Arsenal v Manchester United was the most intense rivalry in English football during the early 2000s.
Sir Alex Ferguson v Arsene Wenger, Patrick Vieira v Roy Keane and, of course, Martin Keown v Ruud van Nistelrooy instantly spring to mind when reminiscing about those great matches 10-15 years ago.
The fixture has lost its spark over recent years, which is a huge shame; however, ahead of this evening’s clash at the Emirates Stadium, there was a small taster of yesteryear between Keown and Rio Ferdinand.
The infamous incident at Old Trafford between Keown and Van Nistelrooy from 2003 was brought up ahead of kick-off and the former Arsenal defender couldn’t help but admit that he and his teammates loved it when the ex-Man United striker missed his last-minute penalty.
Several Arsenal players, including Keown, were later fined by the Football Association after jumping all over and pushing the Dutch striker.
The moment Rio put Keown in his place
Keown, who received a £20,000 fine for his part in the incident, said on BT Sport when asked if his wife thought he was in the wrong: “She did, bless her. I rang her up and she said ‘I think you’ve gone and done it now’.
“The clamour from the media was huge. I think half the team were suspended and we all got huge fines.
“But that game, we loved it. We absolutely loved it. And that’s the mentality…”
Ferdinand, irritated by Keown’s comments, responded: “You were bang out of order.”
“It was just passion, my fella,” Keown responded.
“No, it was out of order,” Ferdinand added.
“You were lucky we didn’t see it. We turned around because [Van Nistelrooy] missed the penalty and you were all over him like a rash.”
Keown then said: “What was out of order was that nobody came to his rescue.”
Watch: Keown and Rio's pre-match spat
Watch the moment Keown and Ferdinand almost came to blows over the Van Nistelrooy incident here…
Reaction on Twitter
And here’s how Twitter reacted to the little spat between the two…
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