Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits that he can still hear the joy and cheers of Manchester United team which beat Arsenal 2-1 in the semifinal replay match at Villa Park in 1999.
United then went onto become the FA cup champions by beating Newcastle United 2-0 in their historic treble which also included Premier League and Champions league. United were held to a goalless draw at Villa Park initially and the replay match went onto extra time with 1-1. However, the Gunners lost to Red Devils courtesy of Ryan Giggs goal in 109′ minute.
The win meant so much for Manchester United as they fought hard in the match with only 10-men where United skipper Roy Keane getting a red card. Wenger also said the win played a great role in their minds while winning the treble.
Arsene Wenger explained his emotions and experience in his own words.
“I think that goal won them the treble because if Dennis Bergkamp had scored the penalty near the end it would have been over. It was a trauma for us, but a big positive for them.
“Bergkamp never again wanted to take a penalty and I can still hear the shouts of that team, having won. They couldn’t believe it because they were down to 10 men.”
“I think that goal decided their season. They won the title on May 12 at Blackburn the night after we lost at Leeds in the last minute when Nigel Winterburn was kicked off (the pitch) and Hasselbaink scored at the far post.”
“After that they won the Champions League final in the last minute. 1999 was a miracle year for them,” he said.”
Asked about his thoughts on present Manchester United team and their FA Cup quarterfinal on Monday. He continued, “It’s too early to say they have weaknesses because they are doing well in the Premier League and I think they are still a strong side.”
“I don’t expect any weakness from Man United. I know that if we want to qualify we have to produce a strong performance as they have lost just two games in their last 22, they are not doing so bad. If you want to beat them, you have to produce performance.”
“The style issue is not so important. They won as well sometimes with [Sir Alex] Ferguson without being absolutely exceptional. No manager can maintain always the same quality.”
“Today, it feels like you always have to be perfect every single day, but our job is first of all about winning and they are doing that.”
“Let’s focus on our performance. The FA Cup is about giving it all on the day. We know they have a little advantage as 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.”
“This is not just another game. It’s the quarterfinal of the FA Cup. We fought until now to be there and now we want to stay in it to go to the semifinal.”
United will miss Jonny Evans who will serve his ban and Arsenal are expecting Szczesny to return for this crucial encounter.