Forget Manchester City and Chelsea. United and Arsenal were the two titans at the start of the 21st century, producing one of the fiercest rivalries ever seen.
Sir Alex Ferguson vs Arsene Wenger. Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira. Ruud Van Nistelrooy vs Martin Keown.
The images are iconic. And they delivered some truly memorable moments.
Ryan Giggs twirling his shirt in the air after his FA Cup winner in 1999. Sylvain Wiltford’s goal that sealed the title for Arsenal at Old Trafford in 2002. Keown screaming in Van Nistelrooy’s face.
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Yet fans of a certain age will only know Man United and Arsenal for their disappointments.
Arsenal haven’t won the title since 2004 and are showing no signs of a revival, missing out on the Champions League after finishing fifth last season.
And Manchester United’s decline since Ferguson’s retirement in 2013 has been extraordinary.
They are football’s true banter clubs.
Battle for banter supermacy
Let’s break down both Man United and Arsenal’s banter eras.
It begins with David Moyes’ arrival at the club in May 2013. He lasted just 10 months.
Louis van Gaal took over and said his players need to be more ‘horny’.
It didn’t work out for the Dutchman at Old Trafford but his dive on the touchline against Arsenal in 2016 was utterly hilarious.
Some other glorious moments from Man United’s banter era?
How about David de Gea missing out on the Premier League Golden Glove after Chris Smalling scored a 93rd-minute own goal in the in the final game of the 2015/16 season.
Anthony Martial won United’s Goal of the Month competition in October 2016. The plot twist? It was the only goal they scored in the league that month.
Then there’s the failed signings of Angel Di Maria, Memphis Depay and Radamel Falcao.
Here’s a list of some other moments in United’s banter era:
- Marcos Rojo eating a banana during a game
- Marcos Rojo attempting a rabona during a game
- Losing 4-0 to MK Dons in the League Cup
- Shinji Kagawa having his stomach pumped after eating too much
- David Moyes thinking he could sign Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale and Cesc Fabregas
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Sorry, Gooners, but your banter era has also been incredible.
There’s the £40 million plus £1 bid for Luis Suarez in 2013, which promoted Liverpool owner John W. Henry to ask: “What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?”
Jesse Lingard turned the Emirates Stadium into his dancefloor in January.
And we can’t talk about Arsenal’s stretch without talking about Robin van Persie.
His move to Manchester United in 2012 hurt badly. Arsenal’s players giving him a guard of honour after he helped the Red Devils win the title in 2013 was 10 times more painful.
Some other moments in Arsenal’s banter era include:
- Signing Kim Kallstrom with a broken back
- Giving William Gallas the No.10 shirt
- Letting Aaron Ramsey leave for free
- Losing 10-2 on aggregate to Bayern Munich in the 2016/17 Champions League.
- Watching Emmanuel Adebayor sprint the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of their fans
- Losing 6-0 to Chelsea in Wenger’s 1000th game in charge
- Losing 8-2 to Man United
- Olivier Giroud and Francis Coquelin throwing away their shirts before extra-time against Reading and having to ask for them back
- Granit Xhaka being named permanent captain
Monday’s game really is a battle for banter supremacy.News Now - Sport News