| Last updated
United ended the Gunners' unprecedented 49-game unbeaten run at Old Trafford but the fixture, which coined the term "Battle of the Buffet" - more on that later - was shrouded in controversy due to a slew of horrendous refereeing decisions.
In fact, the performance of referee Mike Riley, now the general manager of PGMOL - was so bad that there's a ten minute video to show for it.
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.
Arsene Wenger: "We lost our status as Invincibles against Man Utd in a game where referees shared some of the responsibility. It wasn’t deserved. When I die, I’m going to ask God where the referees are before I choose between Heaven & Hell." pic.twitter.com/bhpwslfB5m— WelBeast (@WelBeast) March 16, 2020
Wayne Rooney was typically aggressive and in the thick of it and he also dived for the Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty that opened the scoring - before wrapping up the points in the 93rd minute.
Sol Campbell dangled a leg out but didn't touch Rooney, who threw himself to the deck.
Van Nistelrooy, who wasn't the best of friends with Arsenal players after previous events, avoided a red card for a shocker of a tackle on Ashley Cole.
He later received a three-match ban for serious play.
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.
Cesc Fabregas in the Premier League:— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) January 8, 2019
And the only person who has thrown pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson 🤣🍕 pic.twitter.com/CKCGvheYmx
He recalled: "All of a sudden, I heard noises (from the tunnel) and I thought what's happening? So I go out with my slice of pizza and I saw Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Martin Keown... everyone pushing each other.
"I was like, I want to get in but I don't know how to and I threw... peeew... just threw it. Once I saw it was hitting, like, who it was hitting, which I didn't mean.
"I apologise Sir Alex, really didn't mean to do that."
Featured Image Credit: Image: Sky Sports & PA Images
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read