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Man Utd v. Arsenal

Will3172010-04-29 06:45:51 +0000 #1
It's the big one this weekend. The two teams are looking strong, can Arsenal make it 50 games unbeaten?

BBC Sport - 22.10.04

Manchester United v. Arsenal



Old Trafford

Sunday, 24 October

Kick-off: 1605 BST

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Manchester United skipper Roy Keane is struggling to shrug off a flu virus.

If Keane is out, John O'Shea may continue in midfield, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Rio Ferdinand are set to return. Quinton Fortune (calf) is out.

Arsenal's Patrick Vieira is making progress and a decision on his fitness will be made just before kick-off.

If Vieira joins Gilberto Silva on the absentee list, Cesc Fabregas may be called upon. Edu, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires should be fit.

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Man Utd (from): Carroll, Howard, Ricardo, G Neville, P Neville, Heinze, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre, Keane, O'Shea, Ronaldo, Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson, Bellion, Fletcher, Giggs, Scholes, Smith, Van Nistelrooy, Rooney, Saha.

Arsenal (from): Lehmann, Almunia, Taylor, Lauren, Hoyte, Cole, Campbell, Toure, Cygan, Senderos, Vieira, Fabregas, Edu, Flamini, Ljungberg, Pires, Pennant, van Persie, Henry, Bergkamp, Reyes.

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BIG-MATCH FACTS

MANCHESTER UNITED against Arsenal is THE most significant match of the Premiership season so far. United may be undefeated in 12 League and Cup games, but have made their worst ever start to a Premiership season. The Gunners have made the best start ever by any team to a Premiership campaign. Victory for Arsene Wenger's side would give the defending champions a 14 point lead over their arch rivals, but a win for United would reduce the deficit to within a more management eight points and mean the Red Devils had become for first club to accumulate exactly 1,000 Premiership points.

The Red Devils are unbeaten in eight Premiership games, and are yet to lose a League match at the Theatre of Dreams. This "Battle of the Titans" pits simply the two most successful Premier League clubs against each other. Between them United and Arsenal have won all but one of the 12 Premier League titles. They have filled the top two places five times, and there has never been a Premiership season when at least one of the pair has not filled one of the top two berths. United have won 295 matches to Arsenal's 252, and scored 936 goals to the Londoners' 785. Sir Alex Ferguson, who's nine games short of 1,000 in charge of United, has won eight of the 12 Premiership titles to Arsenal's three and his side has never gone two seasons without lifting the trophy.

The last three Premiership clashes between these two heavyweights were drawn. Last season's corresponding fixture, which was goalless, turned into a dramatic and unsavoury affair and has been the cause of pre-match hype between the two managers. Ruud van Nistelrooy was at the centre of attention. The Dutch striker smacked an injury time penalty against the crossbar to spark a distasteful reaction from the Arsenal players, who had felt United's scoring ace had over reacted to get Patrick Vieira sent off. Their indiscipline was ultimately costly in terms of suspensions (four players banned a total of nine matches) and fines (in excess of £200,000 for club and players).

ARSENAL head for Old Trafford with one aim - to complete an unprecedented half century of unbeaten League games. They're bidding for a fourth successive top flight win, and sixth on the bounce away from Highbury. The "Invincibles" are undefeated this season in 13 League and Cup encounters and have gone 21 games in all competitions since suffering defeat. They boast the strongest attack in the top flight (29 goals in nine outings) and a 100% League record on the road. Away from Highbury, the champions have completed 27 top tier matches without a loss.

Arsene Wenger, who's on the verge of signing a three year extension to his contract, still holds the advantage in the head-to-head count with his managerial counterpart. The Frenchman has 11 wins to his name, Sir Alex Ferguson eight with six draws (counting last season's Community Shield as a United win). This is their second meeting this season - the Gunners having won the Community Shield 3-1 at the Millennium Stadium in August.

Arsenal's only triumph in the last six Premiership trips to the Theatre of Dreams was 0-1 on 8 May 2002 when Sylvain Wiltord scored the winner.

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Referee: Mike Riley (Leeds)

Mike Riley has sent a player off in each of the last three Premiership matches he has officiated - Darren Purse (West Brom), Ian Pearce (Fulham) and Tugay (Blackburn).

