Manchester United, struggling with injuries and poor form, host an Arsenal side two points off the Premier League summit and unbeaten since the opening day of the season.
We look back at five memorable clashes between the sides (Premier League unless stated).
MANCHESTER UNITED 0 ARSENAL 1 (First Division)
The animosity surrounding the sides’ tussles early in the last decade perhaps had its roots in a fixture at Old Trafford when the result was largely forgotten following a mass brawl that resulted in both teams having points deducted by the FA. Arsenal, who went on to win the title, scored the only goal, but Anders Limpar’s effort was largely irrelevant after all but one of the 22 players on the pitch were involved in an unseemly second-half melee.
MANCHESTER UNITED 0 ARSENAL 1
Arsenal entered the lion’s den of their rivals and reigning champions needing only a draw to clinch a second double under manager Arsene Wenger. They sealed the title in style thanks to Sylvain Wiltord’s second-half goal on his 100th Arsenal appearance.
MANCHESTER UNITED 0 ARSENAL 0
Arsene Wenger’s ‘Invincibles’ claimed their place in footballing history after going the entire season unbeaten in 2003-04, but their run should have ended as early as September. Manchester United’s Ruud van Nistelrooy slammed a stoppage-time penalty against the bar and was confronted by five Arsenal players in ugly scenes at the final whistle, with Martin Keown hurling himself – chest first, arms spread – at the Dutch striker.
MANCHESTER UNITED 2 ARSENAL 0
It was perhaps fitting that Arsenal’s stunning unbeaten run was ended after 49 games by United the following season at Old Trafford, with Van Nistelrooy gaining revenge by scoring from the spot in the 73rd minute.
Wayne Rooney added a second but the match gained its place in footballing folklore from the ‘Battle of the Buffet’ that ensued in the tunnel after the match, when United manager Alex Ferguson was allegedly hit by a slice of pizza hurled by an unidentified Arsenal player.
MANCHESTER UNITED 8 ARSENAL 2
The teams’ rivalry under managers Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger had been typified by tight, edgy and sometimes explosive encounters, but their meeting early the 2011-12 season was anything but as Arsenal suffered their worst defeat since 1927. United put on a ruthless attacking exhibition with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick, Ashley Young netting twice and Danny Welbeck, Nani and Park Ji-sung also on target.
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