As Arsenal prepare to host Manchester United on Wednesday night THT takes a look back to the second meeting between the sides at The Emirates stadium.

A few years back Arsenal v Manchester United was the biggest fixture in the Premier League calendar. Back then the relationship between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson had shown no sign of mellowing. In short this match up provided high octane football and controversy in equal measure. If we can have anything like this encounter later tonight the fans will definitely have another ai???I was thereai??i?? moment for future bar conservations.

Coming into this match the Gunners led Manchester United not on points or goal difference but on the basis of having scored more goals. It was really tight at the top of the Barclays Premier League and this fixture would serve as an early marker in what ultimately proved a very close and thrilling title race. It was also a case of the most intimidating attack in the form of the Arsenal frontline going up against the meanest defense.

The Gunners were in red hot form as they were destroying on all comers at The Emirates and grinding out results away from home. Just a few days earlier they had put seven unanswered goals past Steaua Bucuresti. Arsene Wengerai??i??s side also had a lot of resilience about them which was clear for all to see when they snatched a late equalizer against Liverpool at Anfield.

Manchester United on the other hand were on a fine run themselves having scored four goals in all of their four previous matches. After a slow start to their season in which they picked up only two points from the first three games they were really building a head of steam going into November. The attacking triumvirate of Rooney, Ronaldo and Tevez were also starting to gel and drawing comparisons with the original holy trinity of Old Trafford.

Cristiano_Ronaldo_(c)_en(dot)wikipedia(dot)org

Ronaldo put United in the lead with 10 minutes left

The first half proved an anti-climax to all the hype surrounding the most important match of the season so far. It was littered with errant passing belying the technical qualities of the footballers on show. But just when it seemed that the half would peter out Ronaldo and Wes Brown exchanged passes on the right wing before the Portuguese winger sent in a low fizzing cross which Rooney converted on the near post via a deflection of William Gallasai??i??s outstretched leg. The Red Devils had drawn first blood right on the stroke of half time.

The Gunners though came out flying after the interval and with their first meaningful attack of the half managed to draw level. The move started from deep inside Arsenalai??i??s half and following some crisp passing Emmanuel Adebayor was played in on goal. The Togolese was cut short by Van Der Sar but Bacary Sagna crossed the loose ball to Fabregas who side footed the ball home. It was a composed finish by the Spaniard and it kick started a thrilling last forty five minutes.

The Emirates was in full volume now and buoyed by the home support the Gunners found the menace which was lacking in the first period. But United being United soaked up all the pressure and should have been ahead on 64 minutes when Rooney headed wastefully wide following a Ryan Giggs pass.

With a quarter of an hour left to go Ferguson threw in Louis Saha and it proved to be a masterstroke as the Frenchman was heavily involved in the Red Devils retaking the lead. With his back towards goal and seemingly in an innocuous position Saha played a superb reverse pass to the onrushing Evra. The French leftback then raced ahead of his marker and his low pass was smashed in from point blank range by Ronaldo. But just when it seemed that the Portuguese had scored the decisive goal Arsenal struck again.

The Red Devils had already been warned that the Gunners were not going down without a fight when Patrice Evraai??i??s sliced clearance crashed against his own bar following Eduardoai??i??s cross with Van Der Sar helpless. United were not so lucky a few minutes later though. Arsenalai??i??s young left back Gael Clichy went on a mazy run on the left flank and sent in the perfect cross across the face of the goal which beat everyone. After a goal mouth melee the ball finally broke for Gallas who steered it home before Van Der Sar could claw it out. The United players were furious that the goal was allowed to stand while the Gunners celebrated an equalizer right at the death.

With this result Arsenal remained at the top of the table. However, their season ended in disappointment as they went trophy less. United on the other hand, managed to do the double of the Premier League and the Champions League.

But when posterity judges this season they will be hard pressed to find a more captivating match.

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