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SEQUENCES/RECENT FORM

MANCHESTER UNITED

Club stats

Fixtures

Going into the weekend: 6th 14 points

Drawn the last three League and Cup matches.

Won five and drawn seven in all competitions since losing 1-0 at Chelsea in the Premiership on 15 August.

Already played 15 matches this season - more than any other top flight club.

Looking for a seventh home game without loss, in all competitions.

Won four and drawn two in the Premiership and Champions League at Old Trafford this season.

Unbeaten in eight Premiership games.

Won three and drawn five since losing to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the opening weekend of the Premiership campaign.

Lost only once in the top division this term. Only Arsenal are unbeaten.

Conceded just seven Premiership goals in nine outings. Only Chelsea (two) and Spurs (four) have stronger defences.

The 2-2 draw at Bolton on 11 September is the only time United had conceded more than a single goal in 19 top League engagements.

Defending an unbeaten home League record (two wins, two draws).

Won two and drawn three Premiership games at Old Trafford since losing 0-1 to Liverpool on 24 April.

Holding the best disciplinary record in the Premiership (no red cards, four yellow).

Yet to score in the first quarter-hour of a Premiership match this season.

Used more players in this Premiership campaign than any other club thus far (26), that's ten more than Norwich.

ARSENAL

Club stats

Fixtures

Going into the weekend: TOP 25 points

Completed 21 games in all competitions since last tasting defeat.

Won 14 and drawn seven since the 1-2 home loss to Chelsea in the Champions League on 6 April.

Unbeaten in all competitions this season (ten wins, three draws).

Won the last three Premiership games against Manchester City (0-1 a), Charlton (4-0 h) and Aston Villa (3-1 h).

The current tally of 25 points is the highest ever by any club after the first nine games of a Premiership season.

Their previous best after the first ten games in 24, achieved last season.

Won 36 and drawn 13 Premiership games since losing 2-3 to Leeds on 4 May 2003.

Won eight top tier encounters - two more than the next nearest, Chelsea and Everton.

Last six Premiership goal tallies have been four, three, two, one, four, three.

Only club to have scored in every Premiership match this season.

Most prolific scorers in the top tier. Their 29 goals is 12 more than the total of the second highest, Newcastle.

Holding a goal difference of +21. Chelsea hold the next highest at +6.

Scored 17 League goals in five matches at Highbury. Bolton are the next highest scorers of home Premiership goals with nine.

Their nine League encounters have produced 37 goals (29 for, eight against, averaging 4.11 per game).

Scored first in all but one of their League encounters. The exception being Lee Hendrie's goal for Aston Villa at Highbury in the most recent clash.

Built the Premiership's longest winning sequence so far this season - five games.

At their most dangerous in the middle 15 minutes of the second half of Premiership games, when nine of the 29 goals have been netted.

Gone 55 Premiership games since losing by more than a single goal (2-0, at Blackburn, March 2003).

Most recent away win was also in Manchester (0-1 against City when Ashley Cole was on target).

Aiming to uphold a 100% away League record (four wins out of four so far).

Won 17 and drawn 10 top tier encounters away from Highbury, since losing 2-0 at Blackburn on 15 March 2003.

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KEY PLAYER NOTES/POTENTIAL MILESTONES

MANCHESTER UNITED

Squad profiles

If he participates, Wayne ROONEY will be playing on his 19th birthday.

When he next scores, Roy KEANE will have totalled 50 goals for Manchester United.

Alan SMITH is the only remaining player to have figured in all United's Premiership matches this season.

Ruud VAN NISTELROOY has only scored one Premiership goal against Arsenal.

If involved from the outset, Phil NEVILLE will be making his 200th Premiership start for the Red Devils.

ARSENAL

Squad profiles

Thierry HENRY is the Premiership's top scorer, and the leading scorer among all Premiership players in all club competitions. The Frenchman has netted nine times - eight in the League.

Arsenal's last 12 League and Cup fixtures against United have produced eight goals from HENRY, who has bagged seven Premiership goals against them.

Robert PIRES is a hat trick short of 50 Premiership goals.

Fredrik LJUNGBERG is a double short of totalling 50 goals across the European leagues. The Swedish International has scored 38 Premiership goals for Arsenal, in addition to 10 top flight strikes for Halmstads BK in Sweden.

If selected in the 11, Pascal CYGAN will be making his 50th start for the North London giants.

