The Most Memorable Arsenal v United Moments Down the Years

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van Persie breaks ground to leave Arsenal and join United

Arguably the most talked about transfer of the past 10 years in the Premier League, Arsenal lost their captain Robin van Persie in the summer of 2012. His destination? Old Trafford.

The Dutchman was a revelation in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last season in management, scoring 26 goals as Manchester United romped to their 20th league title and it remains one of the most bitter and famous transfers in English football history.

van Persie was the difference in United's jump from a 19th title to number 20, and after he said he joined the club to win trophies, he's been dispised by Arsenal fans ever since.

Wiltord wins the league at Old Trafford

Arsenal generally have a rather miserable record at Old Trafford, winning just four times in the Premier League. However, one that lives long in the memories of their fans is a 1-0 win in 2002, which clinched the title for Arsenal.

Sylvain Wiltord slotted in a rebound after Freddie Ljungberg’s effort was saved by Fabien Barthez, securing the Gunners a league and FA Cup double. This goal is, without question, Arsenal's best against United of all-time.


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Pizza-gate controversy as United end Arsenal’s unbeaten run

In October 2004, Arsenal visited Old Trafford for a game that would go on to become one of the most talked about matches in the Premier League era.

The Gunners headed into the game as the champions and having not been beaten for 49 games – a top flight record. However, this trip to Old Trafford was looked at as their biggest test and the time in which this could genuinely fall apart just as they approach the big 50.

United would run away as victors, thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy, but it was the aftermath of the game that would dominate the headlines. Now deemed ‘the Battle of the Buffet’, a slice of pizza would be thrown in the tunnel and hit Sir Alex Ferguson in the face.

The culprit was not identified at the time, but Cesc Fabregas has since revealed that he was responsible. A ca=razy game, but with an even weirder end.

Ryan Giggs’ scores famous FA Cup semi-final goal

Perhaps the most iconic goal from this fixture and the most famous goal in Manchester United's FA Cup history, Ryan Giggs scored one of the best goals FA Cup of all time in a semi-final replay in 1999.

Giggs picked up the ball 10 yards inside his own half, before dribbling past four onrushing Arsenal defenders and smashing the ball past David Seaman in extra time. This goal proved pivotal in United’s season, as they went on to secure a historic treble and this mazy run and sensational finish came just moments after Peter Schmeichel saved a Dennis Bergkamp penalty.

Incredible scenes.

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Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

The gulf in class between these two sides has perhaps never been more evident than in August 2011, when United destroyed Arsenal 8-2. Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Nani, Ji-Sung Park and a Wayne Rooney hattrick condemned Arsenal to their biggest ever Premier League defeat, with van Persie and Theo Walcott scoring the consolations for the Gunners.

United went on to finish second on goal difference that season, with Arsenal finishing 29 points behind in third.

Sanchez and Mkhitaryan swap clubs

Between 2014 and 2018, Alexis Sanchez was one of the best players in the country.

Arsenal had signed him for around £35m from Barcelona and the Chilean forward delivered straight away. However, in January 2018, Sanchez had just six months remaining on his contract and was refusing to sign a new deal. Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United came calling and offered Arsenal a straight swap, as they looked to offload their Armenian flop Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Both men would go on to struggle and now play for Inter Milan and Roma, respectively, making this possibly the worst swap deal of all time, but perhaps the most notable.

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Henry’s wonder goal in 2000

Arguably the greatest player to ever grace the Premier League and certain Arsenal best ever, Thierry Henry, scored eight times in the league against United.

The forward's effort in October 2000 stands out from the rest, with the Frenchman flicking the ball up with his back to goal, before volleying his strike into the top right corner from 25 yards. Arsenal would go on to win the game 1-0, with Henry’s wonder strike stealing the show and all three points.

It's one of the best goals in Premier League history and arguably Henry's greatest to hit the back of the net from the 226 record-breaking goals he scored.

The Highbury tunnel incident in 2005

Two men who epitomised the ferocity of this rivalry in the early 2000s were Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira. One of the most famous instances of this is the war of words between the two in the Highbury tunnel, as an incensed Keane charged after his midfield opponent after being unhappy with Vieira’s threats towards United right-back Gary Neville.

The two had to be separated by players and officials, but it was Keane who had the last laugh, as United won the game 4-2 in a thrilling encounter. However, the game would be remembered for the antics in the tunnel as Keane looked to take on the entire Arsenal squad with his bare hands.

Both men had thrown punches at each other just a few seasons before that as well.

The Battle of Old Trafford

A game which saw a combined seven players fined by the FA, Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal in September 2003 has gone down as one of the fiercest encounters in Premier League history and it was the closest Arsenal came to losing in their Invincibles season.

Following a collision between Arsenal captain Vieira and United striker van Nistelrooy, both players received a yellow card, with this resulting in Vieira being sent off. In the dying seconds of the game, referee Steve Bennett awarded a penalty to United, which van Nistelrooy would take.

The Dutchman, who was arguably the best penalty taker in Europe at the time with 18 scored for United from 21 attempts, however, he had missed two already before that September clash.

The strike smashed his effort against the crossbar, causing a number of Arsenal players, most notably Martin Keown, to get in the United strikers face after the final whistle and absolute carnage would ensue at Old Trafford.

After this, Arsenal won the league unbeaten and this one spot kick was looked at as the moment that could have derailed their entire season.

Van Gaal shocked as energetic Arsenal win in 2015

During a period where neither club was at the heights they once were, Louis van Gaal’s United travelled to the Emirates and were blown away by a fabulous first half display.

An Arsenal side featuring the likes of Mesut Ozil, Sanchez and Aaron Ramsey put on a 20-minute clinic, with an Ozil goal and a Sanchez brace securing a 3-0 victory in style. United’s side, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Memphis Depay were left dejected, as they went on to finish the season in fifth.

By Luke Feather


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