The Welshman’s 47 appearances against the Gunners, across five different competitions, have yielded many great victories for the Reds – in games including the FA Cup (1999, 2004) and Champions League (2009) semi-finals. But it’s a measure of a true Manchester United legend when, before he can bask in such glories, he recalls the encounters where Arsenal had the upper hand – and metaphorically kicks himself.
“There’s one in there for the wrong reasons, where I missed an open goal,” Ryan told ManUtd.com, when we asked him to pick five memorable United-Arsenal matches.
“That one (FA Cup fifth round, 0-2, Old Trafford, 2003) has got to be in there. I seem to remember the disappointments more than the good games.”
When pressed for more positive recollections, Ryan picked out these four:
Arsenal 1 United 2, Villa Park, 14/04/1999
“Obviously the FA Cup semi-final replay in 1999 stands out – that was one of the great games, it really did have everything.” Everything including probably the best goal of Ryan’s career - his breathtaking solo winner as ten-men United reached the final.
Arsenal 2 United 4, Highbury, 01/02/2005
“I always enjoyed playing at Highbury and we got a few decent results down there. The 4-2 win when Sheasy (John O’Shea) chipped in our fourth goal was another great game. I also ‘scored’ but I think it was taken off me and recorded as an own-goal by Ashley Cole. I wasn’t happy about that!”