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24 September 2003. Manchester United fight Arsenal

24 September 2003:

Six Arsenal players charged by FA after a 0-0 at Man U

This was the game in which Ruud van Nistelrooy took a penalty in time added on for fighting and hit it against the crossbar, after which Martin Keown had a few quiet words in his face.

The reason behind the dispute was that van Nistelrooy had earlier managed to get Patrick Vieira sent off by the referee Steve Bennett by the careful ploy of jumping into Vieira and then over-reacting as Vieira, flat out on the ground, twitched a foot.  Patrick got a second yellow, and was off with the result of what were called “angry scenes”.

Van Nistelrooy also had a go at Jens Lehmann – never a wise thing to do – and both got a red card for that.

The reason behind the penalty was that Diego Forlan went down in a style that suggested he needed a little further theatrical training, after Martin Keown and put in a perfectly legitimate challenge.   Had Referee Decisions been around in those days the assembled refs would have had more than enough material to show just how out of touch with reality it was possible for a referee to be.

It was Van Nistelrooy’s third successive penalty miss, which was exactly what he deserved.  For Arsenal it was a return to the top of the league – which was exactly what they deserved.

As for the team, Sol Campbell was absent following the death of his father, while Robert Pires and Sylvain Wiltord were left out, knowing exactly what sort of performance Manchester United would put in.

Lehmann,

Lauren, Toure, Keown, Cole,

Parlour, Vieira, Silva, Ljungberg,

Bergkamp (Edu 82), Henry.

Subs Not Used: Stack, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan.

Sent Off: Vieira (81).

Booked: Toure, Keown, Vieira.

You can watch the interview and bits of the match on You tube

The Anniversary Files:  January to June and July to December

Other main series on the site (full list of indexes below)

The books…

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