• News

Legendary Rivalries: Arsene Wenger vs Sir Alex Ferguson

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images
Getty Images

Time to talk about what can be considered one of the biggest rivalries in football history: Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United vs Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

In football history, there are several rivalries that can be looked at as legendary for the thrilling stories that can be related to them, one of the biggest is the one between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

The former Manchester United manager was dominating English football and he never expected to find an opposition like the one he got from the French manager, Arsenal found Wenger in Japan and his ideas were revolutionary for the time.

Ferguson was taken by surprise as the Gunners won the double on Arsene Wenger’s first season, the challenge was issued against Sir Alex Ferguson and the Scottish manager was willing to go to any lengths necessary to get past the London squad.

Arsene Wenger came not only with new dieting methods or a whole different outlook in life, but he also brought a whole French armada with him that completely changed the way in which Arsenal played football.

That same flair that helped Les Bleus win the 1998 World Cup was the reason this squad became so competitive almost overnight, but these types of challenges were what fed Sir Alex Ferguson’s hunger for success and he never stopped until he could defeat this squad.


The rivalry lasted for a little over six very intense years that gave us some very memorable moments, Ferguson made sure that all the Manchester United players came out with the “knife between their teeth” on every match where they faced the Gunners.

The first memorable moment came in the 1998-99 season, it was the FA Cup semifinal and both squads were facing each other for supremacy.

If Arsenal won the game, there was a pretty good chance that they could finish the season with a double but United was within reach of a historic treble if they won this match as well.

The key moments of the game were two, one in which Peter Schmeichel saved a penalty from Dennis Bergkamp and the other one where Ryan Giggs scored that historic goal that changed history for Manchester United.

This was only the first of many emotional chapters between these two managers, things were only getting started and both of them reached a boiling point that took them to truly hate each other during the most competitive moments.

Even though Wenger always tried to stay away from any type of provocation, Sir Alex Ferguson was the one who won the struggle because he was an expert at it.

The French manager had no idea that he was coming into the “lion’s den” where Ferguson was the master, but Wenger was one of the few men who had the courage to challenge the Scotsman at his best.

The final chapter of this rivalry came during the 2004-05 season, it is better known as the infamous “Battle of the Buffet” and it will go down in time as one of the most talked-about incidents in Premier League history.

Arsenal was coming fresh out of that historic “Invincibles” season, when they won the Premier League without losing a single match and they even stretched this run for a good part of the next season.

It was until October when they faced Manchester United, that Arsenal finally met their match.

Sir Alex Ferguson was determined to end this run that would’ve made it to 50 if it hadn’t been for Manchester United, the Red Devils finally won this match 2-0 with goals scored by Van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney.

The incident came after the match as a fight broke out on the way to the dressing rooms and Cesc Fabregas threw a slice of pizza on Sir Alex Ferguson’s face, this infamous moment marked the end of a historic rivalry.

The next year brought Jose Mourinho to Chelsea and things changed almost overnight, suddenly Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t feel a threat from Wenger and both managers started to respect each other a lot more.

But those memories still remain, of the days when a French coach challenged the greatest manager of all time and gave him a run for his money.

What’s your greatest memory of this rivalry between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.