. snidely hung on for 120 minutes, desperate for a pot-luck penalty shootout. They eventually won after Paul Scholes erred from the spot, but their lack of success in the years since proves that there must be someone up there at least attempting to balance things out.
Immersed in a bubble coat the size of Africa, Arsene Wenger appears a man desperately trying to evade a hostile world. Referees are against him, Stoke kick his little babbies with gleeful mirth, and his failure is always due to external influence. Meanwhile, Alex Ferguson ploughs on, attacking the FA and opponents with a knowing, calculated ease. If teams work out how to stop United, he simply finds a new way to win, by hook or by crook. Until he retires (or more believably, passes away in the dugout like his friend Jock Stein), there appears only one likely outcome: victory for Ferguson and United.
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