Once upon a time… when Sir Alex Ferguson was still on the Manchester United bench and before Robin Van Persie turned out to be modern-day Judas for the Arsenal supporters. A rivalry game between some of England’s best teams on August 28th, 2011 that resulted in a humiliating blowout. The defending champions Manchester United hosted Robin Van Persie’s Arsenal.
Both teams have a historically bitter rivalry over the years including Man Utd’s win on October 24th, 2004 to end Arsenal’s invincible run. Regardless of the either team’s success during the ongoing season, Man Utd vs Arsenal games are always chippy.
The game initiated much like any other game with no clear dominant side. United opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute after a brilliant chipped ball from Anderson was met by 20-year-old Danny Welbeck who put it past the Arsenal keeper.
Minutes later, Robin Van Persie had the opportunity to even up the scoring from the penalty spot after Theo Walcott was taken down by Johnny Evans. The dutchman however, saw his shot being stopped by newly-signed David De Gea to keep the score 1-0. And boy would he regret that….
In the 28th minute, Ashley Young scored a world-class curler past Szczesny to put United up 2-0 with Old Traffic rumbling. I mean, just look at this beauty.
But what’s a good United victory without a goal from Rooney? In the 44th min the almost inevitable happened as Wayne Rooney gave us a world class free kick into Szczesny’s upper right corner and the polish keeper could do nothing. A minute later, Theo Walcott managed to beat De Gea from a difficult angle to give the visitors some form of hope being down 3-1 now.
However in the second half, Arsenal’s defense completely fell apart. In the 64th minute, Rooney scored yet another free kick beauty by fooling the Arsenal keeper.
With Rooney’s second goal, the floodgates opened. Nani and Ji-Sung Park got their names on the scoreboard in the ‘67 and ‘70 minutes respectively to make it a whooping 6-1 with 20 minutes to play. An inexperienced Arsenal defense was self-destructing leaving the United players with unbelieveable amount of room and miscommunications that led to massive openings in their defense. Wenger simply had no solution to stop the Old Trafford Massacre.
For some unexplainable reason, Arsenal kept feeling confident enough to go up and attack even if it meant leaving holes in the back. Their offensive persistence was rewarded when Van Persie made up for his penalty miss with a goal of his own in the 75th minute to make it a less-ugly 6-2. Sadly, for Arsenal fans, Man Utd weren’t done.
They went down to 10 men in 77th minute when Jenkinson took out Chicharito Hernandez in a counterattack. United felt no pity for the 10-men Arsenal and the scoring continued in the 87th minute as Rooney completed his hat trick with a clean-struck penalty. In stoppage time, Ashley Young made it a whooping 8 with another sensational curler past an emotionally abused Szczesny.
Ask any United fan and they’ll tell you exactly where they were when they abused Arsenal 8-2 in 2011. A time when United were still the best team in England and when the Premier League was still competitive in Europe. I still believe Rooney’s recent hair transplant gave him magistical powers that night because his performance was one for the books. That United blowout, along with Rooney’s performance, is definitely one for the books