United and Arsenal bust-ups
Published 13/12/2010 | 05:00
Patrice Evra lit the fuse for a potentially explosive clash at Old Trafford tonight by mocking Arsenal for their lack of recent success and branding them nothing more than a "training centre."
Here, we look back at some famous feuds between the two clubs over the past two decades.
MAN UTD 0 ARSENAL 1
Nigel Winterburn's lunge at Denis Irwin 20 years ago sparked a 21-man brawl, which is widely considered the starting point of the bad blood between the two clubs. The Red Devils lost one point, while George Graham's Gunners -- who won this encounter 1-0 thanks to Anders Limpar's goal -- were docked two, but, nevertheless, went on to win the league title.
ARSENAL 3 MAN UTD 2
This encounter was marred by fan violence, with United goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel and Arsenal full-back Winterburn struck by coins.
Former Tottenham striker Teddy Sheringham was accused of inciting the home crowd after scoring. His brace cancelled out earlier strikes from Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Vieira, but David Platt's late header won it for the hosts.
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Ruud van Nistelrooy blasted a stoppage-time penalty against the bar as 10-man Arsenal clung on for a point at Old Trafford.
Several Arsenal players -- led by Martin Keown and including a clear shove by Lauren -- celebrated directly in Van Nistelrooy's face as he walked away from his failed spot-kick. This was followed by a melee in which Cristiano Ronaldo seemed to square up to the Arsenal players and Kolo Toure seemed to clash with Van Nistelrooy as the tension boiled over. The Gunners had seen skipper Vieira dismissed for a petulant kick at Van Nistelrooy minutes earlier, but the award of the spot-kick for a foul on Diego Forlan saw both sides involved in face-to-face skirmishes, which continued after the final whistle had gone.
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Angry Arsenal stormed out of Old Trafford fuming with referee Mike Riley after Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney combined to shatter their 49-game unbeaten run in what was later dubbed 'the battle of the buffet' after a slice of pizza was allegedly thrown at Alex Ferguson by an Arsenal player.
Ferguson was confronted in the players' tunnel immediately after the game and was forced to change out of his suit into a tracksuit to conduct post-game TV interviews.
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The rivalry between respective captains Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira boiled over on numerous occasions, notably with an angry altercation in the tunnel before their match at Highbury in February 2005.
Vieira stood accused of trying to intimidate Gary Neville as the teams lined up to walk out on to the pitch. Keane intervened in the dispute and the two captains had to be separated by referee Graham Poll, with the bad blood continuing out on the pitch in a titanic tussle. Keane declared: "Patrick Vieira is 6ft 4in and having a go at Gary Neville. So I said, 'have a go at me'.
"If he wants to intimidate our players and thinks that Gary Neville is an easy target. I'm not having it." Vieira defended himself, insisting: "I didn't threaten anybody. They are big enough players to handle themselves."