Arsenal v Manchester United: Classic FA Cup ties

Arguably the biggest rivalry in FA Cup history will have a new chapter written this weekend as Arsenal host Manchester United in the fourth round. This is the 15th meeting between these sides in the tournament, with both sides boasting seven wins apiece. Ahead of what promises to be the tie of the round, we look back at five of these sides’ most famous clashes in the cup.

Arsenal 1 v 2 Manchester United (aet), 1999 – Semi-final Replay

Whatever your checklist for a great game, this one ticked all the boxes. United took the lead when David Beckham’s strike from distance beat David Seaman, but the Gunners drew level after half time through Dennis Bergkamp. Just five minutes later it seemed that Arsenal would take control when Roy Keane was dismissed, and they were handed the opportunity in injury time when Phil Neville brought down Ray Parlour in the area to hand the Gunners a penalty.

However, Peter Schmeichel saved Bergkamp’s effort to force extra time. With both sides tiring, Ryan Giggs embarked on a long dribble that took him past half of the opposition defence before firing past Seaman to win the tie. The goal went down as an FA Cup classic, and United went on to win the treble.

Arsenal 0 v 0 Manchester United (5-4 on penalties), 2005 – Final

The 2005 final offered both sides their last chance of silverware for the season following Chelsea’s domination in the Premier League and League Cup. Arsenal started without Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell and United were quick to seize the initiative, peppering the Gunners’ goal with little luck.

The game went to extra time, where Jose Antonio Reyes was sent off before the final was decided by a shootout for the first time. A perfect set of penalties followed with the exception of Paul Scholes’ miss, allowing Gunners skipper Patrick Vieira to score the decisive spot kick. It was to be Vieira’s final contribution before his departure to Juventus, and the Gunners’ last trophy for nine years.

Manchester United 2 v 3 Arsenal, 1979 – Final

On a sunny afternoon at Wembley the Gunners went into the break 2-0 up courtesy of goals from Brian Talbot and Frank Stapleton. With five minutes remaining the London side seemed set for victory, only for United to set up a nervy finish through Gordon McQueen, and two minutes later Sammy McIlroy levelled the scores with a neat finish.

There was time for one more twist, though. Arsenal pushed forward and Graham Rix’s looping cross found Alan Sunderland, who duly converted to put the Gunners ahead once more. The game became known as the “Five Minute Final” as result of the late drama.

Manchester United 4 v 0 Arsenal, 2008 – 5th Round

The Red Devils tore through Arsenal at will in their first cup meeting since the 2005 final. The hosts were already 3-0 up at half time thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Nani, and any hopes of a fightback faded when Emmanuel Eboue was sent off five minutes into the second half. Fletcher added his second of the game with 15 minutes to go as United condemned the Gunners to their heaviest cup defeat under Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal only won one of their following seven matches in all competitions as their early season hopes slowly unravelled. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side went on to overhaul them in the league and win the title for the second season in succession.



Manchester United 1 v 2 Arsenal, 2015 – Quarter Finals

Arsenal arrived at Old Trafford as holders of the cup, while United were still searching for an identity following Ferguson’s retirement two years earlier. The visitors went ahead after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain teed up Nacho Monreal to finish, but Rooney put his side level with a powerful header.

Then, with just under half an hour to go, Danny Welbeck capitalised on a poor back pass from Antonio Valencia to go around David De Gea and fire into an empty net. The United academy product, who had move to Arsenal just six months earlier, did not mute his celebrations. The hosts never threatened a second equaliser and their chances were reduced when Angel Di Maria was sent off for pushing referee Michael Oliver. It was Arsenal’s first win at Old Trafford since 2006, and the victory set them up to lift the cup yet again.