Arsenal 1 Manchester United 1

28th March 2004
Highbury, London

Despite all of the media attention bestowed on Arsenal in recent weeks, proclaiming their brilliance, superiority, the 'new empire' and 'a shift in power', the Londoners were only able to conjure up a draw with a hard-working United side who were denied a clear penalty.

It was United that pushed on early into the game, with Djemba-Djemba firing in a shot from one of a few early corners that had clearly been worked on in training. It was Arsenal then who began to dominate the game, or possession at least. Their passing game across the back-four did nothing to help their attacks, but may have succeeded in tiring Van Nistelrooy out a bit.

Wes Brown was having one of his better games, tackling Ljungberg as the last defender with an impeccably timed challenge, and generally playing well. Silvestre was not having one of his best games, and gave the ball away too cheaply on a number of occasions, but was always there when it counted.

Henry stole into the box with half an hour gone, only to knock the ball past Carroll and dive. His antics did not impress Carroll, who screamed at the cheat to get up, but the referee was not strong enough to book Henry for diving, despite not giving the penalty.

A mass-brawl nearly ensued when Vieira plunged into van Nistelrooy studs first possibly trying to get revenge for the last time the pair met when Vieira similarly lost control and kicked out at Ruud to earn himself a red card. The conflict didn't stay confined to the pitch as Fergie and Wenger had a war of words on the touchline.

At half-time the game didn't look settled, but the score-line was a fair 0 0.

Five-minutes after the break Arsenal were celebrating. Henry hit out from 30 yards, and the ball swerved on its way into the United net, bamboozling Carroll. It was reminiscent of Batistuta's drive some years ago, and was unstoppable, although some would point to the fact that Henry should have been pressured by United.

United immediately went on the attack, and just three minutes later Giggs danced into the box. Campbell seemed intent on stopping him, and both pulled him down and managed to clip him on his back-leg. It was a definite penalty. Giggs looked to the referee, who, as Fergie leads us to believe, was too scared to give a penalty. Poll hadn't been to Arsenal for three years since Arsenal complained about him, and it seemed that Poll was trying to make sure he wouldn't be complained about by Arsenal again.

United remained in control of the game, and Wenger's negative substitutions further handed them the initiative. Scholes went close, and the ball was pumped into the area endlessly as United searched for an equaliser.

Their hard-work paid dividends when Scholes played the ball out to substitute Solskjaer, who crossed the ball across the box. Ruud couldn't quite get to it, but Saha at the back post was able to tuck the ball away.

United had another chance just before the end, with Ruud only able to head straight at Lehmann, before Arsenal had one last chance. Lauren was through on goal, and should have passed back to Henry but shot. Henry went crazy, and its believed there was even a punch up in the tunnel between the two suggesting the team-spirit isn't as great as Wenger wants us to believe.

We'll beat them next week.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Clichy, Pires (Bergkamp 85), Vieira, Edu, Ljungberg (Cygan 82), Reyes (Silva 77), Henry.

Subs not used: Kanu, Stack.

Booked: Clichy.

Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Brown, Silvestre, O'Shea, Fletcher (Solskjaer 71), Djemba-Djemba (Saha 59), Keane, Scholes, Giggs, van Nistelrooy.

Subs not used: Phil Neville, Butt, Howard. Booked: Scholes.

Attendance: 38,184

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).