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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 September, 2003, 17:05 GMT 18:05 UK
Deadlock at Old Trafford
Man Utd 0-0 Arsenal

Vieira kicks at Van Nistelrooy - the incident which led to the Arsenal captain's dismissal
Ruud van Nistelrooy was the centre of attention as another clash between Manchester United and Arsenal finished in controversial circumstances.

The Dutch striker smacked an injury time penalty against the crossbar to spark an unsavoury reaction from the Arsenal players.

They felt Van Nistelrooy had over-reacted to get skipper Patrick Vieira dismissed by referee Steve Bennett for a second yellow card.

Van Nistelrooy was penalised for jumping into Vieira but he then recoiled as the Arsenal midfielder flicked out a foot from a prone position.

Referee Bennett - who officiated the controversial Community Shield final at Cardiff - showed Vieira a second yellow card, sparking angry scenes as a shoving match developed between both sets of players.

Van Nistelrooy and Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann were also shown yellow cards as players squared up to each other.

Key moments
13 mins: Giggs free-kick hits outside of the post
21 mins: Keane becomes first of eight yellow cards shown
77 mins: Vieira booked for foul on Fortune
80 mins: Vieira shown second yellow for kicking out at van Nistelrooy
81 mins: Van Nistelrooy also shown yellow card in angry scenes
91 mins: Van Nistelrooy misses penalty

But if Arsenal felt hard done by then, they were incensed in injury time when Bennett pointed to the penalty spot after substitute Diego Forlan went down under Martin Keown's innocuous challenge.

Van Nistelrooy's third successive penalty miss prompted more unsightly scenes as the Arsenal players gathered round the Dutchman, shoving him and gloating over his miss.

Almost forgotten among the boiling scenes at the end was a dogged performance by Arsenal who returned to the top of the Premiership.

Shorn of Sol Campbell following his father's death, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sacrificed the flair of Robert Pires and Sylvain Wiltord for more muscle after the midweek Champions League humbling by Inter Milan.

The ploy worked as Arsenal frustrated United with a solid display.

The pair of heavyweights spent the opening exchanges feeling each other out and it was United who flicked out the first jabs as fouls on Cristiano Ronaldo gave Ryan Giggs the chance to apply pressure.

Giggs teased a wicked free-kick into the danger area from 40 yards out, and as Arsenal's defence stood hypnotised, keeper Lehmann breathed a sigh of relief as the ball hit the outside of the post.

Cole's foul on Ronaldo allowed Giggs to curl the ball to the back post where Van Nistelrooy looped a header on to the roof of the net.

Keown was a towering presence in the centre of the Arsenal defence and as they continued to frustrate United in the second half.

The Gunners grew in confidence and an exquisite touch from Bergkamp almost played Vieira in on 75 minutes during a rare Arsenal raid.


Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Forlan 76), Ronaldo, Keane, Phil Neville, Fortune, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Butt, Djemba-Djemba, Fletcher.

Booked: Keane, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Fortune.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Keown, Cole, Parlour, Vieira, Silva, Ljungberg, Bergkamp (Edu 82), Henry.
Subs Not Used: Stack, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan.

Sent Off: Vieira (81).

Booked: Toure, Keown, Vieira.

Attendance: 67,639

Referee: S Bennett (Kent).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"I'm not going to criticise Arsenal's discipline"


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Television should not be a tribunal"




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