Iconic Premier League Moments


The Battle of Old Trafford (Manchester United 0 Arsenal 0, 21st September 2003)

Martin Keown defiantly launches himself upon a broken Ruud van Nistelrooy after the Manchester United striker misses a disputed penalty in the final minutes of a bad-tempered game. Although still early in the season the match (and miss) would prove decisive as Arsenal would go on to finish the season as undefeated champions; an unmatched feat. The Invincibles’ legacy may not be associated with brutality but that team was born in the fire and blood of this moment.

What Happened Next…

  • Several Arsenal and Manchester United players were charged by the FA as a result of a brawl that erupted because of the confrontation between Keown and van Nistelrooy. Some received bans including Keown himself.
  • The Invincibles went unbeaten for 49 matches; an English league record. Sometimes they even gave Pascal Cygan a run-out, the footballing equivalent of arm-wrestling with your weaker hand because you’re just that good. The run did eventually come to an end…
  • …in the following season’s corresponding fixture, United coming out on top 2-0 to stop their rivals one short of 50. The decisive goal came from the penalty spot after Rooney went down in controversial fashion. Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped up to score and symbolically get the angry, arm-waving monkey(own) off his back. Beautiful…football is just beautiful…


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