The Gunners haven’t won at Old Trafford in a decade and Arsene Wenger has never beaten Jose Mourinho in the league – but as should be clear by now, post-truth 2016 doesn’t care about logic.
Thierry Henry has said le professeur recording a league victory was something “everyone wants to see” – and the time has come.
On Saturday an ageing idealist will finally overcome his ruthless nemesis in the early fixture – here’s why.
1. Perfect records are made to be spoiled.
An unbeaten streak is like a field of untouched snow: beautiful while it lasts, but rain, sun, or snowball-wielding kids – or, in this case, perhaps Arsenal – are going to ruin it soon.
Wenger’s record against Mourinho stands at (W1 D6 L8) – and the win didn’t really count as it was the Community Shield.
Arsenal boast the best shot conversion in the league, have spent the least time trailing of any Premier League side and are coming up against a shaky United team missing key defenders Eric Bailly and Chris Smalling.
2. Alexis Sanchez is bionic.
Hamstring injury, they said. Out for six weeks, they said.
Instead, the bandaged Chilean magician thundered home two goals for his national side against a team containing Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
“I will train on Friday and travel the same day to Manchester to play Saturday midday. There is no problem with me playing,” he told reporters after the game.
He is now just one goal shy of being Chile’s all-time top scorer and looks revitalised in a new striker role for Arsenal, scoring eight goals in 15 appearances this season.
3. Wayne Rooney could still be hungover.
A swivel-eyed Rooney with red wine mouth plastered all over the papers is outstanding news.
Though the United skipper has plodded through games looking slow and heavy this season he usually finds a way to score against the Gunners.
Thankfully, it’s much harder to hit the target when you’re wrecked.
Trebles all round, Wayne!
4. Mourinho’s star has died a death.
The past year has been the worst period in the Special One’s career, with the spectacular Chelsea implosion the crowning moment.
He has already publicly criticised his players for weakness, notably questioning the toughness of players like Luke Shaw and Smalling for not playing through injuries.
It led to a rebuke from Martin Keown, who wrote in the MailOnline: “If a manager had fronted me up publicly, I’d be knocking on his door and saying, ‘How dare you question me in public’.
“I’ve judged that I can’t play with that injury.”
More of the same please, Mou.
5. Arsenal finally have a German defender who can turn quicker than milk.
Shkodran Mustafi, the last-minute £35 million purchase, looks like he has been playing with Laurent Koscielny for years.
Thanks to his efforts this season, just three teams have a tighter defence on the road than Arsenal.
The ex-Valencia centre-back is quick, strong in the air, fearless in the tackle and has a great haircut – which as we all know is a prerequisite to play for The Arsenal.