Arsene Wenger recalls 1999 FA Cup classic as he prepares Arsenal for Manchester United tie.


Arsene Wenger will prepare Arsenal for a "top-level" Manchester United on Monday as the clubs add another chapter to their FA Cup history.

Wenger has taken on United seven times in the competition, and the 1999 semi-final replay is regularly name-checked as one of the greatest FA Cup ties of recent years.

United won thanks to Dennis Bergkamp's penalty miss and Ryan Giggs' famous solo goal, and Sir Alex Ferguson's side went on to win the treble.

Wenger recalled that night as he faced the press ahead of Monday's quarter-final and claimed he could still remember the sound of the United players celebrating in their Villa Park dressing-room.

This season the FA Cup represents the last realistic chance of a trophy for both teams, but the Arsenal manager is not buying into recent criticism of Louis van Gaal's 2015 United vintage.

He said: "For years it was always the game of the season that decided the Premier League, at this moment it is not the case, but it is still a big game.

"They are still a strong side. You go there and I don't expect any weakness from Manchester United. They have lost just two games in the last 22, so you want to beat them you have to produce a performance.

"They won as well sometimes under Fergie without being absolutely exceptional, no manager can maintain always the same quality. It is like that today - you have to be always perfect every single day, but our job is first of all about winning - and they do.

"But let's focus on our performance, the FA Cup is about giving it all on the day. We know they have a little advantage because they play at home, at Old Trafford where they feel confident, so to compensate that we have to put more effort in and produce a really top-level performance."

Reminiscing about 1999, when United pipped defending champions Arsenal to the title, Wenger said: "I think that (Giggs) goal won them the treble because if Bergkamp scores, the game is over. It was a trauma for us in a negative way and for them in a positive way.

"Bergkamp never wanted to take a penalty again, and it put them on the road. I can still hear the shouts of that team, having won, they couldn't believe it because they were down to 10 men. They then won the title, just..."

Source: Sky Sports


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