Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looks back on some of his Man United playing days ahead of his side’s Premier League showdown with Arsenal on Super Sunday
Ahead of Super Sunday, Sky Sports sat Ole Gunnar Solskjaer down with a VHS player and some classic Arsenal vs Manchester United memories.
From that Ryan Giggs goal to seeing Arsenal win the title at Old Trafford, Solskjaer looks back on video tape at some good and bad times at United against their bitter rivals.
Solskjaer’s United go to the Emirates on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, looking to increase their gap over Arsenal to four points in the race for the Champions League spots.
“The rivalry was fantastic,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “At that period it felt like if we didn’t win the league, they would.
“I still remember how it hurt when they lifted the trophy, when they celebrated. You can almost say it’s worse than how good it feels when you win it yourselves.
“I think we had loads of respect for each other. We were certainly very humble going into those games, and knew we had to fight for every single inch, because if we stood off them, we knew they were too good for us to handle. We went into the games knowing we had to give absolutely everything every time.”
Solskjaer scores a fine left-footed goal as United beat Arsenal 2-1 at Highbury in the 1996/97 season. United went on to win the Premier League in Solskjaer’s first season at the club.
“We showed the boys this one before the FA Cup game this season. They enjoyed the hairdos and the shirts. All of them! It was a good counter-attack goal.”
Solskjaer scored the decisive goal for United in his first game at Highbury in 1997
Arsenal take step towards title – March 1998
Solskjaer is subbed on during a huge title clash at Old Trafford, but two minutes later watches on as Marc Overmars scores the winner in a 1-0 Arsenal victory. The Gunners went on to win the title.
“Painful memory? Yeah. I came on and we had to beat them to have a chance of winning the league. We lost it by one point in the end.
Marc Overmars scores the winner at Old Trafford in 1998 as Arsenal went on to claim the title
“The gaffer put me on wide right, and I could see the goal from behind. A horrible feeling. Overmars was an unbelievable left winger. You can’t really blame for anyone.
“I think so [you need the painful memories]. You learn from them. You remember them more than any.”
That Giggs goal – April 1999
Ryan Giggs’ fine solo goal in extra time gave United a 2-1 win over Arsenal in the 1999 FA Cup semi-final. Solskjaer was subbed off having played the 90 minutes at Villa Park. United went on to win the treble.
“One of the most unbelievable individual goals I’ve seen. I played the 90 minutes, and we were down to 10 men. We defended really well.”
Giggs wheels away in celebration after his famous goal in 1999
Arsenal thrashed at Old Trafford – February 2001
Solskjaer puts United 5-1 up within just 38 minutes in a 6-1 win during the 2000/01 season. United went on to win the league.
“The only goal I scored against David Seaman. A good finish, and one of those days you think at the time won’t happen again. We were on fire.”
Solskjaer celebrates his goal in United’s 6-1 win in 2001
‘Champions section’ at Old Trafford – May 2002
Sylvain Wiltord’s goal gives Arsenal a 1-0 win at Old Trafford, and in turn secures the Premier League title.
“I’d forgotten about this one; thanks for reminding me! But it’s always good to get these reminders of what football gives you, the highs and lows. They deserved to win the league to be fair.
Ahead of Super Sunday, we take a look back at some of the memorable moments between these two Premier League giants
“Did we need each other? I think so. We pushed each other.”
Highbury showdown – April 2003
In a vital title clash in the 2002/03 season, Solskjaer sets up Giggs for United’s equaliser in a 2-2 draw, before Sol Campbell is sent off for a flailing arm on Solskjaer late on. Campbell went on to miss the next three games for Arsenal, who dropped five points in those games.
“It was a big, big result, and another right wing performance from me! I did learn a few things from Beckham…
Campbell is sent off for a flailing arm on Solskjaer in 2003
“He’s unlucky there [Campbell], I know he’s not trying to elbow me, just trying to fend me off. ”
And to the present day – March 2019
United’s young team are making waves under Solskjaer – reaching the last eight of the Champions League with a fine 3-1 win at PSG on Wednesday – but what does the Norwegian make of the talent at the club?
“We don’t want to put too much pressure on those kids, but they will hopefully have a long and prosperous United career.
Solskjaer celebrates in Paris in midweek
“But we have some promising young players, [Anthony] Martial is a young boy, Paul [Pogba] is still a young boy, Jesse [Lingard], Marcus [Rashford], even Romelu [Lukaku], even though you feel like you’ve heard about him for a long time. We’ve got a great nucleus of players to build on.
“It’s up to them to become as good as they can become. It’s up to us to develop them, but it’s up to them to get their habits, get everything right, because it is a sacrifice.”