These two clubs dominated domestic football in the late 90’s/ 2000’s and created some of the biggest rivalries in the English game. When the fixture lists come out in the summer Arsenal vs United is always one to watch out for, whether you’re a neutral or a die hard fan. Here we take a look at some of the factors contributing to the rivalry…
1998 Charity Shield
Arsenal won both the FA Cup and the Premier League and so faced 2nd place United in the Charity Shield at Wembley. Both starting XIs contained some future world stars; United consisted of the Class of 92, whereas Arsenal’s Dutch and French imports stole the show with Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka getting on the scoresheet as Arsenal ran out 3-0 winners. This was the start of a period of dominance for the Gunners and a growing rivalry between Wenger and Ferguson.
Crossing the Divide
In this instance, Robin Van Persie vs Danny Welbeck. Other greats like David Platt and Andy Cole have played for both, but when Arsenal lost RVP to bitter rivals United it was the captain and the Premier League’s top scorer they stole; Arsenal fans are yet to get over this.
Van Persie topped it all off by becoming top scorer again the next season, scoring against his former club in the process. This season however, most of the talk is around the excitement of Welbeck; Who’s goals and assists have proven vital for Arsenal already since joining from United.
Who’ll come out on top, the Manchester born and life long United fan or the traitor?
The game that ended Arsenal’s invincible’s 49 game unbeaten run, but it was off the pitch that grabbed all the headlines. At full time there was a full on bust up when the other Flying Dutchman Van Nistelrooy told his boss that Wenger had been having a go at him all game and of course, the angry Scotsman confronted the him causing a braul in the tunnel; which resulted in Cesc Fabregas launching a slice of pizza at Sir Alex’s face.
It makes you think, there needs to be more CCTV around the grounds… Half the nation would have paid to see this!
Man United 8 – 2 Arsenal (2011)
August 2011 saw Fergies boys tear Arsenal apart at Old Trafford, with an average at best United team. A Rooney hat trick and Ashley Young’s best game for the club sealed the victory, in which Sir Alex didn’t even bother celebrating half of the goals. Wenger admitted he was ‘humiliated’ by the result. Last season the Gunners still struggled against the top clubs being thrashed by Liverpool, Chelsea and City.
Man Utd 0 – 0 Arsenal (2003)
At 0-0, a last minute sending off for Paddy Vieira resulting in a United penalty was every United fans dream, but the spot kick was missed by Van Nistelrooy, resulting in Keown, Lauren, Parlour and Cole all verbally abusing and jumping on the Dutchman.
Six Arsenal and two United players were charged with improper conduct from the aftermath of the missed penalty and Arsenal would carry on being unbeaten for 49 games. Van Nistelrooy had the last laugh a year on, scoring a penalty and ending Arsenal’s run.
United Arsenal Champions league Semi final (2009)
Arsenal and United had had enough of each other by the time the Champions League Semi Final came around in 2009 having played in the FA Cup, League and 2 Champions League clashes all in a short space of time. United were already 1-0 up from the first leg, and were unstoppable at the Emirates winning 3-1 thanks to an early Ji-Sung Park goal (who always had a blinder against Arsenal) and a Cristiano Ronaldo brace.
Ryan Giggs FA Cup Semi final (1999)
One of the greatest goals ever by the most decorated footballer on the planet. After a sloppy pass from Vieira, Giggs took the ball in his own half and with pure determination flew passed the sorry Arsenal backline before smashing it past Seaman into roof of the net. United were down to 10 men and counted on Schmeichel to save a last minute penalty. In a game that had everything, United ran out 2-1 winners and Giggs added to his legendary status he was building at the time.