Classic from the archive: The Ruud van Nistelrooy incident

Ruud van Nistelrooy was an absolute machine when he was playing for Manchester United.

He simply could not stop scoring (from inside the six yard box at least) and he enjoyed a number of successes at the club during his five year spell in Manchester. In all he made over 150 appearances and scored 95 goals which is pretty bloody good really.

But to anyone who wasn’t a United fan there was something immensely dislikable about the Dutchman. It might have something to do with the fact that he looked like a horse or that he scored a lot of goals or that he sometimes, like most footballers, he cheated.

Anyway, at the beginning of the 2003-2004 season Arsenal visited Old Trafford in a tie which always creates a lot of drama and this one was no different. Patrick Viera was sent off despite van Nistelrooy kneeing him in the back of the head and in the final moments of the game a very controversial penalty was awarded.

Up stepped van Nistelrooy and he smashed his shot against the bar which then led to a procession of Arsenal players shoving him around. They were literally queuing up to get a go at the Dutchman and who can blame them? This was the beginning of Arsenal’s Invincible season, too, so that penalty miss was very significant indeed.

That was nearly ten years ago and the truth is Arsenal could really do with some of that fire and fight now but unfortunately for them there is no Sol Campbell or Martin Keown in their team, players who lead by example.

Anyway, have a good ol’ chuckle at this.