Pizzagate, Giggs' wondergoal and the greatest Arsenal v Man Utd games of Wenger's career

Arsene Wenger takes charge of one last game at Old Trafford with the Gunners on Sunday, and there have been plenty of memorable ones in the past

  1. Getty

    #1 March 1998 - Overmars’ scream-inducing Old Trafford winner

    Going into the game, champions United led Arsenal by nine points but having played an extra three games. Arsene Wenger, in his first full season at Highbury, knew his side would be landing a significant blow were they to win on Manchester soil.

    And with 10 minutes remaining Marc Overmars slid home a now iconic goal, producing scenes of raw emotion in the away end as Arsenal fans began to believe a first title in seven years was within their grasp.

    “If they win their games in hand they will go ahead of us, but they’ll start dropping points towards the end of the season, there’s no question about that,” Sir Alex Ferguson claimed afterwards.

    Ferguson was wrong. The win at Old Trafford was the second of 10 straight successes for the Gunners, who would wrap up a first title under Wenger with two games to spare.
  2. Getty

    #2 April 1999 - Giggs' wonder goal

    It might be easier to list the things this iconic FA Cup semi-final replay didn't have! David Beckham scored first but the pendulum seemed to have swung to Arsenal when Dennis Bergkamp equalised and Roy Keane was then sent off for a foul on Overmars.

    In the dying seconds, Phil Neville brought down Ray Parlour for a penalty, prompting some United fans to head for the exits. But Peter Schmeichel brilliantly saved Bergkamp’s spot-kick to send the game into extra time.

    Then came THAT Ryan Giggs goal as the Welsh wizard beat Patrick Vieira, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown and Tony Adams on a wonderful run before striking high past David Seaman and whipping off his shirt in frenzied jubilation.
  3. Getty

    #3 August 1999 - Keane at the double at Highbury

    Freddie Ljungberg’s opening goal was just a taster in this clash as the growing disregard between the two clubs reared its head.

    Keane broke through a gap to equalise, but moments later was involved in a flashpoint with Vieira in which the United skipper kicked out after playing a pass and the Frenchman responded with a head-butt. Jaap Stam then grabbed Vieira by the throat as both sets of players flooded in.

    After referee Graham Poll decided no cards were warranted, Keane pounced on a deflected Giggs shot to net the winner, but there would still be time for late controversy as Keown’s apparent injury-time equaliser was ruled out for an infringement on Raimond van der Gouw.
  4. Getty

    #4 May 2002 - Wiltord wins the league in Manchester

    Their Old Trafford victory in 1998 had felt like a league winner because of the momentum swing but four years on Arsenal would become champions for certain with another memorable 1-0 win.

    In a game that was typically bad-tempered at times, with Phil Neville perhaps lucky to stay on the pitch after a particularly bad challenge on Sylvain Wiltord, it always felt like Arsene Wenger’s side were going to find the winner.

    It came on 56 minutes, as Mikael Silvestre’s loose pass allowed Wiltord to break and play in Ljungberg. The Swede’s shot could only be parried by Fabien Barthez, and the French front man became the toast of north London by sliding home the rebound.
  5. Getty

    #5 September 2003 - The Battle of Old Trafford

    A red card, eight yellows, a penalty miss, eight players charged with improper conduct and/or violent behaviour, club reprimands, six players eventually suspended and a whole host of fines… just another Manchester United v Arsenal contest!

    Vieira was shown a second yellow card after responding to an awkward challenge by Ruud van Nistelrooy by flinging out a boot. Arsenal’s players confronted the Dutch striker en masse amid claims he had exaggerated in the face of Vieira’s petulance, and their ire was piqued when Keown conceded an injury-time penalty for bringing down Diego Forlan.

    Up stepped Van Nistelrooy, but when his spot-kick came back off the crossbar Arsenal embarrassed themselves in their rush to physically berate the United front man.

    “I think Van Nistelrooy doesn’t help. His attitude is he’s always looking for the provocation and diving,” said Wenger afterwards.
  6. Getty

    #6 April 2004 - The 'Invincibles' beaten

    Just six days after United had earned a 1-1 draw at Highbury, the two teams faced off in the FA Cup semi-final at the start of what could have been a monumental week for Arsenal.

