·7 February 2023
·7 February 2023
The rivalry between Arsene Wenger's Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United is the stuff of footballing legend.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the two English superpowers competed fiercely for major honours.
Arsenal and United were comfortably the Premier League's two best teams, with one or the other winning the title from 1995/96 right up until 2004/05 - when Chelsea finally brought an end to the duopoly.
As well as being the finest England had to offer, there was a real element of hatred in the two-sided rivalry.
Some of the games between Arsenal and United back in the day were absolute chaos.
The 1998/99 FA Cup semi-final, the Ruud van Nistelrooy penalty miss game and Mike Riley's infamously inept display at Old Trafford to finally bring an end to the 'Invincibles' are perhaps the three standouts in that regard.
But there's one match featuring Arsenal and United that was the definition of bedlam from start to finish - one that's really slipped under the radar in recent times.
Step forward, the 2003 Community Shield.
CARDIFF - AUGUST 10: Arsenal and Manchester United players stand for the minutes silence in respect for Manchester United player Jimmy Davis who tragically died in a car crash the day before and former football player and manager with a variety of clubs Ray Harford who lost his battle against cancer before the FA Community Shield match between Arsenal and Manchester United held on August 10, 2003 at the Millennium Stadium, in Cardiff, Wales. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Manchester United winning the trophy and match 4-3 on penalties. (Photo by Phil Cole/Getty Images)
United eventually won the fixture at Cardiff's Principality Stadium on penalties after a 1-1 draw, Robert Pires missing the decisive spot kick after Thierry Henry had cancelled out Mikael Silvestre's 15th minute opener.
But to be honest, that doesn't even tell half the story. Away from the goals and final outcome was a footballing contest littered with red card-worthy tackles, kick outs and - above all - pure sporting hatred.
If the game had taken place in the present day with VAR in place, there would have been at least four red cards and that's not hyperbole whatsoever.
Arsenal substitute Francis Jeffers was the only man to be sent for an early bath after he kicked out at Phil Neville, who himself was extremely lucky to avoid a sending off.
Check out footage of all the wild challenges and heated moments from the 2003 Community Shield, which has unsurprisingly gone viral on social media...
Neville, Jeffers, Ashley Cole, Paul Scholes and Patrick Vieira were just some of the men guilty of a suspect tackle or two that hazy day in Wales.
It's quite scary how much football has changed in the space of just 20 years, isn't it? Nowadays, players can barely get away with anything physical, especially not more than once in a match!
Those were the days, eh?
View publisher imprint