Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal rivalry with Man Utd is no longer the same

Mikel Arteta has conceded Arsenal versus Manchester United isn't the heated fixture it once was, and says the introduction of VAR has had a big part to play in changing in the game.

The Gunners and the Red Devils have enjoyed some fiery clashes down the years, with Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson in particular overseeing some monumental battles.

Mikel Arteta comes up against Solskjaer on Saturday | Pool/Getty Images

Arteta's men face Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in the Saturday evening Premier League kick off, and the Spaniard doesn't expect the clash to be the blood and thunder affair we'd once became accustomed to, though he says the change isn't specific to Arsenal against Manchester United.

"It has calmed down, but not only with Arsenal and [Manchester] United fixtures," Arteta told his latest press conference (quoted by the Daily Mail). "In general you see the way the derbies used to get played and it’s not the same right now."

Arteta went on to add that he believes the introduction of VAR and the way players are educated in the game has had a big impact on the evolution of football in the Premier League.

"The game is evolving," he said. "We are educating the players in a different way and for sure now they are not allowed to do some of the things they used to do. With VAR, even less. You are much more controlled and policed so you know you’re not going to get away with certain things."

The Gunners have enjoyed a dramatic upturn in form of late and are currently unbeaten in their last six league outings.

Arteta acknowledges the clash with United will represent a huge test for his young side, and he says his team need to stick together if they're to overcome Solskjaer's men and push for a place in the top four.

"You need that passion to defend your position and show how much you want to win," he added.

Source : 90min