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There's A 10-Minute Compilation Of All Of Mike Riley's Bad Decisions In Manchester United Vs Arsenal In 2004

Josh Lawless

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There's A 10-Minute Compilation Of All Of Mike Riley's Bad Decisions In Manchester United Vs Arsenal In 2004

Featured Image Credit: Image: Twitter

Manchester United's 2-0 win over Arsenal in October 2004 remains one of the most controversy in Premier League history and was shrouded by a plethora of poor refereeing decisions.

United ended the Gunners' unprecedented 49-game unbeaten run at Old Trafford in a fixture which coined the term "Battle of the Buffet" because of the chaotic post-match scenes that followed.


In fact, the performance of referee Mike Riley, who has announced he is stepping down as head of Premier League officiating - was so bad that there's a ten minute video to show for it.

The late Jose Antonio Reyes was deliberately targeted by United players, as captain Gary Neville has revealed many years later.

But the persistent kicking of the Spaniard was largely unpunished. Somehow only the Neville brothers, Gary and Phil, were the only players who received yellow cards.

A young Wayne Rooney was typically aggressive and in the thick of it and he produced a horrendous dive for the Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty that opened the scoring.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

Riley was conned into thinking Sol Campbell had tripped up Rooney in the area when in fact there was no contact.

Rooney would then wrap up the points in the 93rd minute.

Van Nistelrooy, who wasn't on great terms with Arsenal players after previous events, avoided a red card for a shocker of a tackle on Ashley Cole. However, he later received a three-match ban for serious play.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

Rio Ferdinand could also easily have been given his marching orders for blatantly coming across Freddie Ljungberg when he was through on goal in the first half.

The footage, 17 years on, still remains unbelievable. Champions Arsenal lost their Invincibles status at the 50th game and Wenger said man in the middle Riley "Decided the game, like we know he can do at Old Trafford" and also branded Van Nistelrooy a "cheat" - which saw him fined £15,000.

It all kicked afterwards in the tunnel, with Ferguson alleged to have had a slice of pizza thrown at him in the fracas.

A young Cesc Fabregas was the perceived culprit and years later, appearing on Sky One show 'A League Of Their Own', he confirmed it was indeed him.

Topics: Arsenal, Manchester United, Premier League

Josh Lawless
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