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Sunday, May 29, 2022

Premier League – Manchester Utd v Arsenal: Classic Matches


Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford tonight for the latest instalment in one of English football’s fiercest rivalries. They have faced off in some league and cup classics over the years, as we recall.
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 and Giggs was rewarded with the PFA award… 10 years later.
2- Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal: September 21, 2003 (Premier League)
Another clash of the titans in which football was secondary, this bore-draw was memorable for the deranged, simian 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.
Let’s call it ‘Monkeygate’, as Martin Keown’s taunts stood out more than anything else.
One of football’s nice guys off the pitch, the former England defender danced around Van Nistelrooy like a big yellow chimp, provoking Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo into a melee that also saw Ray Parlour, Ashley Cole, Lauren and – unsurprisingly – Jens 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 main rivals Manchester United in a match that Gunners fans have since immortalised in a quite funny song.
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.
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 McLair 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 Monkeygate with a 2-0 win thanks to a late Wayne Rooney goal and, appropriately, a controversial Van Nistelrooy penalty.
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 but both clubs played down the row.
Source: Eurosport

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