Top 5 Man U v Arsenal games


Once this was a rivalry that allowed Sky Sports to use all the melodramatic superlatives, intense music and slow motion close ups of each teams respective talisman  Although the rivalry has calmed down due to the rise of moneybags Chelsea and Manchester City it’s still a game worth watching, especially as Arsenal will want revenge for losing 8-2 in this fixture last year.

So to honour it I have come up with my top 5 games between the two, I hope you enjoy:

1. Arsenal 1 v 2 Manchester United, 14/4/1999.

A game that will forever be remembered for that goal by Ryan Giggs in extra time but there were so many more wonderful memories to come from that game, as long as you support United; David Beckhams wonderful opening goal, some sublime goalkeeping by two of the worlds best, Seaman and Schmeichel, at that time and the fact that bully Patrick Viera grabbed an assist for Giggs goal makes it all the more sweet, again if you support United.

It was an end to end game that would have been worthy of the cliche so often used in the past few days “A real cup tie”. The metaphorical pendulum swung from one team to the next with Solskjaer and Sheringham having chances to wrap it up before Bergkamp scored on 69 minutes then Roy Keane got his second yellow on 74 minutes and the pendulum went in Arsenal’s favour. Not until Schmeichel won the battle of the goalkeepers by saving Bergkamp’s extra time penalty did the momentum fall back with United and then Giggs showed the world his furry chest in a moment that will never be forgotten.

2. Manchester United 0 v 1 Arsenal, 14/3/1998.

This game would be pivotal in the history of the Premiership as it was the moment when Arsenal finally stood up to the team everyone loved to hate and won the Premiership. It was to be the first of many for Arsene Wenger and thoroughly deserved as well. The title race was effectively over with 11 minutes to go when Marc Overmars ran onto a flick on and calmly slotted past the onrushing Schmeichel. It seemed for the first time in a while United would have actual title rivals.

Some may say that this Arsenal team was the catalyst to United treble winning season. Wenger’s team scared United so much that they upped their game for the following season and produced some wonderful football all over the pitch to win that historic treble. This then lead to Wenger wanting to add pace to his lineup to help the burden on Overmars, he signed a Frenchmen from Juventus who’ll make an appearance a little later on in my top 5.

3. Manchester United 2 v 0 Arsenal, 24/10/2004.

It was a game of high intensity and showed Arsenal at their free flowing best at times. The Invincibles were in Manchester and were one game away from reaching the magic 50 in unbeaten games. The game was almost all Arsenal with Henry and Bergkamp being denied by, ahem, Roy Carroll, bet you forgot about him? In fact the man most remembered for that ‘disallowed’ Mendes goal saved United on many occasions that day, the save to stop Jose Antonio Reyes was one of his highlights.

Just like usual the first goal came from a dodgy penalty decision that may have been ignored by the ref had the game been at any other ground in the country, unfortunately for Arsenal it wasn’t and Van Nistlerooy scored and celebrated as wildly as a current BBC pundit did when he missed one the previous year. With Arsenal throwing everything but the kitchen sink United broke on the counter attack and, on his birthday, Wayne Rooney ended the invincibles unbeaten run.

Arsenal have never fully recovered from the end of the invincibles, it was the end of this season they won the FA Cup but the trophy cabinet has remained idle ever since.

4. Manchester United 0 v 0 Arsenal, 21/9/2003.

A game remembered as the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’ with a total of 31 fouls committed by both teams, 13 by United and 18 by Arsenal. It was a tight affair with little of the actual game making the headlines. The ‘battle’ began in the last 15 minutes of the game when Patrick Viera was sent off for two yellow cards within 3 minutes, the second for a kick out at Van Nistlerooy.

In the 90th minute substitute Diego Forlan went down under a challenge by Keown in the area and a penalty was given. Ruud stepped up and hit the bar before being surrounded by Lauren, Keown and Ashley Cole. Keown’s face looked similar to something from one of the epic scenes during the end of the second season of Game of Thrones. Whenever Keown says there is no place in the game for aggressive behavior it reminds of almost every hypocritical tweet by Joey Barton, my personal favourite being: “Why do people feel the need to solve everything with violence? Not me I’m a pacifist”. T**t!

5. Arsenal (Henry) 1 v 0 Manchester United, 30/9/2000.

This game wasn’t particularly gripping or monumental in terms of who would win the title but it did allow us to see a goal of sheer liquid wonderment. I’m of course talking of Thierry Henry’s exquisite volley of which I can never get bored of watching: click here to watch a genius at work.

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