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5 classics, battle the North Londoner and Devils

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1 – Arsenal 3 Manchester United 2 – 1979 FA Cup Final
The old cliché about never being more vulnerable than when you’ve scored a goal ought to have been written for this game as Alan Sunderland ensured United’s comeback counted for nothing. The Gunners had gone ahead through Brian Talbot before Frank Stapleton doubled the lead just before half time with Liam Brady once again the architect. But Gordon McQueen pulled one back from a set-piece with just five minutes remaining and a late equaliser by Sammy McIlroy, wriggling free from his markers, seemed to complete the comeback. However, just as the momentum seemed to be with Dave S3xton’s side, Sunderland popped up at the far post to turn in Graham Rix’s cross and win it for Arsenal. No wonder it was dubbed the ‘Five Minute Final’.

2 – Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1 – 1999 FA Cup Semi Final
This famous FA Cup meeting between the two clubs had enough drama for five classics. David Beckham opened the scoring by curling into the far corner – the first goal Arsenal had conceded in over seven hours. But Dennis Bergkamp equalised midway through the second half with a great turn and shot and the Gunners could’ve gone ahead when Nicolas Anelka had a goal disallowed for offside. When Roy Keane was sent off shortly afterwards, Arsenal were in the ascendancy and looked set to win it when Phil Neville conceded a last-minute penalty by bringing down Ray Parlour. But Peter Schmeichel saved brilliantly from Bergkamp and when Patrick Vieira surrendered possession to substitute Ryan Giggs, the Welshman scored one of the great solo goals. “The luckiest won,” said Arsene Wenger.

3 – Manchester United 0 Arsenal 1 – 2002 Premier League Having beaten Chelsea in the FA Cup final in Cardiff at the weekend, Arsenal made the midweek trip to Old Trafford needing a point from their final two league games to win the double. They picked up all three to dethrone a United side that had won each of the three previous Premier League titles. Sylvain Wiltord was the hero with the only goal of the game, putting in the rebound after Fredrik Ljungberg had got beyond Laurent Blanc. It was Wiltord’s 100th appearance for the club as the Gunners maintained their record of scoring in every league game that season. Roy Keane and Paul Scholes put themselves about in midfield but Arsenal stood firm, even after Ruud van Nistelrooy was introduced as a second-half substitute, to inflict a sixth home defeat of the season on United.

4 – Manchester United 2 Arsenal 0 – 2004 Premier League The ending of Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten run will be remembered as the Battle of the Buffet as the rivalry between the two teams reached a crescendo. “It’s the only match when I’ve ever been accused of brutalising an opponent,” Gary Neville told the Mail as United decided to unsettle the erstwhile Invincibles. After Roy Carroll proved an unlikely hero with a string of saves, United had their reward when Wayne Rooney was adjudged to have been fouled by Sol Campbell and Ruud van Nistelrooy stroked home from the spot. Rooney, on his 19th birthday, sealed the victory with a tap-in and the real drama followed soon after. An Arsenal player, later identified as Cesc Fabregas, was even accused of throwing a pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson. The defeat took its toll on Wenger’s side as the then leaders faded badly to allow Chelsea to win their first title in 50 years.

5 – Manchester United 8 Arsenal 2 – 2011 Premier League August 2011 brought surely the Premier League’s most incredible scoreline ever as United inflicted Arsenal’s worst defeat since 1896. The game marked a nadir for the under-pressure Wenger, who’d already seen his side pick up just one point from the opening two games. They were overpowered at Old Trafford as first-half goals from Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Rooney saw United race into a three-goal lead. Ferguson’s men were 6-2 up by the time Carl Jenkinson was sent off and Rooney then completed his hat-trick from the spot. There was still time for Young to curl in an eighth and send Wenger into the transfer market in desperation as the window closed. But United didn’t get too long to revel in the result. After winning their subsequent two home leagues games they succumbed to a 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford themselves against neighbours Manchester City

Today, Arsenal will be hosting Machester United in the Emirates Stadium at 6.30pm WAT.

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Shyke

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