Premier League classics: Man United v Arsenal

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Manchester United against Arsenal is always frenzied, fiery but very rarely friendly.

This fixture is often held as the gold standard when it comes to the Premier League’s late 90s and early noughties era.

You still feel the needle between the two sides now, even without the presence of Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger on the touchline.

As the gaffers locked horns, the players would often lock heads which made for some absorbing encounters – so much so that we’ve rounded up four of the best for you to reminisce over…

November 1997: Arsenal 3-2 Man United

David Platt, Arsenal

November 1997: Arsenal 3-2 Man United

Arsenal would complete the league and cup double at the end of this season – and they knew any win over Man United would prove they mean business in Wenger’s first full season at Highbury.

Nicolas Anelka put the Gunners in front inside seven minutes and a Patrick Viera thunder strike extended their lead before the half-hour mark.

But United never gave up and Teddy Sheringham bagged a quick-fire double to tie the game before half time.

However, this Arsenal side would get up off the canvas and land the telling blow when David Platt rose above everyone to send a looping header into the top corner to win it.

This is where the battle really intensified.

February 2001: Man United 6-1 Arsenal

Sir Alex Ferguson’s side tore into a hapless Arsenal at Old Trafford in a 6-1 victory.

It’s a game that may still give Igors Stepanovs nightmares as Dwight Yorke tormented the Arsenal defender and grabbed a 22-minute hat-trick.

Thierry Henry did draw Wenger’s side level early on, but Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made it 5-1 by half-time.

And to rub salt into the wounds, Teddy Sheringham would pop up with a sixth goal before the end.

United would go on to win the title that season by a massive ten points.

May 2002: Man United 0-1 Arsenal

A year on and Arsenal would rock up back at Old Trafford to get their revenge – winning the league title in the process without heavy-hitters Henry and Dennis Bergkamp.

Freddie Ljungberg was a bogey player for United ever since he arrived in England, and when the Swedish international broke free of Laurent Blanc he was set to be the hero again.

His shot was palmed out by Fabien Barthez but straight into the path of Sylvain Wiltord – the rest as they say is history.

Arsenal fans still sing about it to this day.

January 2005: Arsenal 2-4 Man United

United gave Arsenal the January blues in 2005 as they stole three points from the Gunners back yard.

It was the height of the rivalry and best remembered for skippers Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane coming to blows in the tunnel beforehand.

Arsenal would go 1-0 and 2-1 up, but this is when a young Cristiano Ronaldo would come to the party with a brace to give United the lead –  wonder what happened to him?

With the home side deflated, it was left to John O’Shea to round things off with a delicate chip over Manuel Almunia to make it 4-2.

There’s been several famous matches down the years we haven’t mentioned and many more yet to come, but one thing is for sure when Man United and Arsenal do battle it’s usually one to savour.

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Charlie Dear

Charlie has covered sport for the likes of The Guardian, Football365 and FourFourTwo. Arsenal sufferer. German football fanatic.