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LAST SEASON'S CORRESPONDING GAME:

Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal

21 September 2003 - Ref: Steve Bennett

Sent Off: Vieira (Arsenal) 81

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HEAD TO HEAD TOTALS

League: Man Utd 68 wins, Arsenal 63, Draws 39

Prem: Man Utd 9 wins, Arsenal 7, Draws 7

HEAD TO HEAD at Man U

League: Man Utd 47 wins, Arsenal 14, Draws 24

Prem: Man Utd 6 wins, Arsenal 2, Draws 4


Will3172010-04-29 06:56:01 +0000 #2
BBC Sport

Wenger targets 50-game Landmark

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal's desire to extend their unbeaten record to 50 games will inspire them when they take on Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Wenger said: "We are on a tremendous run and we want to keep that going. I feel that strongly in my team.

"We have a belief we can do it. That's why I believe we will give everything and that we will be at our best.

"The two teams have tremendous players who can make a difference offensively. I'd say it will be a spectacular game."

Arsenal return to Old Trafford determined to avoid a repeat of last season's ugly scenes, which saw four of their players suspended by the Football Association.

"I feel we have redressed our attitude very well. Despite our incident last year we won the Fair Play table and we won the normal table as well," said Wenger.

"That means that with the improvement in our attitude, we have improved our results as well. It's important to say that because sometimes you can forget that."

Victory for Arsenal would take them 14 points clear of United and leave Chelsea as the main threat to their title ambitions.

"It's always a big game and the two teams are in different situations," added Wenger.

"Maybe people think it could have a decisive importance on the fight for the championship. Because of that it becomes a game that is special.

"For me, we want to go there with our usual spirit, with our belief and I want to stick to the quality of the football we play.

"Those are the three important ingredients we want to show.

"It's two big teams. The most important is that people see a big football game."
zenden92010-04-29 06:59:51 +0000 #3
Something needs to be end,will end!
zenden92010-04-29 08:03:56 +0000 #4
It finally ended,the unbeaten record! 0-2 to Man Utd. 49 matches and a record that will be remember in england football for a long time! Well done Arsenal! Congratulation to both team!
Balmung2010-04-29 07:48:09 +0000 #5
From a neutral prospective, I prefer a draw for both team. No one outmatched each other and both played well. Manchester United was a bit low-class with that Ruud's delibrate knee tap and Rooney's (as usual) hooligan type behaviour. But in the end, it was the referee who decided the match.

In that sense, I pity the Gunners. If anyone who are to end Arsenal's unbeaten run, it would have to be Manchester United but not in this way. It's very ugly and revealed a lot about the Premiership's favour towards the Red Devils.

Left a bad taste to my mouth in the end, and I starting to hate Manchester United for it.
Will3172010-04-29 07:33:06 +0000 #6
Quote:

Originally Posted by Balmung

From a neutral prospective, I prefer a draw for both team. No one outmatched each other and both played well. Manchester United was a bit low-class with that Ruud's delibrate knee tap and Rooney's (as usual) hooligan type behaviour. But in the end, it was the referee who decided the match.

In that sense, I pity the Gunners. If anyone who are to end Arsenal's unbeaten run, it would have to be Manchester United but not in this way. It's very ugly and revealed a lot about the Premiership's favour towards the Red Devils.

Left a bad taste to my mouth in the end, and I starting to hate Manchester United for it.

Yes, those are very reasonable comments.

It was a great match to watch though, I've made some comments on the end of the run in the new 'End of the Run' thread in this Arsenal forum.
Will3172010-04-29 07:18:18 +0000 #7
BBC Sport - 24.10.04

Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal



Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney each scored to give Manchester United a valuable win that ended Arsenal's unbeaten League run on 49 games.

Van Nistelrooy got the opener when he stroked in a contentious penalty after Sol Campbell's challenge on Rooney.

Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry had Arsenal's best chances but they were denied by good saves from United keeper Roy Carroll.

Rooney slotted in from six yards to complete victory on his 19th birthday.

The win helped United reduce the gap on Premiership leaders Arsenal to eight points.

It also helped Van Nistelrooy avenge the taunts from Arsenal players after he missed a last-minute spot-kick in the corresponding fixture last season.

The game had been billed as a must-win encounter for United in the build-up and Rio Ferdinand led them out as stand-in captain, with regular skipper Roy Keane ruled out because of the flu.

Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira had overcome his fitness battle to play but his early error almost proved costly.

He let a pass slide under his foot and almost gifted United striker Rooney an early goal on his birthday.

But Kolo Toure flung himself to block Rooney's shot and, when Paul Scholes gathered the rebound and again played in Rooney, the teenager cut the ball back to an unmarked Ryan Giggs.

Giggs struck a true shot, only for some more desperate Arsenal defending to come to their rescue, with Campbell getting his body in the way of the strike.

Arsenal were then left bewildered when the referee waved play on after Freddie Ljungberg went down after a challenge from Ferdinand as he raced on to an Edu through ball.

The attack served as a warning to United as Arsenal started to get their free-flowing passing game into gear and a well-engineered move led to Bergkamp being played in on the United goal by Jose Antonio Reyes.

But home keeper Carroll quickly came out to save at the striker's feet.

Arsenal looked dangerous whenever they held on to possession and Henry was put clear by Edu, only for the alert Carroll to again rescue his side by quickly coming off his line and blocking at the French striker's feet.

Tempers were on a knife-edge at a tension-filled Old Trafford and threatened to boil over on a couple of occasions before the half-time whistle.

United had to endure some tense moments in their goalmouth as Arsenal

began to dominate following the interval with Bergkamp dragging a shot wide in a promising opening for the visitors.

But United did threaten, with Heinze heading wide, and they took the lead when Rooney earned a penalty after a foul by Campbell.

Van Nistelrooy stroked in the spot-kick and United could have had another penalty when Cole brought down Ronaldo as Arsenal pressed for an equaliser.

A Cole shot then went high, while Giggs saw a shot saved at the other end.

But a valuable win was wrapped up for United when Rooney added a late second from six yards.

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Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Ronaldo (Smith 85), Phil Neville, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, van Nistelrooy (Saha 90). Subs Not Used: Howard, Brown, Miller.

Booked: Gary Neville, Phil Neville.

Goals: van Nistelrooy 73 pen, Rooney 90.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole, Ljungberg, Vieira, Edu, Reyes (Pires 70), Bergkamp, Henry. Subs Not Used: Van Persie, Taylor, Fabregas, Cygan.

Booked: Cole, Vieira, Edu.

Att: 67,862.

Ref: M Riley (W Yorkshire).
Will3172010-04-29 08:17:04 +0000 #8
BBC Sport - 24.10.04

Wenger Blasts Riley's Performance, Captain's Reaction

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was nonplussed by referee Mike Riley's decision to give Manchester United a penalty in his side's 2-0 away defeat.

The game turned on the penalty award after Wayne Rooney tumbled after a Sol Campbell tackle and Wenger said: "The referee's decision made the difference.

"Out of nowhere Riley has given the penalty like he can do at Old Trafford as we know.

"It's very difficult to take to see how lightly the referee gives the penalty."

Wenger added: "I don't think there was any contact and if you look at the

images Rooney told our players nobody touched him."

"We can only master our own performance and not the referee's performance. I can only congratulate my team - I'm very proud of them."

The win means Arsenal's lead over Chelsea at the top of the table has been cut to two points, while United are now eight points behind the Premiership leaders.

But Wenger insisted United had not struck a psychological blow against his side in the race for the title after the loss of their 49-match unbeaten run.

He said: "I don't feel it will be a turning point. The season is long - they can improve and it can give them confidence but I feel we were a little bit robbed.

"It just shows you how hard it is to go 49 games unbeaten because sometimes you can lose games you don't deserve to lose.

"In football your confidence goes when your performances are not good, but from this performance we can take away a lot of positives and I hope the players remember that.

"I think this defeat will make the players stronger because they feel a deep injustice."

Wenger was also unhappy with the lack of protection Riley offered Spanish winger Jose Antonio Reyes.

"At some stages there were incidents, especially on Reyes, where there was some deliberate kicking.

"The rules are there to be respected and only the referee can make the players respect them."

Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira also criticised Riley's handling of the game.

"You get used to it when you play at Old Trafford, we are used to it," said Vieira referring to the penalty award.

"We'll be back and we'll be stronger. We're still eight points clear of United, and two points clear Chelsea.

"We're in a really good position and all the other teams would want to be in our position.

"People don't have to worry - we have lost just one game."

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