Manchester United v Arsenal: 10 famous matches

Manchester United v Arsenal: 10 famous matches
By Eurosport

08/11/2013 at 11:49Updated

Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday for the latest instalment in one of English football's fiercest rivalries.

Here we pick out 10 of the best meetings between the two clubs over the past 25 years.

1- Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (a.e.t): April 14, 1999, Villa Park (FA Cup semi-final replay)

Ryan Giggs's wonder goal can be forgiven for stealing the headlines in what was an exceptional match. United took a first-half lead with a classy long-range strike from David Beckham in a game that ebbed and flowed, until the Gunners equalised midway through the second half with a Denis Bergkamp shot that deflected off Jaap Stam and squirmed under the body of Peter Schmeichel.

It took on a whole new dimension when Roy Keane was sent off for a second yellow card and, with the introduction of Marc Overmars, Arsenal were all over United. Nicolas Anelka had a goal disallowed for offside and United's dream of an unprecedented trophy haul seemed over when Phil Neville brought down Bergkamp to give away an injury-time penalty.

But the drama had only just begun. Schmeichel saved Bergkamp's spot-kick to force extra-time, during which Giggs ran from halfway, beat the entire Arsenal back-line and fired into the roof of the net to score an outrageous goal that ranks among the all-time greats. United went on to beat Newcastle in the final and win a famous treble.

2- Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal: September 21, 2003 (Premier League)

A clash of the titans in which football was secondary, this bore-draw was memorable for the deranged scenes that saw players from both sides land in hot water.

Arsenal were furious with United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy after Patrick Vieira was sent off for aiming a swing at him. Ironically for a player renowned for going to ground rather easily, the Dutchman stayed on his feet, but the Gunners felt that his reaction helped get Vieira dismissed and they took great pleasure when he missed a late penalty.

One of football's nice guys off the pitch, former England defender Martin Keown danced around Van Nistelrooy after he failed to beat Jens Lehmann, provoking Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo into a melee that also saw Ray Parlour, Ashley Cole, Lauren and - unsurprisingly - Lehmann hauled in front of football's authorities.

3- Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal: May 8, 2002 (Premier League)

Arsenal clinched a famous double with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford. Sylvain Wiltord has never been regarded as the greatest of players but he had a knack of scoring vital goals under pressure: two years previously he hit a stoppage-time equaliser in the Euro 2000 final against Italy that France went on to win.

He finished on 58 minutes after Fabien Barthez parried Freddie Ljungberg's shot as Arsenal won their last 13 matches that season to pull clear of United. Arsenal fans still fondly sing "We won the league in Manchester" as they remember that day.

4- Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal: October 20, 1990 (First Division)

Anders Limpar's goal gave Arsenal the win at Old Trafford en route to the old First Division title, but the match is remembered more for the fighting than the football. Arsenal were deducted two points and United one after a 21-man brawl that shocked the public and entertained fans for years to come.

Nigel Winterburn went in late on Dennis Irwin, Brian McClair lost his head, perhaps with a previous encounter with Winterburn in mind, and started kicking him, Limpar got involved and then everyone else bar David Seaman piled in.

With hindsight it is hilarious that no-one was sent off as nowadays merely stepping in to a man is enough to warrant a straight red card. The FA acted retrospectively but the incident set the scene for what was hitherto a non-rivalry - United had been too mediocre to matter for the previous 20 years.

5- Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal: October 24, 2004 (Premier League)

In an incident that will forever be known as 'Pizzagate', United and Van Nistelrooy got their revenge for events a year before with a 2-0 win thanks to a late Wayne Rooney goal and, appropriately, a controversial penalty from the Dutchman.

The match was a tense and angry affair but everything seemed in check until after the final whistle, when Arsenal - whose record, 49-match unbeaten run had come to an end - kicked off in the tunnel. Sir Alex Ferguson left Old Trafford looking like a struggling mother covered in pizza, soup and possibly baby sick.

Fingers were pointed at various players, and it is widely believed that Cesc Fabregas was the man who blotted Fergie's suit with a slice of pizza.

