People will look at the league table from 12 months ago to judge how a team is performing in relation to last season. But this doesn’t accurately reflect the progression (or regression) of a team from season to season. The order of the fixture list can leave a team in an artificial league position that isn’t a clear indication of where it will end up in May.

To fix that problem, I’ve chosen to compare the matches that have been played this season against the result of the same fixture from last year. This way, you get a better picture of whether or not Arsenal and United have improved or declined this season. *Spoiler* - It’s not looking good for either team.

United 13/14 Vs United 14/15

Although David Moyes was regularly criticised, and Van Gaal has been on the receiving end of a lot of praise, United are actually performing worse under the Dutchman than they were when the Scot was in charge.

If you exclude the games against newly promoted teams (Burnley, Leicester and QPR), United have played eight games this season, and accumulated twelve points in the process - scoring ten goals and conceding nine.

Yet in the same fixtures last year, United picked up sixteen points, scoring thirteen goals and conceding just seven.

Arsene Wenger has been handed a massive boost ahead of this weekend’s fixture with Manchester United as French striker Olivier Giroud has been cleared to make his comeback from a broken leg against the Reds.

Giroud has been sidelined since August with the injury sustained in the 2-2 draw with Everton at Goodison Park, however he will be available to face Louis van Gaal’s struggling United side.

United have a formidable record against the Gunners having lost just one of the last 14 meetings between the Premier League heavyweights, with Aaron Ramsey sealing a win in May 2011. Last season saw yet more disappointment despite United’s ultimate failings as former captain Robin van Persie snatched the win at Old Trafford while the sides played out a goalless draw at the Emirates.

As is normal with international breaks, players return home and speak to their local media, that combined with journalists having little else to talk about ensures that stories of players’ happiness are bound to emerge.

Tomas Rosicky has stated that he “doesn’t know what’s going on” in terms of his lack of playing time. The 34 year old claims that he is still in the top 5 in terms of quickest Arsenal players. Understandable for the Czech Republic captain to air some frustration after being a key part of Arsenal’s successful period last season.

Aaron Ramsey has admitted that he isn’t fully fit yet, and thinks that some of the criticism of him is unfair. While he hasn’t been terrible, the Welshman is a long way from his peaks of last season.

Arsenal are targeting a January move for Juventus midfielder Claudio Marchisio. He has been linked with a big move to Manchester United in the last few months, but failed to make the switch. Now the Daily Mirror website is suggesting that the Gunners are ready to swoop in and tempt Juventus into selling. The Italian international turns 29 in January and has been born and raised in Turin.

According to the Daily Star website, Arsenal have set their asking price for striker Paulo Dybala. Scouts have been impressed by the kind of ability he has been showing, resulting in the South American star being linked with a move to Arsenal.

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini told Italian Radio CRC that it would take a "mammoth offer" for him to consider selling Dybala.

Arsenal near £26m deal for Barcelona’s Pedro, reports Metro. Arsenal are hoping to sign Pedro from Barcelona when the transfer window opens in January as Wenger might as well just got himself a traditional winger.

The Spain international was promoted to the first-team at Barcelona during Pep Guardiola's reign at Barcelona. His incisive movement from wide positions and capability to play on either wing produced 15 goals in 37 league matches last season. However, since Luis Enrique took over this season, he has only played 90 minutes in one league game.

The winger insists he remains supported at Camp Nou:

"The coach is giving me a lot of confidence and he speaks to me even though I'm not getting in the team," said Pedro, per the aforementioned report. "I know it's hard to play at Barcelona, so I will continue to give my all and do well.".