    Eight games shy of completing an unbeaten league campaign, the Gunners had all the momentum heading to Villa Park but they found themselves completely stifled by Sir Alex Ferguson’s men and Paul Scholes’ first-half goal was enough to settle the contest and end Arsene Wenger’s treble hopes.

    On the following Tuesday, they would see Wayne Bridge and Chelsea knock them out of Europe, and three days later they went behind twice at home to Liverpool with the season seemingly going down the drain.

    Thierry Henry’s hat-trick against the Merseysiders stabilised them in their push for ‘invincibility’, but United would themselves go on to win the FA Cup.

  7. Getty

    #7 October 2004 - 'Pizzagate'

    The bad blood between Ferguson’s United and Wenger’s Arsenal still had some way to run, and a bizarre post-match ruckus would see the Scot pelted with pizza by Cesc Fabregas after the Gunners’ 49-match unbeaten stretch in the Premier League had been ended by a 2-0 loss at Old Trafford.

    United’s rough-house tactics, on Jose Antonio Reyes in particular, helped to get under Arsenal’s skin, while Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy also attracted criticism for late challenges on Ljungberg and Ashley Cole, respectively.

    Van Nistelrooy scored from the spot and Wayne Rooney’s first league goal for United would tie up the points in the final minute, yet the drama was only just starting.

    Wenger attempted to confront Van Nistelrooy in the tunnel afterwards about his challenge on Cole, and when Ferguson stepped in to defend his player all hell broke loose as various food was thrown around.

    It took Fabregas until 2017 to admit he was the one who had thrown the pizza at Ferguson, who had to change clothes before heading to carry out his post-match media duties.

  8. Getty

    #8 February 2005 - The Highbury tunnel incident

    While many of the clashes between the two clubs had come after the full-time whistle, the touchpaper was lit in this game even before the teams had made it onto the pitch.

    Patrick Vieira, wanting to ensure Gary Neville didn’t lead another assault on Arsenal players following the Reyes incidents of the previous meeting, hollered in the tunnel: “Neville, Neville... You’re not going to kick our players out on this pitch today!”

    Keane moved to stand up for his team-mate with Vieira responding by squirting water at his counterpart, prompting a fair old scrum at the back of the tunnel.

    The United skipper needed calming down by referee Graham Poll after warning Vieira: “I’ll see you out there…”

    United won 4-2!
  9. Getty

    #9 May 2009 - Wenger left flagging

    John O’Shea’s first-leg goal had given United a narrow lead heading to the Emirates Stadium in the Champions League semi-final, but Arsene Wenger’s side felt confident they could overturn the deficit and there were Arsenal flags on every seat in north London in anticipation of a hotly-contested return leg.

    But it took just 11 minutes for United to blow Arsenal away, with Park Ji-Sung pouncing on a Kieran Gibbs slip, then Cristiano Ronaldo firing home a sensational free-kick to leave the home side needing to score four times. The flags would be seen no more.

    Ronaldo netted another in the second half, and only the needless red card collected by Darren Fletcher with his side leading 4-0 on aggregate put a dampener on United’s night. Arsenal would never get to another Champions League semi-final under Wenger.

  10. Getty

    #10 August 2011 - You'd 8-2 be the losing manager in that one!

    It started with Theo Walcott telling Carl Jenkinson how to defend and only got worse from there for Arsene Wenger’s side.

    David de Gea saved a Robin van Persie penalty with United only 1-0 ahead and Arsenal wouldn’t get close after that.

    Ashley Young delivered a wonderful curling strike as the home side led 3-1 at the break, while Wayne Rooney dipped two superb free-kick shots beyond Wojciech Szczesny and saw another long-ranger come back off the post before completing his hat-trick with a late penalty.

    Danny Welbeck, Nani, Park Ji-Sung and a second for Young rounded off the scoring for United as they trumped their previous Premier League high against Arsenal of 6-1 back when Igor Stepanovs had been taken apart by a red-hot Dwight Yorke.