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Arsenal vs Manchester United: Three classic matches of all-time

Arsenal and arch-rivals Manchester United lock horns in this weekend's standout Premier League fixture at the Emirates Stadium.

The classic rivalry has pushed both the clubs to new heights, producing world-class football, high drama levels, and massive controversies.

Manchester United and Arsenal are two of the biggest household names in English football, however, their rivalry became a defining fixture only in the late 1990s and early 2000s as they battled for the bragging rights in the Premier League title and the FA Cup.

We revisit some of the most memorable encounters between Manchester United and Arsenal in their great sporting history:

August 2011: Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal

The Manchester United-Arsenal rivalry in the Premier League has been a delight to watch. However, the meeting in the 2011-12 Premier League season serves as a reminder of why English football rivalries remain as one to keep a tab on in the sporting world.

Wayne Rooney’s stunning hat-trick, a brace from Ashley Young, and goals from Danny Welbeck, Nani, and Park Ji-sung subjected Arsenal to their heaviest league defeat in 84 years, in terms of margin. The last time the Gunners fell to a disheartening loss was a 0–7 defeat to West Ham United in a Football League First Division match back in 1927.

The fixture not only remains as Arsene Wenger’s darkest day as Arsenal manager but also was one of the last dominant outings for a Manchester United team in the final years of the Sir Alex Ferguson era.

February 2005: Arsenal 2-4 Manchester United

Before the kick-off, a clash of words between United’s Roy Keane and Arsenal’s Patrick Vieira raised tensions for both sides before referee Graham Poll had to break the pair up in the Highbury tunnel.

The flare-up is regarded as one of the unique face-offs between Premier League players, and post that incident, Viera drew the first blood in the contest.

Ryan Giggs grabbed a deflected goal to briefly level the game before Dennis Bergkamp’s 36th-minute strike saw Arsenal go into the half-time break with a 2-1 lead.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s twin strikes in four minutes put the Red Devils into the front seat, before John O'Shea’s career-best goal, where he lifted the ball over goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, sealed a 4-2 win for the Red Devils.

Manchester United went in to complete a season double over Arsenal, and finished second on the league table.

March 1998: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal

Arsenal came to Old Trafford knowing they had never beaten or scored against Manchester United at the Theatre of Dreams, but the 1-0 victory certainly marked a significant checkpoint in the Gunners’ campaign in the 1997/98 season.

A late goal from Marc Overmars proved to be the turning point in the title race as United’s nine-point lead, having played three games more, was cut down to six, and that effectively meant the Gunners were still in the running to win the title.

The Gunners went on to win 10 games in a row, and leapfrogged United to lift the Premiership trophy. They also won the FA Cup to register a trophy double for the third time in their history, and the first for Arsene Wenger.

Interestingly, the Frenchman became the first foreign manager to win the double in English football.

Feature Image courtesy: AFP / Andrew Yates

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