19 February 1997, Highbury
(Cole 18, Solskjaer 30)
United: Schmeichel; G Neville, Pallister, Johnson, Irwin; Poborsky (Butt, 71) (McClair, 86), Beckham, Keane, Giggs; Cole, Solskjaer.
Subs not used: Van der Gouw, Cruyff, P Neville.
On this day 15 years ago, an acclaimed Andy Cole performance helped United inflict Arsenal's first home defeat of 1996/97 and solidify top spot.
Without the suspended Eric Cantona, Sir Alex Ferguson paired Cole and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer together for the first time - with swiftly successful results.
The Reds took an early lead on 18 minutes as Cole, displaying all of his predatory instincts, latched on to Gary Neville’s pass before slipping behind Tony Adams to finish past John Lukic. Scorer than turned provider as a stunning end-to-end move culminated in a typically precise finish from Solskjaer, who gleefully doubled United's lead for half-time.
Arsenal rallied after the break and conjured hopes of a comeback thanks to Dennis Bergkamp’s late goal, but Peter Schmeichel - who played on after being on the wrong end of an ugly Ian Wright challenge - would not be beaten again.
"United were full of free-flowing football, potency and ultimately full of themselves," the Daily Express praised. "They knew they could handle Arsenal and they demonstrated it in a first half that stunned Highbury."