I played in infamous Arsenal vs Manchester United clash and genius Gary Neville tactic led to furious Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira tunnel incident

Arlo Gibbons
I played in infamous Arsenal vs Manchester United clash and
genius Gary Neville tactic led to furious Roy Keane and Patrick
Vieira tunnel incident

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Think of iconic Premier League moments and Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira’s tunnel bust-up is right up there.

The pair clashed at Highbury in 2005 after something the then-Arsenal skipper had said to Manchester United’s Gary Neville.

Neville started the infamous tunnel bust-up between Keane and VieiraGetty

The argument threatened to spill over into a physical fight between captains Keane and Vieira.

The United captain was filmed on the Sky Sports cameras shouting: “Every week you, everyone thinks you’re a nice guy.”

Teammates and referee Graham Poll had to separate the fierce rivals from each other.

One person who was in the squad for that match was United’s John O’Shea and he revealed all on what happened.

“I was on the bench that night,” O’Shea told a live Off The Ball show. “But the best thing was how clever Gary Neville was just before kick-off in the dressing room. 

“He just happens to quietly mention, ‘Patrick Vieira’s pinned me up inside the tunnel, saying I’m going to get it tonight after kicking (Jose Antonio) Reyes up at Old Trafford [in the previous game between the clubs]’. 

“Next thing, everyone’s like, ‘What, what happened?’, and of course Roy was just stone silent. The brain just going into overdrive thinking okay, here we go.

“Didn’t say a word to anybody and then walked out and did what he did.”

O’Shea netted United’s fourth at Highbury that nightGetty

It certainly fired the Manchester United players up and saw them win 4-2, with O’Shea scoring the fourth to make sure of the victory.

“I just felt they were bullying Gary,” Keane reflected in his book The Second Half. “I don’t think it was intimidation; it was bullying.”

He added: “I was there to do a job. ‘Win the game – get in and get out’. But it was a bit like the build-up to a boxing match – the weigh-in, the press conferences – when people forget that there’ll actually be a fight.

At the time, United and Arsenal were England’s dominant forces and not much separated them on the pitch, with ultra competitors Keane and Vieira in their primes.

“I think football might lack that energy now, a bit; that tension,” Keane continuted. “It was great. But years later people bring up the tunnel and they don’t remember the match that came after it.”



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