To get you in the mood for Saturday’s showdown, we have a round-up of the most memorable moments in one of the fiercest rivalries in English football.
The clash has delivered plenty of classic moments and pub talking points over the years, from FA Cup finals, to title deciders and unbelievable goals. Add to that a topping of fights and managerial slanging matches, and you’re onto a winner.
Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United – THAT Ryan Giggs goal
If you ask people what comes into their mind when you utter the name “Ryan Giggs.” It’s usually one of two things, a certain screamer against Arsenal or, well… We will let you work out the other one.
The initial Semi-Final tie may have been a 0-0 bore, but the replay leg more than made up for it. Complete with red cards, unreal goals, a last minute penalty save and arguably the most defining FA Cup strike of all time.
A misplaced Patrick Vieira pass was collected by the Welshman, who danced through the entire of Arsenal’s defence and smashed the ball past David Seaman, just like that. To add to the general hysteria and disbelief, he whipped his shirt off to give the crowd an airing of his hairy chest.
The Battle of Old Trafford – Ruud van Nistle-row
It may be a whole 13 years ago now, but Martin Keown and Ruud van Nistlerooy once treated us all to the goalless draw of our wildest dreams.
The title-chasing Gunners were elated when RVN hit a late penalty straight against the crossbar, as they defended a record which would ultimately last for the whole season.
As the final whistle sounded, Keown bounded over to the Dutchman and taunted the striker for missing his penalty in a bizarre moment of madness. The handbags came out quickly, with Vieira and Ronaldo amongst those getting involved.
Pizzagate – The Battle of the Buffet
United famously ended Arsenal’s unbeaten 49-game run in October 2004. Despite the record-breaking, the fixture became known for something else entirely.
No longer the ‘Invincibles’ the bad-tempered game resumed in the tunnel, as an Arsenal player – believed to be Cesc Fabregas – picked up a slice of pizza and lobbed it in the direction of the home team.
The mozzarella-coated missile landed on no-other than Sir Alex Ferguson! No camera footage was ever made available, and to this day Ferguson says he has no idea who the offender was.
I’d 8-2 be a Gunner
Fast forward to 2011, where Arsenal suffered their worst defeat since 1896. The Red Devils smashed them 8-2, returning to the top of the table in the process. A total embarrassment, which left fans shell-shocked and offered plenty of opportunity for shit 8-2 based punts like the one I’ve used above.
[OTD] In 2011, Manchester United demolished Arsenal 8-2 at Old Trafford. pic.twitter.com/j1qavXv5Kc
— MUFC Latest News (@MUFCLatestnews) August 28, 2016
The goals came from a Wayne Rooney hat-trick, Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young, Luis Nani and Ji-Sung Park. It is also worth remembering that both Tom Cleverley and Anderson dominated central midfield that day…
The five minute final
Can I get a re-wind? All the way back to the 1979 FA Cup Final. The Gunners were making easy work of it, with a 2-0 lead at the 85-minute mark.
All of a sudden, Gordon McQueen and Sammy McIlroy bagged twice in just three minutes. As extra-time looked a given, Alan Sunderland and his formidable head of hair found the net to restore his Arsenal’s lead and see them lift the cup.