Even in an era when Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea are the leading title contenders, Manchester United and Arsenal doing battle remains a special occasion.
Ahead of tonight’s Premier League clash, we look back on five of the most memorable meetings between two of English football’s most decorated sides.
Title-winning goals, missed penalties and humiliating scorelines all feature in this entertaining walk down memory lane.
Arsenal 1-2 Manchester United (1999)
Our list kicks off with an FA Cup cracker — and a result which played a pivotal role in one of the proudest achievements in Red Devils history.
With the teams also locked in an intense battle for the league title, this iconic semi-final clash was actually a replay following a goalless draw at Villa Park three days earlier.
If the initial clash had lacked drama, this classic certainly made up for it.
United went ahead through an early 30-yard David Beckham strike but were pegged back by a deflected Dennis Bergkamp equaliser in the second half.
A feisty affair spilled over when United skipper Roy Keane was dismissed after 74 minutes, leaving Sir Alex Ferguson’s side up against it in extra-time — but they were not to be denied.
On as a substitute, a 25-year-old Ryan Giggs decided the contest with a stunning solo run and strike that is widely considered the FA Cup’s greatest goal.
For United, it helped them on their way to an unprecedented FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League Treble, with each leg secured in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (2002)
Though United hold the edge in the two sides’ overall head-to-head stats, the Gunners have still enjoyed their fair share of victories.
Few will have felt sweeter than in May 2002, when Arsene Wenger’s troops delivered the ultimate ignominy to their rivals by securing the Premier League title at Old Trafford.
Having lifted the FA Cup just four days earlier, downing Chelsea 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium, the Gunners knew that a point would be enough to land a famous domestic double.
United, who still had a mathematical hope of retaining their crown, had their chances but largely found themselves second-best throughout a tense contest.
The decisive goal came when home stopper Fabien Barthez palmed Freddie Ljungberg’s strike into the path of his fellow Frenchman Sylvain Wiltord, who calmly slotted home to secure glory.
Any Red Devils fans who opted to stay beyond the full-time whistle were able to see Wenger and the Gunners celebrate an unforgettable evening — though United would have the title back in their possession a season later.
Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal (2003)
Even when the matches themselves are not absolute classics, this fixture tends to throw up memorable moments — and the September 2003 meeting was no exception.
Little did those present know, this goalless draw was to prove the key moment in the Gunners’ famous Invincibles campaign as Wenger’s men went an entire league season unbeaten.
It could have been so different though, with United’s prolific forward Ruud van Nistelrooy crashing an injury-time penalty against the bar after Diego Forlan had gone down softly from Martin Keown’s challenge.
After the Dutchman’s miss, Keown — along with a number of team-mates — celebrated vociferously in the forward’s face and tempers flared even more at full-time.
For once, skippers Keane and Vieira were not involved in the resulting melee. The former escorted a bemused Van Nistelrooy off the pitch, while the Gunners skipper was already back in the dressing room following two earlier yellow cards.
The dramatic conclusion to the game, retrospectively dubbed the Battle of Old Trafford, holds a special place in Premier League folklore.
Manchester United 2-0 Arsenal (2004)
One season later, United gained revenge on their rivals in the sweetest manner possible by ending their record-breaking Premier League unbeaten run.
The Gunners arrived at Old Trafford having not tasted defeat in 49 league matches and were already 11 points ahead of their rivals, despite having only played nine league games.
Ferguson’s hosts needed to deliver a big performance and their star strikers rose to the occasion, with goals from Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney — celebrating his 19th birthday — enough to land three points.
As always, emotions were running high with familiar names in the referee’s notebook including brothers Gary and Phil Neville, along with Ashley Cole and Vieira from the visiting ranks.
And there was a familiar amount of ferocity after the game too, with newspapers ironically dubbing this encounter the Battle of the Buffet after food was said to be chucked in the tunnel.
Years later, Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas confessed to hurling a slice of pizza at United boss Ferguson’s head in one of the Premier League’s most bizarre incidents.
Manchester United 8-2 Arsenal (2011)
Look away now, Arsenal fans.
No rundown of this fixture would be complete without referencing the scarcely believable August 2011 meeting where Wenger’s Arsenal were spectacularly torn apart.
Reigning champions United entered this early season encounter having won both of their opening two fixtures, while the Gunners were searching for a first victory having drawn with Newcastle and lost to Liverpool.
Though the hosts entered as clear favourites, nobody could have anticipated the manner of their victory — inflicting their rivals’ biggest league defeat since 1927.
First-half strikes from Danny Welbeck, Ashley Young and Rooney had the Red Devils clear approaching the interval before Theo Walcott gave the Gunners a lifeline right on half-time.
The second period was a massacre, however. Nani and Ji-sung Park both netted while Young made it a brace and Rooney a hat-trick.
Robin van Persie’s consolation was barely even acknowledged by the flummoxed away fans.
Despite the gulf between the two sides on the day, only one space would go on to separate them in the final table as United finished second to a newly emerging title rival in neighbours City, with the Gunners eventually salvaging third spot.