Thursday 24 October 2013

On this day in 2004: United end Arsenal's unbeaten run

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall United ending Arsenal's 49-match unbeaten run

  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy gives Man Utd the lead against Arsenal from the penalty spot

  • ... and the Dutchman shows his unbridled joy

  • Jens Lehmann clashes with United players after the penalty award

  • Cristiano Ronaldo takes on Arsenal's Ashley Cole and Jose Antonio Reyes

  • Wayne Rooney's goal makes his a 19th birthday to remember

  • Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand celebrate their 2-0 win at the final whistle

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

24 October 2004 - Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal

Arsenal had been on a record-breaking run of 49 consecutive unbeaten top-flight Barclays Premier League matches dating back to May 2003 when they visited Old Trafford in October 2004.

"The win is a tremendous boost for us. If we continue to work as hard as that, we will get results."
Alex Ferguson

Their run had started with a 6-1 defeat of Southampton and had beaten the previous best of 42 set by Nottingham Forest from November 1977 to November 1978.

The Gunners went into the match five points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier League table with Manchester United 11 points behind them in sixth place.

The hosts started well and only some last-ditch defending by Arsenal kept out efforts from Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs.

The Gunners came back into it, though, and Roy Carroll had to be quick to first deny Dennis Bergkamp and then Thierry Henry.

Bergkamp missed another chance after the break while Gabriel Heinze headed wide at the other end before United took the lead in the 73rd minute.

They were awarded a penalty after a challenge by Sol Campbell on Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy held his nerve to beat Jens Lehmann from the spot.

Rooney, on his 19th birthday, secured the points and ended Arsenal's run when he slotted home from six yards in the final minute.

"The win is a tremendous boost for us," said United manager Alex Ferguson. "If we continue to work as hard as that, we will get results."

Arsenal would suffer four further defeats in the 2004/05 campaign and finish the campaign second to Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, who won the title by a 12-point margin, while United would finish six points further back in third place.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember when Manchester United ended Arsenal's record-breaking run