This Sunday, November 1st, Manchester United host Arsenal at Old Trafford as the two sides meet competitively for the 233rd time.
The last time this fixture took place was September 2019 – a 1-1 draw played in front of over 73,000 people.
But Sunday’s encounter will be like no other previously played between the two clubs at Old Trafford, as those 73,000 seats lye empty due to COVID-19 restrictions.
But that will not take anything away from the fact that since the late 1990s and early 2000s, United and Arsenal’s rivalry has become one of the fiercest in English football.
Ferguson v Wenger. Keane v Vieira. Clashes between the two clubs over the last 25 years are as infamous for events off the pitch as those on it.
In a 2009 interview, Ferguson revealed that the bitter rivalry was born in January 1987 after United ended Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run under George Graham. The Gunners’ frustrations boiled over and David Rocastle was sent off for retaliating to a Norman Whiteside tackle.
Three years later, the fixture’s reputation as a heated encounter gathered momentum after both teams were docked points as punishment for a 21-man brawl following a full-blooded Nigel Winterburn tackle.
The arrival of Wenger at Arsenal in 1996 only intensified the bad blood between the north west and the capital.
Wenger’s second meeting with United in 1997 saw the Frenchman experience how hate-filled the fixture had become.
Ian Wright’s two-footed tackle on Peter Schmeichel left the Dane in a crumpled heap and provoked a furious reaction from Ferguson.
Moving into the 2000s and the face-off between captains Keane and Vieira, and managers Ferguson and Wenger came to a head.
Here are our top five classic Premier League Matches between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford…
5. Manchester United 6-1 Arsenal – February 25, 2001
These two great clubs had played out so many close encounters but, after winning the Premier League in 1999 and 2000, the Red Devils dismantled the Gunners on their way to a third straight top-flight crown in February 2001.
Dwight Yorke netted a hat-trick inside the opening 21 minutes, while further goals from Roy Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham made it a terrible day at the office for Wenger’s side.
The victory took United 16 points clear at the top of the table but – just over 12 months later – you will see that Arsenal won the next battle.