6- Manchester United 6-1 Arsenal: February 25, 2001 (Premier League)

As soon as the team sheets were published a shudder of fear gripped Arsenal supporters. Ashley Cole was at left-back - fine. Oleg Luzhny was at right-back - somewhat concerning. And the centre-backs were Gilles Grimandi and Igor Stepanovs - downright terrifying.

Their apprehension was well merited. Inside 22 minutes Dwight Yorke had plundered a hat-trick, and three became four when Roy Keane left his stamp on the game after 26 minutes. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer made it five after 38 minutes and one of the worst results of Wenger's career was compounded at the death by Teddy Sheringham.

In the build-up to the fixture, Wenger claimed that "United haven't done anything special this season." The win took them 16 points clear at the top of the table.

7- Arsenal 3-1 Manchester United: November 25, 2001 (Premier League)

A World Cup winner, Fabien Barthez left Highbury as the subject of no little ridicule following a display of comical ineptitude that was likened in the Telegraph to "an exhibition of French surrealist theatre."

With United drawing 1-1 and only 10 minutes left on the clock, Barthez handed Arsenal the initiative when firing a terrible goal-kick straight at Thierry Henry - the man who a year earlier had beaten his international colleague with a quite wonderful flick and volley. This time he only had to roll the ball home.

Incredibly, though, there was still time for another error as five minutes later the keeper came racing out to collect the ball on the edge of the box and let it escape his grasp, Henry gratefully tucking his shot away. The image of Barthez yanking his shorts high and howling into the night air was a hard one to dispel.

8- Manchester United 4-0 Arsenal: February 16, 2008 (FA Cup)

The scoreline alone cannot convey the depths of despair Arsenal trod in this FA Cup tie at Old Trafford. It was a disgustingly bad performance from a team that looked uninterested, and even Wenger admitted with masterful understatement that "positive points are difficult to find today."

But the coup de grace was supplied by Nani, who took to taunting a creaking Arsenal defence with his trickery. At one stage he juggled the ball on his head while a desperate Justin Hoyte took a swipe at his legs and ended up sprawled on the floor. With William Gallas also having a kick at Nani later on in the contest, Ferguson had to tell the Portuguese winger not to inflict such humiliation on opponents lest he end up in trouble.

This was a humbling day indeed, with the Observer reporting: "Napoleon can hardly have retreated from Moscow with less dignity than Arsenal returned to London from Manchester."

9- Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United: May 5, 2009 (Champions League)

After Arsenal survived an onslaught to only lose the first leg of their Champions League semi-final 1-0 at Old Trafford, the crowd assembled at Emirates Stadium was bursting with expectation, the sound reverberating around this corner of North London like never before.

Amid deafening cheers from the home fans, Arsenal started with vigour and purpose and clearly possessed the belief that they would overturn their disadvantage and reach a second Champions League final. But then, eight minutes in, Kieran Gibbs's disastrous slip allowed Park Ji-Sung to score and all belief drained away.

Three minutes later, Manuel Almunia somehow allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to score with a free kick from 40 yards and Ronaldo added a third in the second half when Arsenal had a corner, lost possession and saw their non-existent defence carved apart by a break of surgical precision.

A gutted Wenger described it as "the most disappointing night I've had."

10- Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal: August 28, 2011 (Premier League)

If the Champions League loss was Wenger's worst night, then this was his worst day. Arsenal fans may have imagined that nothing could ever be as punishing as the 6-1 a decade previously, yet another glance at the team sheet inspired a similar sense of dread as alongside Laurent Koscielny in defence were Johan Djourou, Armand Traore and Carl Jenkinson, then still horribly raw following his arrival from Charlton.

Predictably, Arsenal found it hard going. But no one could have anticipated the scale of the loss, Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick and Ashley Young scoring twice as United ruthlessly tore into a fragile Arsenal team.

Jenkinson's dismissal for two rather desperate tackles encapsulated just how out of their depth Arsenal were as Wenger suffered his worst defeat. Perhaps the most abject humiliation came when his greatest rival said: "We could have scored more but you don't want to score more against a weakened team like that."

0
0