Arsenal 2 v 4 Manchester United

Highbury, london
1st February 2005

The game we had all been waiting for finally arrived, and bought with it the kind of free-flowing and thrilling football that we had been expecting! many games are over-hyped, but this game, with the genuine hatred between the two clubs, usually delivers.

The game hadn't started when the first squabble was going on - Vieira had tried to intimidate Gary Neville, which Keane was having none of as they lined up in the tunnel waiting to run out for the game.

The drama continued through the shaking of hands, and the atmosphere was tense as the game got kicked off. 30 seconds later it was Ljungberg getting kicked , or rather going down claiming he had been.

Heinze was given a word from the referee then allowed to continue.
United's defence has been reasonable up to this point in the season, but they were poor when, on just 8 minutes, Vieira was able to head in relatively easily from an Henry corner.

If United were disappointed it didn't show - they simply battled on, and were given the lucky bounce they deserved on 20 minutes. Campbell screwed up a pass. scholes grabbed it and fired into Rooney, who cushioned it into Giggs' path. Giggs's shot was charged down by Cole, but the Arsenal defender (scummer!) could do little more than deflect it into his own net.

United started to command the game, and Arsenal's goal, on 38 minutes, was against the run of play. Henry passed to Bergkamp who fired home from a tight angle.

Half-time saw some harsh words spoken in both dressing-rooms, but it was United who responded best to the pressure.

On 54 minutes Ronaldo was set free 40 yards out from goal. He ran past the defence and slid it neatly into the bottom of the net, before celebrating the equaliser by putting his finger to his lips to tell the Arsenal fans to shut up!

Four minutes later, Almunia charged out of his nets. Giggs was able to round the keeper on the far-right edge of the 18 yard box and cross the ball in to where Ronaldo was waiting, ready to tap the ball in to break Arsenal.

His hatrick might have been completed had Silvestre not been sent off for head-butting Ljungberg (it was worth it), forcing a tactical substitution, with O'Shea taking his place.

O'Shea it was who grabbed a fourth decisive goal after 10 minutes of Arsenal pressure. He found the ball just onside, and was able to chip the ball over Almunia to put the game out of reach.

Bring on Chelsea, and goodbye Arsenal!

Arsenal: Almunia, Lauren (Fabregas 83), Campbell (Hoyte 79), Cygan, Cole, Ljungberg, Flamini (Reyes 70), Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry.
Subs Not Used: Lehmann, Van Persie.

Booked: Pires, Reyes.
Goals: Vieira 8, Bergkamp 36.

Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Fletcher (O'Shea 61), Keane, Scholes, Ronaldo (Brown 70), Rooney, Giggs (Saha 77).

Subs Not Used: Howard, Phil Neville.
Sent Off: Silvestre (69).
Booked: Heinze, Giggs, Rooney, Ronaldo.
Goals: Giggs 18, Ronaldo 54, 58, O'Shea 89.

Att: 38,164.
Ref: G Poll (Hertfordshire).