Date: 30th January 2010 at 12:32pm
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Wayne Rooney will, in all probability, be up against Sol Campbell on Sunday as Thomas Vermaelen has suffered an injury at Villa Park that looks certain to keep him out of the game against the reigning Champions.

Though Wenger stressed how confident he was in Campbell’s ability to handle Rooney I doubt there is a single United fan who does not relish the prospect of our in-form man taking on the 35-year-old defender. And of course it will evoke wonderful memories.

That famous game on 24th October 2004 was spiteful, dirty and bone-crunching – I loved it. Yes, I did even though for long spells it seemed that nobody is even bothering with the ball, yes, not even Arsenal. And you know why I loved it?

That Arsenal team, that supposedly invincible band was quite good, I’ll admit any time. But they were also a despicable bunch of hypocrites, constantly moaning about getting kicked off the park which was rich coming from a team employing the likes of Lauren, Vieira, Parlour, Keown and yes, Campbell. They were arrogant, they were cheats, they were dirty, they were hateful.

And that’s why it felt so good to win that game, to end their famous unbeaten run, especially that it came about in such controversial circumstances and all the nasty challenges put in by both sides. Of course in the media there was little or no mention of all the dirty fouls on Ronaldo, Giggs and co. yet there was widespread sympathy for Reyes who was handled quite roughly by the Nevilles.

And there was the Rooney dive, of course, about which they’ve been complaining for a long, long time, conveniently forgetting that they wouldn’t have been unbeaten but for a risible Pires dive against Portsmouth. But that’s the kind of team they were: whining hypocrites. Seeing Rooney against Campbell will evoke memories of that afternoon’s blood and thunder amid the current watered-down rivalry – and we will relish these memories.