Arguably the most legendary rivalry in Premier League history, Manchester United and Arsenal are intertwined in each other’s history.
The two greatest managers in each club’s history, Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, spent a combined 49 years at their respective clubs and went head-to-head over the course of 17 glorious years.
They met 49 times throughout their careers across all competitions, with Ferguson getting 23 wins to Wenger’s 16 plus ten draws. Here’s a breakdown of every time they came up against each other.
The first meeting between these two legendary coaches was a tight affair at Old Trafford, as 55,000 fans watched Nicky Butt pressure defender Nigel Winterburn into scoring an own goal – handing the Red Devils all three points.
A few months later the two teams clashed again and Fergie’s men took all three points once again thanks to goals from Andy Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Dennis Bergkamp pulled one back before Ian Wright and Peter Schmeichel’s infamous clash took place. Fiery.
Arsene Wenger’s first win in the rivalry came courtesy of a high-scoring win at Highbury.
Young striker Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring and Patrick Vieira scored his first goal for the club with a screamer from outside the box. Teddy Sheringham scored twice to level it up before David Platt headed home a late winner to seal all the points for the Gunners.
A famous game in Arsenal’s history as Marc Overmars raced clear of the United defence to slot past Schmeichel, continuing the Gunners winning run en route to the Premier League title.
Having won the double the season before, Arsenal thrashed Manchester United in the Charity Shield at Wembley in 1998 with a 3-0 win. Goals from Overmars, Christopher Wreh and Anelka made it three wins in a row for Wenger.
Three in a row became four in a row just six weeks later as Arsenal repeated their 3-0 win at Highbury in the Premier League.
Tony Adams, Anelka and Freddie Ljungberg got on the scoresheet as Butt saw red in a torrid afternoon for Fergie’s men.
Anelka continued to be a menace to Sir Alex’s Manchester United as he scored again in this 1-1 draw. Andy Cole equalised on the hour mark to earn his side a point, and United went on to win the league on the final day of the season.
As Manchester United pushed for an unprecedented treble, they met Arsenal in the FA Cup semi-final. Unfortunately this game ended in a stalemate and was goalless despite 120 minutes of action. That meant a replay was needed…
Arguably the most famous FA Cup semi-final of all time. The two sides met three days later at Villa Park once again and couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes following goals from David Beckham and Dennis Bergkamp.
Then Ryan Giggs got the ball on the halfway line and the rest, as they say, is history.
After winning the treble it was Wenger’s Arsenal side that brought Fergie’s boys back to earth with a win at Wembley in the Charity Shield.
Dwight Yorke put United 1-0 up before goals from Nwankwo Kanu and Ray Parlour in the second half gave Arsenal a second consecutive Charity Shield win.
The Reds got their revenge in their Premier League game just three weeks later, when captain Roy Keane scored twice to cancel out Ljungberg’s opener and give Sir Alex’s side all three points.
Another Ljungberg opener was cancelled out by a late equaliser, this time by Sheringham at Old Trafford as United would go on to lift the Premier League title once again.
Some say it’s the best goal of Thierry Henry’s Arsenal career. Whether you agree or not, it was enough to claim all three points for the Gunners in this clash.
The first true mauling of the rivalry as Yorke grabbed a first half hat-trick at Old Trafford to embarrass their title rivals in a 6-1 drubbing. Keane, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Sheringham also got on the scoresheet, with Henry scoring for the north Londoners.
A game that many don’t recall since both managers fielded essentially reserve teams, but Wenger’s experienced front two of Kanu and Sylvain Wiltord got all the goals with the Frenchman getting a hat-trick.
As the two teams competed for the league title once again, Highbury was electric. Paul Scholes put the visitors ahead, before Ljungberg equalised soon after half-time.
With 10 minutes left Barthez saw Henry free and thought he was on international duty, kicking the ball straight to him for a one-on-one which he couldn’t stop, to give Arsenal the lead. Minutes later he couldn’t hold the ball as he came to collect it to allow Arsenal a third goal and all three points.
A night that will live in the memory of Arsenal fans forever, as a sole Wiltord goal just before the hour mark was enough to give the Gunners all three points and officially crown them Premier League champions at Old Trafford.
United wanted revenge in their first meeting since Arsenal were crowned champions, and they got it with a 2-0 win thanks to goals either side of half-time from Juan Sebastian Veron and Paul Scholes.
An FA Cup clash saw Arsenal rest a few key names but still come away with a win at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Edu and Wiltord.
One of the best games between these two sides in the Premier League was this 2-2 draw at Highbury.
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored a lovely solo dink, before an Henry double put Arsenal ahead. Ryan Giggs scored a header to level it up again before a late Sol Campbell red card for an elbow on Solskjaer brought the usual flare up too.
A fiercely contested Charity Shield went to penalties at the Millennium Stadium in 2003, after a stunning Henry free-kick cancelled out Mikael Silvestre’s header. Tim Howard saved from Robert Pires on his debut to take the glory.
This period of time was when the rivalry got nasty, as Van Nistelrooy missed an injury time penalty at Old Trafford and was taunted at the whistle by Arsenal’s players sparking a brawl.
