The Dramatic End of Manchester United vs Arsenal in 2003 Goes Viral

Bestinau got that-

The dramatic finale of Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal in 2003, dubbed the ‘Battle of Old Trafford’, it goes viral and it’s still a fascinating watch.

By the time 2003 rolled around, they were the bitterest of enemies. On one particular September afternoon, things would escalate.

Arsene Wenger brought his side to Old Trafford knowing that a draw, even so early in the season, would be a good result.

Both sets of players rose to the challenge and tensions reached a boiling point with ten minutes left.

Gunners captain Patrick Vieira was sent off after being kicked out on Ruud van Nistelrooy despite failing to make contact with the striker.

Van Nistelrooy got referee Steve Bennett to see what was going on and it started a huge melee.

Arsenal looked set to watch the game until Diego Forlan was knocked down by Martin Keown in extra time.

Bennett pointed to the dot and stepped on van Nistelrooy to take the penalty.

He was famous for his penalty kick against the crossbar and Arsenal’s players, especially Keown, would never let him forget it.

Image credit: Alamy

Another wild brawl started when Gary Neville and a young Cristiano Ronaldo rushed toward them to defend their teammate.

You could see Neville playing with Ray Parlor in the background while Keown was being dragged away by Ashley Cole.

In the aftermath, the FA fined Arsenal a staggering £175,000 for their behaviour, the largest fine a club has faced.

Lauren, Ray Parlor, Keown and Vieira all received one to four match bans and Lauren was the hardest hit.

After the penalty decision, Lauren was ruled to have been kicked out at Quinton Fortune in addition to pushing Van Nistelrooy.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

Jens Lehmann was also suspended, but those charges were dropped and Ashley Cole was fined £10,000 individually.

Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo were the two men punished on the United side, receiving £7500 and £4000 fines respectively.

Phil Neville was warned about his future behavior, but he and brother Gary suffered no further consequences.

Keown discussed the incident years later and thinks it all started after Van Nistelrooy tried to fake an injury.

“You have to go back to Patrick Vieira who is sent off. Ruud van Nistelrooy feigns injury,” the 55-year-old told talkSPORT in September.

“You could say it’s cheating. And Patrick Vieira gets sent off, and then it’s like the Alamo because they saw they had a chance to win the game.

Image credit: Alamy
Image credit: Alamy

“Yes, there is a penalty that you could say was not a penalty that I was involved in. A few pointers from some of my teammates and then he misses and then he is really the figure of hatred because we are only in that position do we feel because he sent one of our colleagues.”

They don’t make them like that anymore, right? United and Arsenal face each other on April 23 in a match that could prove vital for this season’s top four.

It’s safe to say that eight players won’t be charged at the end of that match.

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