Fergie predicts calmer clashes with Gunners

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes his side's Champions League semi-final clashes with Arsenal will not be as fast and furious as they have in previous years. The sides have endured several heated encounters in the past battling it out for the Premier League title.

Martin Keown & co infamously surrounded Ruud van Nistelrooy following a late penalty miss during the 2003/04 campaign.

While the 'pizzagate' scandal took place at Old Trafford a year later, preceding the heated exchange between captains Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira in the Highbury tunnel.

However, since Chelsea have gatecrashed the party with their millions, breaking up the duo’s dominance, the pair's clashes have tended to have been more reserved.

“For many years they were our main competitor,” said Ferguson.

"The games were high octane. They were highly charged matches. It has calmed down a bit in the last couple of years, maybe because the personalities have changed.

The influential characters of Keane and Vieira may have gone, but they have been replaced by the flair of Cesc Fabregas and Cristiano Ronaldo.

And Ferguson says the skill on show earlier in the season when Manchester United were defeated 2-1 at the Emirates means Wednesday night's clash is set to be another thrilling affair.

“The football played that day was outstanding and you would say there are goals riddled right through the tie,” he said.

“But it is still incredibly interesting and intense.”

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