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Manchester United vs Arsenal: Six memorable Old Trafford clashes

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Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford today in what's always one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in any Premier League season.

There's no doubt that although they aren't fighting one another for title, there is still plenty of stake and enough fuel to the fire of what is set to be yet another exciting game between the two giants. 

Arsenal will want to bounce back from their 1-0 home reverse against Swansea as they look to pip Manchester City to second place, while United need just a point to secure Champions League football once and for all. Add former Gunner, Robin van Persie and former red Danny Welbeck and you have all the makings for a classic. Here a six games between the two sides that will live long in the memory:

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6. Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal - 2003/2004

This was the battle of Old Trafford. It was probably the best 0-0 in Premier league history. It was one where emotions got the better of The Gunners in such a highly charged fixture. Though it proved to be a crucial point as the club completed an unbeaten league season. 

Prior to all the controversy, United had the better of the chances with Ryan Giggs' curling free-kick hitting the post being the closes they came. Then Patrick Vieira attempted to kick out at Ruud Van Nistelrooy and was sent off which sparked uproar amongst the Arsenal squad who were blaming Van Nistelrooy for making something out of nothing. 

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United were then awarded a late penalty ans up stepped Van Nistelrooy. In devastating fashion for United he smashed the ball off the crossbar and the game ended a draw. On the final whistle Martin Keown and the rest of the Arsenal squad surrounded Van Nistelrooy. Arsenal players were pushing and shoving the Dutchman and then the United players got involved. Arsenal players were given fines and suspensions for their poor discipline but had the last laugh by lifting the league title in May. 

5. Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal - 2004/2005

The media had dubbed the The Battle of Old Trafford - part two. But afterwards it was named the battle of the buffet. 

The game was in October 2004 and Arsenal went into the game on a 49 match unbeaten run that dated back to May 2003. It was a cagey affair and yet another hotly contested match. United were awarded a penalty on 73 minutes when Sol Campbell caught Wayne Rooney in the area and gave Ruud van Nistelrooy the chance to avenge the penalty miss of the season before. He certainly did with an ever so coolly slotted penalty into the bottom corner.

He went to his knees and screamed to the skies in celebration. Rooney then added the second on his 19th birthday and it was Arsene Wenger's greatest adversary who ended their long unbeaten run. 

Wenger was clearly rattled and thought it was the referee who cost his team their unbeaten run. That seemed to have rubbed off on the players. It's believed pizza and soup was thrown across the Old Trafford tunnel by the dressing rooms. Cesc Fabregas' name often appears in this story but in truth nobody really knows what actually went on that night. 

4. Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal - 1997/1998

Just two weeks prior to this match bookies had stopped taking bets on United winning the title after they won at Stamford Bridge, some had even began paying out. Arsenal had already beaten United in November and were quietly went about there business after that as they gradually found themselves in the title race. 

Meanwhile United didn't win any of the two games after that victory at Chelsea so a win for Arsenal would have really put the cat amongst the pigeons. They out thought and out fought United and Marc Overmars scored the winning goal with 11 minutes remaining to cue wild celebrations in the Arsenal end, which still get shown today. Hail to the curly haired man who is regularly shown on Sky Sports montage's.  

Also with United desperate for an equaliser, Peter Schmeichel ran the length of the field for a corner, in his attempts to get back he ended up tearing his hamstring. Arsenal went on to win the title that year, their first in the Premier League era. 

3. Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal - 2001/2002 

Arsenal had just secure the FA Cup and knew that if they beat United at Old Trafford they would be crowned Champions. It was a highly physical game with United trying to distract Arsenal from playing their football. It worked but the game was close to boiling over and United were perhaps lucky to still have 11 men on the field. 

But Arsenal took over in the second half. Freddy Ljungberg's shot was parried away by Fabien Barthez but Sylvain Wiltord struck the rebound to secure the double for Arsenal. United had to surrender the title to their bitter rivals on their own back yard. 

2. Manchester United 6-1 Arsenal - 2000/2001

The scoreline was emphatic and the gap between the two teams after the match was even more emphatic. United went 16 points clear of Arsenal and this was the first and probably will be the only time the title was more or less won by the end of February. 

The game was nicely poised at 1-1 after 15 minutes but United simply ran riot and blew Arsenal away. A Dwight Yorke hat-trick saw United go into the interval with a 5-1 lead. Roy Keane and Teddy Sheringham also scored in an utterly dominant display from United which left Arsene Wenger in shock. 

1. Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal - 2011/2012

The most historic of the lot. A once in a lifetime result. Arsenal were in crisis. They'd lost star players Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri and hadn't really replaced them. They arrived at Old Trafford decimated by industry but were still able to name the likes of Robin Van Persie, Thomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott in their line-up.

An early goal from Danny Welbeck and a penalty miss from Van Persie set the tone for what turned out to be a memorable afternoon for United where everything they did went right for them. Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick, Ashley Young scored a brace and Nani and Ji Sung-Park got on the score-sheet as United took full advantage of a weakened Gunners side who had no answer to Fergie's men. 

It was difficult to pick a favourite out of United's eight goals. Whether it was one of Rooney's free kicks or one of Young's 25-yard curling efforts but nevertheless an unbelievable day, a freak result that will certainly go down in history. 

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Arsenal
Manchester United

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