Roy Keane brought a ‘physical and psychological battle’ but was not the main danger for Arsenal and Patrick Vieira during fierce clashes with Manchester United March 23, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit says the Roy Keane vs Patrick Vieira rivalry was more ‘a story for the newspapers’ – but that’s not to say Arsenal didn’t have an eye on the Manchester United captain.

The Gunners apparently had a bigger eye on Keane’s teammates, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, during their box office showdowns with the Red Devils during an iconic era for the Premier League.

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Keane and Vieira often came to blows when Man United played Arsenal

But the Gunners were more concerned about Scholes and Giggs

Getty

But the Gunners were more concerned about Scholes and Giggs

In the late 90s and early 00s, Arsenal and Man United were the two best teams in the land and, naturally, a fierce rivalry developed.

There were battles all over the pitch but the one in the middle of the park between Vieira and Keane stole the lion’s share of the headlines.

That rivalry arguably reached its peak in 2005, where ironically the fisticuffs happened off the pitch with the pair having to be separated in the cramped Highbury tunnel before an Arsenal vs Man United clash.

This was slightly after Petit’s time at Arsenal but the Frenchman is fully aware of the ‘physical and psychological’ battle Keane brought.

But Petit insists the quality of Giggs and Scholes was a far bigger concern for Arsenal than the brawn of Keane.

“Vieira vs Keane was a story for the newspapers to be honest, a story for the fans to make the games more important,” Petit told talkSPORT.com with Lord Ping.


Petit insists Arsenal were braced for what Keane brought to proceedings, however

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Petit insists Arsenal were braced for what Keane brought to proceedings, however

Petit says brains and skill win matches, not brawn

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Petit says brains and skill win matches, not brawn

“Manchester United were a very good team with very good players. Roy Keane was the captain and, of course, we kept an eye on him at all times, especially when he was behind you because you’d never know what would happen with him – a fight!

“But he was not the main target for us. Every time we used to play Manchester United the main targets were Scholes and Giggs. All the danger came from them all the time and they could do whatever they wanted in the midfield.

“We knew with Roy Keane that it would be a physical and psychological battle, he would bring his muscle… sometimes muscles bring you victories but, for me, quality is more important.

“For all the respect I have for Roy Keane, the main dangers were Scholes and Giggs.

“If you ask Patrick Vieira he’ll say exactly the same.”

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