Van Nistelrooy explains why Arsenal fans will give him a warm welcome
PSV Eindhoven boss Ruud Van Nistelrooy reckons Arsenal fans will give him a warm welcome when the sides meet in the Europa League as he's responsible for the Gunners' invincible run in 2004.
Manchester United legend Van Nistelrooy returns to North London with PSV on Thursday evening. And despite his frosty relationship with the Gunners, the Dutch tactician believes the Emirates faithful will welcome him with open arms for his contribution to their unbeaten run in the 2003/04 season.
The retired Red Devils striker is referring to his glaring penalty miss against the Gunners that sparked the infamous 'Battle of Old Trafford.' Arsenal legend Martin Keown kicked off a massive melee between the rival Premier League sides when he glared in Van Nistelrooy's face after his botched spot-kick.
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However, the remorseless Keown insists Van Nistelrooy got exactly what he deserved for getting his Gunners compatriot Patrick Vieira sent off earlier in the game. And although a number of Arsenal players were fined and banned following the brawl, they remained undefeated for the rest of the season – which Van Nistelrooy takes credit for.
He said yesterday, ahead of tonight's European tie on BT Sport: "Of course, the penalty miss, I expect a warm welcome tomorrow, I kept them invincible! Because of them I missed."
And just like the battle that took place at Old Trafford two decades ago, tonight's match between PSV and the Gunners is also high stakes. Arsenal sit top of Group A with nine points from three games, but PSV, who are second with seven points, can usurp their position if they clinch victory over Mikel Arteta's men.
Did Van Nistelrooy's penalty miss for Man United against Arsenal play a part in their Invincible season? Let us know in the comments below
The European opponents were initially set to met in September, but the match was postponed as it coincided with the late Queen's death. And PSV will have their work cut out as the Gunners have won all five of their games in October in all competitions.
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