Sunday, September 20, 1998 Published at 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Ten-man United shot down by Gunners
The Highbury crowd show their appreciation to captain Tony Adams
Arsenal 3-0 Manchester United
The Double winners, who have struggled for form in the early weeks of the campaign, burst into life at exactly right the moment - and dispirited United were left chasing the game.
England manager Glenn Hoddle, former Spurs boss Christian Gross and Simply Red star Mick Hucknall were among a 38,000 capacity crowd which squeezed into Highbury to see the first big clash of the Premiership season.
Alex Ferguson also rang the changes with Sweden's Jesper Blomqvist, a £4.4m signing from Parma, replacing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Butt coming in for fellow England international Paul Scholes.
Fergie pushed Ryan Giggs up front to play alongside Dwight Yorke.
Jordi Cruyff, the forgotten man of Old Trafford, was preferred on the bench to Andy Cole.
Arsenal, who beat United 3-0 in the Charity Shield, got off to a bright start in the autumn sunshine but United, wearing a new all-black kit, had the first shot on goal when David Beckham's free kick was well held by David Seaman.
Lee Dixon and Marc Overmars had a couple of shots on goal and it was no surprise when the Gunners took the lead in the 13th minute.
United gradually came into the game and in the 29th minute almost drew level. Beckham was allowed to drift infield and his shot bounced off Seaman's right hand post and spun across the goal to safety.
But Arsenal remained a potent challenge at the other end.
In the 33rd minute Ray Parlour's deflected shot flew just past Schmeichel's post and eight minutes later the over-worked Dane made a fine save from Nicolas Anelka.
First goal for Anelka
The Frenchman, who had not scored so far this season, would not be denied.
First Hughes was booked for a foul on Beckham, who was lucky to escape a caution himself when he appeared to tread on Hughes a couple of minutes later.
Referee Graham Barber had no doubts and immediately brandished the red card. Roy Keane was furious with the decision and earned himself a yellow card for dissent.
Butt takes an early bath
Arsenal began making greater inroads into the 10 men and Anelka should have put them 3-0 up in the 64th minute.
Yorke misplaced pass was intercepted by Hughes and he found Anelka, who shot wide.
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Adams, Anelka (Ljungberg 78), Bergkamp, Overmars, Keown, Parlour, Hughes. Subs not used: Bould, Wreh, Manninger, Garde.
Manchester United: Schmeichel, G Neville, Irwin, Stam, Beckham, Butt (sent off 51), Giggs, Blomqvist, Keane, Yorke, Berg. Subs: P Neville, Cruyff, Van Der Gouw, Scholes, Solskjaer.
Referee: Graham Barber (Pyrford, Surrey)