Martin Keown says there was genuine mutual dislike between Arsenal and Manchester United players, adding that the rivalry between Manchester City and Liverpool differs because of a “nice and healthy respect”.‘
City take on Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in a clash that many consider the Premier League title decider this season.
It has also been suggested that Man City vs Liverpool is the greatest rivalry English football has ever seen.
However, Man United and Arsenal may have something to say about it after sharing a feud at the pinnacle of English football in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Former Gunner Keown admits the level of football may be higher between Man City and Liverpool, but believes the rivalry was more bitter on a personal level when Man United and Arsenal locked horns.
Keown said of White and Jordan: “At that time we didn’t really like Manchester United players and they didn’t really like us.
“I think in this situation there is a nice and healthy respect and I think that comes from the managers. I know that Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson eventually found that respect.
“It seems to be there now with these two great managers.
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“You want this challenge, you need this rivalry to be confirmed as excellent. You need someone else who is great on your side, fighting against you, and both of those teams are exceptional.
On the Man City v Liverpool and Man United v Arsenal comparisons, Keown added: “I think it’s still new, I think there’s not quite the edge.
“I don’t think we’ve seen the disappointments yet, we have an FA Cup clash coming up and potentially a Champions League final with these two.
“We have never matched Manchester United’s success in the Champions League. We were in our infancy, too young as a team in Europe to really matter, but domestically we could really run with Manchester United and sometimes beat them.
“But it’s an incredible rivalry that we’re starting to see now, but I don’t see the harm in it yet.”
Keown later said, “These two teams almost grew together. We came out of nowhere and Manchester United had won virtually every Premier League in history by then.
Managers Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp certainly have mutual respect after exchanging compliments on frequent occasions.
However, that doesn’t mean they can’t play the weird mind games, with Keown suggesting Klopp’s pre-match ritual and the way he conducts himself during games can make him an imposing presence .
Keown added that he and his Arsenal teammates at the time would not have put up with Klopp’s antics.
On Klopp, Keown said: “I think he’s quite intimidating, he’s got that touchline.
“When he’s there strutting around, he comes out to watch the opposition warm-up and he basically says ‘I’m judging you, are you good enough? Can you beat us?
“I can’t believe no one got in his face. I can’t believe people didn’t kick the ball to him or had a bit with him. I think it could have happened when I was playing. We may have had a few jokes with him.
“I think he tries to own the touchline and I respect that. I think if you see someone like Pep, he’s seen it all, he’s not committing. He puts his energy into his team to win the game.
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