Top five: Classic Arsenal performances at Old Trafford
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Top five: Classic Arsenal performances at Old Trafford

Ahead of Unai Emery's first visit to Old Trafford as Arsenal boss, lets reminisce with Arsenal's top five performances away at Manchester United.

Andy Preston

Arsenal and Manchester United presents one of the greatest rivalries that football has ever witnessed, with numerous classic encounters between two giants of English football.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s United side dominated English football in the 90’s before Arsene Wenger’s revolutionary Arsenal broke United’s dominance, the two battling it out at the peak of the Premier League in the late 90’s through to the mid 2000’s to create a compelling rivalry, the likes of which are scarce in the modern game.

Whilst the rivalry between the two sides is not as fierce as it once was, it is still one of the most anticipated fixtures of the Premier League calendar, but while Unai Emery prepares to take his Arsenal side to Old Trafford for the first time, lets reminisce with some classic Arsenal performances away at Manchester United.

5. Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal 17th September 2006

Amazingly, the first entry on the list presents the last time that the Gunners managed to pick up all three points in a Premier League game at Old Trafford.

Tomasz Kuszczak amended for his initial error of gifting Arsenal a penalty as he parried away Gilberto Silva’s spot-kick to keep the scores level.

With Thierry Henry unfit, Emmanuel Adebayor was tasked with leading the line for Arsenal and his hard work paid off just five minutes from full time when Cesc Fabregas won possession for Arsenal and slid a through ball for Adebayor who slipped the ball under Kuszczak to win the game.

Just minutes after Arsenal had taken the lead, Jens Lehmann pulled off an incredible reactionary save from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the Gunners held on to win three points.

4. Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal 9th March 2015

Despite not winning in the league at Old Trafford since 2006, Arsenal’s last victory there in much more recent in the memory in the FA Cup.

Nacho Monreal gave Arsenal an early lead before Wayne Rooney headed in the equaliser for the hosts.

Danny Welbeck then beat David De Gea to the ball after a poor back pass from Antonio Valencia and rounded the goalkeeper before finishing into an empty net to score against his boyhood club on his first return to Old Trafford since joining Arsenal.

United’s misery was then compounded even further as Angel Di Maria was shown two yellow cards in quick succession, the first being for a theatrical dive, then only seconds later the Argentine was given his marching orders for grabbing the back of referee Michael Oliver’s shirt.

Arsene Wenger’s side continued their cup success and went on to lift the FA Cup for a second consecutive season thrashing Aston Villa 4-0 in the 2015 final.

3. Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal 14th March 1998

It’s 1998, it's Arsene Wenger’s first full season in charge at Highbury and Manchester Untied are nine points ahead of them in the title race with a chance to extend that to 12 points and effectively end the Gunners title challenge. However, that nine-point lead would be short-lived.

Marc Overmars proved to be a scourge to the United defence all game as his blistering pace allowed him to get in behind on multiple occasions.

United were riding their luck and it eventually ran out as Overmars raced on to Nicolas Anelka's flicked header and controlled it superbly with his head and took another touch to compose himself before slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to beat Peter Schmeichel.

Arsenal’s confidence was beginning to grow and their immense momentum of winning ten consecutive league games saw them eclipse Manchester United to claim the Premier League title. The Gunners also went on to win the FA Cup to clinch a historic double in Wenger’s first full season in charge.

2. Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal 21st September 2003

Next up, a match so iconic that it has its own Wikipedia page. ‘The Battle of Old Trafford’ is steeped in Premier League folklore as one of the most famous games in English football history as tensions reached boiling point.

Arsenal’s captain Patrick Vieira was dismissed in controversial circumstances by referee Steve Bennett with just ten minutes remaining as Rudd van Nistelrooy recoiled at Vieira’s kick out after the Dutch striker had initially been penalised for jumping into the Frenchman with a high knee.

With the game poised at 0-0, it looked as if it was going to end in stalemate. That was until United were awarded a penalty with the last kick of the game as Diego Forlan went down under Martin Keown’s challenge.

Van Nistelrooy smashed his penalty off the crossbar much to the delight of several Arsenal players who took their anger out on the striker for his part in Vieira’s dismissal earlier in the game.

Tensions erupted as several Arsenal players, including Keown, raced over to van Nistelrooy to give him an earful as brawls began to ensue between both sets of players at the full-time whistle.

The 0-0 draw would grow in significance as Arsenal went on to win the Premier League without losing a game in the entire season and would continue to record 49 games unbeaten until their next visit to Old Trafford, but that’s another story for another time…

1. Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal 8th May 2002

Just four days after beating Chelsea in the FA Cup Final, Arsenal had the chance to seal another league and double with a trip to Old Trafford.

Without the likes of Thierry Henry, Tony Adams, Robert Pires and Dennis Bergkamp in the starting line-up, the home side might have fancied their chances of scuppering Arsenal’s hopes of a title party at Old Trafford.

However, it was the man who replaced the injured Henry, Sylvain Wiltord, who sealed the double for Arsenal and scored one of the most iconic goals in the clubs illustrious history.

A meticulous midfield display from workhorse Ray Parlour and the imposing Patrick Vieira proved to be pivotal as the Gunners overpowered a very strong Manchester United team.

Freddie Ljungberg sprinted on to Wiltord’s through ball and fired at goal only for his shot to be parried out by Fabian Barthez, however, Wiltord latched on to the rebound to score the only goal of the match to give Arsenal a remarkable method of winning the title.