Both teams entered with their familiar styles. Arsenal came out with a 4-4-2 formation and operated the game with high speed pitches, while Man United with a 4-4-1-1 scheme took advantage of aerial disputes. Gunners had a tendency to put pressure of the game on the opponent, while Man United actively broke out of that. Antonio Reyes was knocked down by two Neville brothers, and goal keeper Roy Caroll blocked goals from Henry and Bergkamp.
However, the turning point in this match came from two other names: referee Mike Riley and rookie Wayne Rooney. Before the Match of Great Britain, referee Mike Riley was the one who was carefully selected for his tough and strict decisions. In six previous matches, the man had drawn … five red cards, and it was a clear warning to the hot heads from both sides. However in the match at Old Trafford, referee Riley was too “nice” with the bad situation on the home team. Gary Neville took the ball from Reyes from behind, Rio Ferdinand fouled Ljungberg in front of Caroll, and Van Nistelrooy even kicked into Ashley Cole’s boot. All were unbelievably overlooked.
And the culprit for the mistakes of referee Riley was the decision to blow the penalty in the Wayne Rooney situation in penalty area. The slow rotation showed that Sol Campbell had almost no significant impact on Rooney, but the Wazza’s mischief was enough to overtake Riley.Pha’s 73rd-minute ball was the turning point of the game, We witness the sweet revenge of Ruud Van Nistelrooy.
“When the referee pointed the penalties, I thought, Oh my God, here it is I will never refuse that penalty, because it shows my true ability.” Gol recalled.
Not a strong shot like it was a year ago, but a perfect fit in the right corner. The stands bursted into joy, and Van Nistelrooy was seen enjoying the excitement on the border. The moment Van Gol slipped on the grass, raised his face to the sky and made a determined scream, it was time to shake off the gloomy obsession that had lasted for a year.
The press spoke a lot about Nistelrooy’s goal, but they would have to talk more about Wayne Rooney. On the 18th birthday, the rookie of the Reds had a great game. After bringing home the controversial penalty for the home team, No.8 was the one who hit the last blow in the deciding minutes. An easy pass to Alan Smith’s pass, a first Premier League goal in a new shirt, and Rooney has officially ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run.