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"The Battle of the Buffet," or "Pizzagate" to give it an even more ridiculous name, took place on the occasion of Ruud's redemption.
Played on Wayne Rooney's 19th birthday (a fact thrown in to make those of us in our late 30s feel old), the game saw Arsenal's 49-match winning streak coming to a spectacular end.
This game, and the return fixture at Highbury, were high points of a difficult period for Manchester United. They failed to win the league between 2003 and 2007, as first Arsenal went unbeaten and then Mourinho's astonishingly well-funded Chelsea side emerged to take the glory.
However, the clashes with Arsenal that season were highly memorable for United fans. Sir Alex's decision to play Phil Neville in central midfield in the absence of Roy Keane was a masterstroke, as Neville dominated Vieira and United controlled the game. The emerging talents of Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney also made their presence felt.
Ruud van Nistelrooy opened the scoring and celebrated like a man exorcising demons (or at least the memory of Martin Keown being mean to him). Rooney scored on the 90th minute, and it is fair to say that according to reports, Arsenal's players did not take very kindly to not being able to unveil their "50 not out" t-shirts.
The 1990/91 versions of these two sides may have had something to say about the fact that matters were apparently settled by a food fight, but they were. For many years “who hit Fergie with the pizza” served as a footballing version of “who shot JR?”
In 2011, as reported here in the Daily Mirror, Martin Keown confirmed to Radio 5 Live that it was indeed prime suspect Cesc Fabregas who landed the Margherita on his target.
I like to think that if Fabregas had joined United last summer, the players would have pelted him with pizza on his first day as part of his initiation.