As Manchester United and Arsenal prepare to lock horns tomorrow night we look back over the years at some of the craziest moments this fixture has produced… Its fair to say there has been a few!
The french stopper was brought to Old Trafford to fill the boots of Peter Schmeichel. He was known to be an eccentric goalkeeper who has his fair share of theatrical moments. Barthez joined United with a big reputation after two successful major tournaments with France. However, one moment he will always be remembered for is that night at Highbury in 2001/02 season.
The game was perfectly balanced as Freddie Ljunberg cancelled out Paul Schole’s opener. The game was most definitely heading towards a draw until Barthez played his part… He completely miscued a clearance straight to that man Henry who made no mistake. To add to his misery a long ball some how went under his grasp and Henry again made no mistake.
An extremely heated affair between the two teams came at Highbury in the 1999/2000 season. And it was the same old culprits again… Keane rattled into Viera and was certain to leave a bit on him and that he did. A late kick out on the Arsenal man sparked a brawl in the middle of the park. Viera hits Keane with a headbutt then it erupts. Jaap Stam is busting to get involved in the action.
The Dutchman has Patrick Viera locked by the throat with players trying to get him off. But it is not happening! The good old days between the two giants of English football!
Arsene Wenger doesn’t have fond memories of Old Trafford. From facing his heaviest defeat as a manager to losing his legendary invincible streak, the Theatre of Dreams is somewhat a Theatre of Nightmares for the Frenchman. Things got worse for the then Arsenal gaffer when his side lost to United in Novermber 2009.
Wenger lost his cool after Robin Van Persie’s equaliser was ruled out as William Gallas appeared to be in an offside position. The Arsenal boss then smashes a bottle down the line in disbelief and the Referee shows him a red card in the dying seconds of the game. Wenger was banished to the stands where he was forced to spend the last moments of the game among the Old Trafford faithful.
That moment at Highbury when the world was watching Keane and Viera AGAIN! They came up against each other plenty of times in many heated confrontations, but the most memorable clash between Keane and Vieira came on February 1st 2005. The TV cameras were perfectly placed the catch the moment in the tight Highbury tunnel.
Roy Keane took exception to something Viera had said to Gary Neville. Keano was restrained by referee Graham Poll after making his way through a sea of bodies to get at the Arsenal skipper. Stopped by Poll Keane can be heard shouting to Viera “We’ll see out there”. This incident over shadows the game as many people forget the game itself but remember only this incident. It was a Highbury cracker as United defeated Arsenal 4-2.
It was an early season clash in 03/04 between the pair at Old Trafford. The Dutch striker had been involved in an altercation earlier in the game which led to Patrick Viera being sent off. The game was deep into injury time when United got a chance too win the game. Martin Keown fouled Diego Forlan in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Arsenals impressive start to the season was under threat as Van Nistelrooy stepped up to hit the Penalty.
Jens Lehmann in the Arsenal goal done everything to put Ruud off and it certainly worked… The forward man cracked the bar and the ball was cleared. As the Final whistle went Keown approached Ruud Van Nistelrooy and danced in his face which followed all the Arsenal players surrounding him and doing the same thing. After the game it is reported a mass brawl between both sets of players erupted. I wonder who was involved!