On the first day of February in 2005, old rivals Arsenal and Manchester United clashed at Highbury. Both sides were a long way behind the frightening pace that Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea were setting and the managers had conceded the loser of this match would be out of the title race.
The match was the first since the ‘Pizzagate’ furore after the Red Devils’ 2-0 victory earlier in the season – a game which had ended Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten sequence. The Gunners’ were after revenge. For Patrick Vieira, that meant trying to gain an advantage in the tunnel even before kick-off.
Sensing Manchester United’s right-back Gary Neville as a potential weak link, Vieira warned Neville that if he started dishing out sly challenges on his compatriot Robert Pires, he would: “come after him.”
Keane arrived in the tunnel late having forgotten his captain’s armband but heard what was said and took issue to the words used by Vieira.
Warning: The below video contains some explicit and strong language.
Match official Graham Poll was forced to take strong action with both, informing them to leave any issues in the tunnel and not drag it onto the pitch.
Mikael Silvestre was sent off for a head-butt on Freddie Ljungberg but it was Manchester United and Keane who had the last laugh on the night, winning 4-2 although Arsenal would still finish above them in the final standings and win the FA Cup final on penalties.