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24th Apr 2018

Brilliant footage shows Sir Alex Ferguson team talk before famous Arsenal game

"Don't f***ing attempt to let him f***ing bully you."

Robert Redmond

“Don’t f***ing attempt to let him f***ing bully you.”

The rivalry between Manchester United and Arsenal from 1997 to 2005 was the best the Premier League has ever seen and is unlikely to ever be bettered. On both sides, from the managers, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson, to the captains, Patrick Vieira and Roy Keane, there was genuine animosity and the battles between them was English football at its best.

Wenger’s side were the first to launch a sustained challenge to United’s dominance. Arsenal won the double in the Frenchman’s first full season in charge and did so playing brilliant football. That instantly drove United to reach new levels. The following season, they made history by winning the treble.

United won another two league titles before Arsenal hit back, winning the double in 2002. They sealed the Premier League title with a win at Old Trafford. Once again, United struck back instantly to regain top spot, before Arsenal won the title again in 2004, going the whole Premier League season unbeaten.

Roman Abramovich, Jose Mourinho and Chelsea were partly responsible for ending the rivalry. The London club broke the duopoly after investing hundreds of millions in new players and Arsenal have yet to win the league title since. By November 2005, Keane and Vieira had both left and the rivalry between United and Arsenal was effectively over.

Arsenal’s great team got older, key players left and their replacements failed to match the impact of world-class players such as Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. United handled the transition much better and reached new levels with Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

But nothing since has come close to matching the rivalry between the Gunners and United during those years, and it was the subject of a very good documentary on Channel 5. “Fergie v Wenger: The Feud” focused on the clash between the two clubs. Players from the era gave an insight into what it was like in the heat of the battle, and there was also interesting behind the scenes footage.

One clip shows Ferguson address his players before an Arsenal match – possibly the FA Cup semi-final replay, when an extra-time Ryan Giggs goal won the bitterly-fought contest.

The Scot warns his players not to allow the physical Arsenal side to “bully” them, but also tells them that they’re the better side and that he doesn’t think Wenger’s team “have a chance” against them.

“Don’t f***ing attempt to let him f***ing bully you,” he tells the United players in a tactical meeting before the match.

“I don’t care if you do it verbally or physically, you just f***ing make sure you’re ready for him.”

“When you get the ball, transfer it into these areas here,” the former United manager continues.

“I don’t think they’ve a chance against us. I don’t think they have a chance.”

Former United players Paul Scholes, Phil Neville and Andy Cole speak about the game in the clip, and what it was like in the meeting with Ferguson.

You can watch it here: