The Red Devils vs the Gunners: Rivalry renewed
Ahead of the awaited Man United and Arsenal match, let’s take a look back at some of the memorable moments between these two Premier League giants.
For almost a decade, the two clubs were the top two teams in English football. From Sir Alex Ferguson versus Arsene Wenger these huge personalities collided, competed and conquered for nine seasons where the title moved exclusively between Manchester and North London.
Man United will host Arsenal this Monday. Although the age-old Premier League rivalry may no longer possess its heavyweight standing, it’s likely to have a significant bearing on their prospects of returning to the Champions League as pressure mounts on both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Unai Emery.
Between 1997 and 2004, United and Arsenal were the only clubs to finish as champions. They collected five FA Cups between then.
Between 1997 and February 2005, there were only three meetings when one of them was not top of the table. In contrast, since November 2014, not one of their meetings has involved either side going in as League leaders.
“It was an intense rivalry. More so at a time when the title was going to go to United and Arsenal,” says Andrew Mangan.
“The games always felt pivotal when the two teams met.”
“There was a lot of rivalry between the managers, players and the fans and they were the two best teams in England. The rivalry felt personal but that was because of the quality of the teams.”
But times and situations have changed. United has failed to win the title since Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge in 2012/13.
Arsenal has been waiting since their unforgettable unbeaten season in 2003/04.
This season looks like another battle in which it will be to finish in the top four.
Memorable League meetings
Some infamous matches have been mentioned, but there are plenty of other league encounters that stick in the memory:
March 1998, Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal
Marc Overmars’ winning goal was the difference and turned the title race in Arsenal’s favor as Arsene Wenger’s side’s 10-game winning run helped them to their first Premier League title.
February 2001, Man Utd 6-1 Arsenal
A first-half hat-trick by Dwight Yorke set United on their way to a thumping victory and they would go on to win the title again.
May 2002, Man Utd 0-1 Arsenal
The Gunners needed just a point to clinch their second double in four years and Sylvain Wiltord’s winning goal proved the difference as Arsenal celebrated in front of their fans at Old Trafford.
April 2003, Arsenal 2-2 Man Utd
A crucial clash towards the end of the season which would have made Arsenal favorites for the title had they won. Instead, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Ryan Giggs canceled out Thierry Henry’s double to ensure United would collect the title.
August 2011, Man Utd 8-2 Arsenal
United inflicted Arsenal’s heaviest defeat since 1896 through Wayne Rooney’s hat-trick and Ashley Young’s double, but United went on to lose the title on goal difference to Manchester City.