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BBC Sport's Simon Brotherton
"It was at the back that Arsenal really fell apart"
 real 14k

Man United's manager Alex Ferguson
"I think that was a crushing defeat for them."
 real 14k

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We were too naive and gave them too much space at the back."
 real 14k

Sunday, 25 February, 2001, 14:56 GMT
Man Utd hit Arsenal for six
Dwight Yorke
Yorke and Beckham celebrate United's triumph
Man Utd 6-1 Arsenal

Manchester United produced a football masterclass to humiliate nearest rivals Arsenal and establish a 16-point lead at the Premiership summit.

Sir Alex Ferguson's champions made a nonsense of any lingering suggestion that there may still be life left in the title race with five brilliant first half goals of stunning quality.

Dwight Yorke helped himself to a hat-trick inside 21 magical minutes as a packed Old Trafford was treated to every trick in the book by a United team at the very peak of its powers.

Arsenal - despite an early Thierry Henry equaliser - were mauled as Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got in on the act with further goals in a scintillating show.

Substitute Teddy Sheringham made it six of the best for United with the final goal in injury time.

Dwight Yorke
Yorke scores his first
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger unveiled an ultra-attacking strategy designed to continue Arsenal's excellent record at Old Trafford.

It was an open invitation for Ferguson's side to exploit a mixture of open spaces and suicidal defending - and they accepted it with relish.

United produced football of pace, power and precision to emphasise the gulf that still exists between the champions and those who harbour hopes of challenging their domestic supremacy.

Arsenal were left to answer searching questions as they once again showed glaring vulnerability when robbed of the veteran defensive trio of Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Lee Dixon.

United even afforded themselves the luxury of relegating in-form Sheringham to the bench, and it was move that reaped a rich reward even Ferguson could only have dreamed about.

Yorke was spearhead, but Beckham and Keane provided the flourishes that made this a masterpiece from United.

Thierry Henry
Henry celebrates
It was Yorke who gave the champions the lead inside two minutes, bundling home from close range after a slick interchange with Paul Scholes.

Arsenal refused to take a backward step in their win-or-bust approach, but it was a high-risk game plan that cost them dearly.

Wenger's bold tactics briefly gave Arsenal hope when an equaliser fashioned in France saw a link between Sylvain Wiltord and Robert Pires completed in style by Henry.

United were stung into a response that simply blew Arsenal away in a golden spell of three goals in eight minutes.

Arsenal's Gilles Grimandi suffered a moment of fatal hesitation which played Yorke onside from Keane's pass, and the striker demonstrated his sudden injection of confidence by beating David Seaman with ease.

Dwight Yorke
Yorke after his second
United were on a high - and David Beckham produced a moment of sublime skill as Yorke completed his hat-trick in the 21st minute.

Beckham dribbled his way out of trouble in one corner of Old Trafford, and then delivered a perfect pass over 40 yards to send Yorke in for another clinical finish as Arsenal reeled.

Yorke turned provider four minutes later, spotting Keane's late surge into the penalty area to provide an inviting opportunity for United's inspirational captain to drill the fourth past the exposed Seaman.

It was party time inside a packed Old Trafford, and Solskjaer gratefully accepted an invitation to join in with the fifth eight minutes before half time.


Butt and Parlour battle
Nicky Butt found Solkskjaer unmarked at the near post, and he steered home an expert first time finish as Arsenal were left in total disarray.

It was too much for many Arsenal fans, who started to drift away from Old Trafford even before the first half torture had ended.

Arsenal made an interval change in an attempt to rescue respectability from a harrowing afternoon, sending on Freddie Ljungberg for Ashley Cole.

United, almost inevitably, could not keep up the pace of first half, but Jaap Stam came close with a header and Beckham tested Seaman with a powerful drive.

New England coach Sven Goran Eriksson was given a worry after 68 minutes when squad member Ray Parlour limped off with a hamstring strain and was replaced by Nelson Vivas.

As United cruised home, Ferguson replaced hat-trick hero Yorke and Keane with Sheringham and Luke Chadwick.

Ljungberg wasted a chance to give the scoreline a slight more acceptable look from Arsenal's point of view when he chipped wastefully wide with only Fabien Barthez to beat.

United rounded off the victory in style when Sheringham left Seaman helpless for the sixth in the closing second.

It was a massive statement of intent by United - and now only the formalities of the title race remain to be completed.


Man Utd: Barthez, Gary Neville, Silvestre, Brown, Stam, Beckham, Butt, Keane, Scholes, Yorke, Solskjaer. Subs: Rachubka, Chadwick, Irwin, Phil Neville, Sheringham.

Arsenal: Seaman, Luzhny, Cole, Grimandi, Stepanovs, Pires, Vieira, Parlour, Silvinho, Wiltord, Henry. Subs: Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Manninger, Vivas, Kanu.

Referee: P Durkin (Dorset)

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25 Feb 01 |  Eng Prem
Clockwatch: Man Utd 6-1 Arsenal
25 Feb 01 |  Scot Prem
Live: Celtic 1-0 Hibernian
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