3 Manchester United and Arsenal’s most ill-tempered clashes EVER



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As Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger prepare to renew their rivalry on Saturday we look back at which game was the most ill-tempered between both clubs.

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal – Premier League, August 29, 2009


This ill-tempered match recorded 9 yellow cards and a sending -off for Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman was sent to the stands after kicking away a plastic bottle in frustration when Robin van Persie’s injury time strike was ruled out for offside.

Abou Diaby’s 64th minute own goal sealed the win for United after Wayne Rooney had scored from the penalty spot just five minutes earlier. Six of the nine yellow cards shown in this match were to Arsenal players.

Arsenal 2-4 Manchester United – Premier League, February 1, 2005


This fiery match is notable as being one of the most ill-tempered matches between the bitter rivals. It all began when Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane had to be pulled apart in the tunnel, with referee Graham Poll having to step in to calm the feuding captains before the teams went onto the pitch.

Vieira gave the home side an early lead in the eighth minute before Ryan Giggs equalised just 10 minutes later.

A Dennis Bergkamp goal was cancelled out by a Cristiano Ronaldo brace before a John O’Shea chip secured the three points for United.

Here’s how BBC sum up the match;

“near miracle that both sides finished the [first] half with 11 men after a fractious opening period littered with poor tackles and some shameful indiscipline.”

The second half did see a red card though when Mikael Silvestre was sent off for a challenge on Freddie Ljungberg on the edge of the box.

Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal – Premier League, September 21, 2003


This is the one that everybody remembers – the Battle of Old Trafford.

Ruud van Nistelrooy smashed a contentious injury time penalty against the crossbar, sparking a now infamous outpouring of joy from the Arsenal players, and in particular Martin Keown. The scenes typified what had been an extremely volatile match which saw seven bookings and one second yellow for Patrick Vieira.


Four Arsenal players were eventually suspended for their actions in this game with Lauren being banned for four matches, Keown three and Ray Parlour and Patrick Vieira one each.


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