Manchester United 0 - 0 Arsenal

Sunday 21st September
Old Trafford, Manchester

The game ended in scandal that will need sorting out by the FA. Following his penalty miss, the yobbish Arsenal backline goaded the Dutchman, and did so again at the Final whistle. With Arsenal celebrating wildly at getting a point, Van Nistelrooy was surrounded, pushed and shouted at by the mob of Arsenal players. It was disgusting to see and was a culmination of frustration at their own poor play, frustration at Vieira rightly being sent off, and Arsene Wenger's poorly disciplined management.

The tackles started flying as soon as the first whistle went, although most were fair, and it was thirty minutes in before we had the first yellow.

Arsenal seemed content, following their biggest ever loss in the Champions' League, to scrap for one point, with the dogged Parlour favoured for the artistic Pires. And Scrap they did.

The game was a genuine midfield battle, with Vieira and Keane both trying to get the upper hand. In the end, it was Ronaldo who had the ball most of the time, with Ashley Cole's lack of defending ability allowing the Portuguese teenager through on numerous occasions, although none of them were made to count.

Half-time ensued, with very little having happened.

The second half started much as the first had ended, with almost a cat-and-mouse game going on as the Reds pushed forward trying for a win.

On 78 minutes Vieira was booked for the first time. Though he contested it with referee Bennett, he was shown the yellow for a lunge at Fortune.

Two minutes later, Vieira at the centre of the action. Van Nistelrooy had jumped up to try to head the ball and had been all over the Frenchman. As Vieira went to ground he kicked out at Van Nistelrooy, who was shocked at being kicked at and jumped out of the way. The referee had seen it all and didn't need to see the look on Ruud's face of "What is going on here?!"

Vieira was red-carded and slowly made his way off the pitch, though not before confronting Van Nistelrooy. Others also tried to confront the Dutchman, including Lehmann, who persisted in trying to get Ruud on his own.

With Arsenal down to ten-men, the Reds were able to put in a barrage of crosses, though they were all ineffectual in reality, until the last minute of the game.

In the second minute of injury time, Keown clumsily pushed Forlan, with both diving for the ball. The referee blew his whistle, and, once the Arsenal mob had been called off the referee and his linesman, Van Nistelrooy took the kick.

A pressure penalty if ever there was one. The ball went one way, and Lehmann went the other. Ruud had hit it too hard though, and the ball cannoned off the cross-bar. It was then that Keown et al celebrated so disgracefully.

As the final whistle blew the Arsenal thugs pushed and screamed in van Nistelrooy's face, with all credit going to Ruud for showing such restraint when most others would have reacted.

Arsenal deserve to have points docked, and large suspensions for all those involved. They lost control, and deserve to be punished for it, especially because it is the most-watched game in the country.

Man Utd: Howard; Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Forlan 76); Ronaldo, Keane, Phil Neville, Fortune; Giggs, Van Nistelrooy.

Subs Not Used: Carroll, Butt, Djemba-Djemba, Fletcher.
Booked: Keane, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Fortune.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Keown, Cole, Parlour, Vieira, Silva, Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Edu 82), Henry.

Subs Not Used: Stack, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan.
Sent Off: Vieira (81).
Booked: Toure, Keown, Vieira.

Attendance: 67,639

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).