When United ended record runs

Arsenal (H) 2-0, 24 October 2004

Much was made of United’s aggressive approach to the fixture, which stopped the Gunners reaching 50 unbeaten games in the Premier League, when they apparently had T-shirts prepared in order to acclaim the landmark. However, combative skipper Roy Keane missed the game due to ‘flu and only the Neville brothers were booked, while the visitors picked up three yellow cards, in a stirring contest that still rankles with Arsenal fans today. 

With 17 minutes left, Wayne Rooney was felled by Sol Campbell inside the box and, despite the defender’s protestations, referee Mike Riley pointed to the spot. Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped up to send Jens Lehmann the wrong way and nobody will forget his primal scream in relief after he’d hit the bar when presented with a last-minute penalty to beat the north Londoners during their ‘Invincibles’ season.

Rooney, who had ended another long Arsenal run with a winner on his Everton debut, provided the killer blow by tucking home Alan Smith’s pass late on, to celebrate his 19th birthday in style.


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