Another tightly contested game between these juggernauts, as two Frenchmen got on the scoresheet. Henry scored a piledriver from 30 yards to open the scoring before Louis Saha tapped in an equaliser for the teams to share the points.
An FA Cup semi-final at Villa Park brought back memories of 1999, but a Scholes goal in the first half was enough to keep the drama at a minimum in this one.
Following Euro 2004, the Charity Shield saw a depleted Manchester United side well beaten at the Millenium Stadium.
Goals from Gilberto Silva, Jose Antonio Reyes and a Silvestre own goal were enough to drown out Alan Smith’s debut goal and give Arsenal the trophy.
The most infamous game in the rivalry between these sides. After Van Nistelrooy’s miss from the spot the previous year, United were desperate to end Arsenal’s 49 game unbeaten run.
They could have been down to eight men on a different day but a controversial Van Nistelrooy penalty followed by a Wayne Rooney goal gave them a 2-0 win. There was also all you can eat pizza after the game too, in the tunnel…. on Sir Alex’s head courtesy of Cesc Fabregas.
Six weeks later the teams met again, this time in the Carling Cup quarter-final. United won again, thanks to a David Bellion goal in the first minute. Pretty low key in comparison.
You’d be forgiven for forgetting that a classic Premier League encounter happened after the Roy Keane/Patrick Vieira beef in the tunnel. But there was.
Manchester United left north London with a 4-2 win and all three points, sealed with a delightful chip by John O’Shea. An all-time classic.
The 2005 FA Cup final was so one-sided it’s almost unbelievable that the Red Devils didn’t lift the trophy. They dominated the game but couldn’t break the deadlock, and then lost the shoot-out when Paul Scholes missed his penalty and Vieira scored with the last kick of his Arsenal career.
The first game at the Emirates Stadium ended in a non-eventful 0-0 draw. Stalemate.
Wayne Rooney continued his love affair with scoring against Arsenal with the opening goal before getting the assist for Park Ji-Sung in United’s 2-0 win.
Arsenal finally got some revenge at Old Trafford, as Emmanuel Adebayor slid home the winner in the 85th minute to give the Gunners all three points.
Thierry Henry scored the final goal of his first spell as an Arsenal player in this game, with an injury time header to win the game.
A wild game for William Gallas as he scored an own goal and then an injury time equaliser as Arsenal fought back to draw 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium.
The FA Cup hosted another game between these two sides but it was Sir Alex Ferguson’s men that ran rampant on this occasion. Two goals from Darren Fletcher plus strikes from Nani and Rooney sealed the Reds’ progression.
The crowning moment of Owen Hargreaves’ Premier League career came against the Gunners when he scored a beautiful free-kick to gift the champions of England a 2-1 win at Old Trafford.
A huge win for the Gunners came courtesy of a Samir Nasri double at the Emirates Stadium. Rafael scored a peach of a volley in stoppage time to pull one back but it wasn’t enough.
En route to reaching a second consecutive Champions League final, Manchester United had to beat Arsenal in the semi-finals. They did so, with John O’Shea scoring the only goal of the first leg.
The second leg of that semi-final tie was finely poised until Cristiano Ronaldo took it upon himself to remind everyone that he was the best in the world.
A stunning free-kick and flying counter attack goal were the highlights as Park Ji-Sung and Robin van Persie also got on the scoresheet.
With the title already wrapped up for Manchester United, these two sides battled out a 0-0 draw on the penultimate day of the 2008/09 season.
The champions continued their good run against the Gunners with a come from behind win at Old Trafford.
Andrey Arshavin scored a screamer before half-time, before a Rooney penalty and Abou Diaby own goal gave Fergie’s boys all the points.
The visitors produced another excellent performance at the Emirates to come away with a 3-1 win, with the pick of the bunch being Nani’s dazzling run which led to Manuel Almunia fumbling into his own net.
Another win for Sir Alex Ferguson in what was a one-sided rivalry at this point as Park Ji-Sung scored yet another goal against the Gunners.
Manchester United embarrassed Arsenal in this one, as a side with defensive twins Fabio and Rafael Da Silva on the wings and Darron Gibson in midfield came away with a comfortable 2-0 win in the FA Cup.
The last win Arsene Wenger secured over Sir Alex came in this game, as Aaron Ramsey slotted home from a cut-back to give the Gunners all three points.
You thought the 6-1 was bad, but this was the most humiliating result of the lot. A hat-trick from Rooney, two from Ashley Young and goals from Nani, Danny Welbeck and Park Ji-Sung slaughtered an Arsenal side that were in the midst of a crisis.
United did the double over Arsenal this season as Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck scored either side of a Robin van Persie goal to clinch all three points at the Emirates.
After swapping Wenger for Ferguson, Robin van Persie scored the opener in his first game against his former side to help Manchester United claim all three points.
It’s pretty symbolic that the final game between these two legends ended in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United already crowned champions, with Van Persie scoring the final goal to close out a rivalry that will go down in history.