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Rio Ferdinand analyses historic match against Arsenal dubbed the ‘Battle of the Buffet’

Rio Ferdinand analyses historic match against Arsenal dubbed the ‘Battle of the Buffet’

A fascinating insight from the former England and Manchester United defender.

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has provided a fascinating insight into the famous 2004 clash against Arsenal, dubbed the ‘Battle of the Buffet’. 

Arsenal arrived at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ with an unbeaten run of 49 matches, however, their match soon turned into a nightmare. 

Despite controlling the match in the early stages, they failed to find the go ahead goal. 

United were awarded a penalty in the 73rd minute when referee Mike Riley deemed Sol Campbell to have fouled Wayne Rooney, Ruud van Nistelrooy dispatched the penalty and Rooney sealed a 2-0 victory with a late goal.


After the match, things got heated in the Old Trafford tunnel, where a slice of pizza was thrown at United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, allegedly by Gunners midfielder Cesc Fabregas

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave one of the most explosive post match interviews ever. He blasted referee Riley’s performance and branded Van Nistelrooy a ‘cheat’. 

With United and Arsenal set to lock horns this Sunday, former Red Devil Ferdinand sat down and analysed that classic encounter for his YouTube channel, ‘Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE’. 

The former England international spoke about how he and his teammates managed to halt Arsenal’s famous invincible run. He also spoke about the challenges of having to defend against the likes of Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp

Ferdinand said: “Thierry Henry for me was the best player that has played in the Premier League, unreal footballer.

“He didn’t allow you to mark him, that was part of his greatness.” 


Ferdinand went on to say he found it more difficult to play against Bergkamp than Henry. 

He continued: “He was probably one of the hardest player for me mentally to play against, Dennis Bergkamp

“Because he always asks you questions in the game, do you come and mark me or do you stay in your position?” 

Ferdinand then spoke about some of the decisions during that game. 

When asked whether Rooney dived for the penalty, Ferdinand was honest, he said: “Yeah it was a dive. But at the time I ran up and was like ‘give us the penalty’.” 


The former defender was then quizzed whether he felt his team was lucky after the majority of the decisions went their way. 

Ferdinand replied: “Yeah, but we did a big thing, we beat the Invincibles but you’ve got to earn your own luck, we worked hard. 

“I agree, the referee played his role in the game for us that day.”


Ahead of this weekend’s clash, Arsenal are sitting top of the Premier League after five wins out of five. United meanwhile, have picked up some momentum after a horrible start, Erik ten Hag’s side have won three games in a row and have climbed to fifth place in the table. 

It is billing up to be another classic between two fierce rivals. 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/YouTube@Rio Ferdinand Presents FIVE

Topics: Manchester United, Arsenal, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Premier League