Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has looked back on the Gunners’ famous battle with Manchester United at Old Trafford ahead of this weekend’s meeting.
Ruud van Nistelrooy famously missed a last-minute penalty when the sides met during Arsenal’s invincibles season, prompting an over-exuberant response from the players.
“We were out of order, really,” he told Sky Sports. “There’s loads of things you do in football you regret, but we all got fined by the FA.
“I remember the letters coming in a couple of weeks later and we said to Martin Keown ‘open yours up first, because you started it’.
“He got fined £20,000, I got done £10,000, Lauren £5,000 and Ashley Cole £5,000. [It was] a bit of a nightmare, really!”
The Gunners have seen new signings Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka make a positive impact since their arrival in the summer, something which has helped them stay within two points of top spot.
Parlour believes that Arsenal are in good shape in their title challenge, and thinks that a win at Old Trafford would send out a statement to the rest of the league.
“I look at Arsenal now and think they’re a lot stronger,” he added.
“People were always waiting for that big centre forward, but the key signings for me were Mustafi and Xhaka. Those two down the spine have been very strong, especially Mustafi who’s come in next to Koscielny at the back.
“No disrespect to Per Mertesacker, who’s getting that little bit older, but sometimes Arsenal have to sit off with him in the team. With Mustafi, you can push up that little bit higher and condense the space in midfield.
“It’s worked so far, but it’s such a competitive league and this will be a big test. If they’re going to win the title, they have to go to places like Old Trafford and try to get a result.”