League Cup, 28.11.90, Arsenal 2 – 6 Manchester United
Three days after losing 3-2 to Chelsea at home in the league, Manchester United took on Arsenal in the League Cup, when it was known as the Rumbelows Cup. A month earlier the players from both teams had been involved in a mass brawl which resulted in points deductions for both teams (2 points from Arsenal, 1 point from United) which set up for a great atmosphere ahead of this cup tie.
Rob Smyth described this match for The Guardian: This was the night on which Ferguson finally located United’s G-spot, when he swapped Sextonian football with sexy football to quite devastating effect. Arsenal were an outrageously good side, who would lose only once in winning the league and concede only 18 goals in 38 league games, but Ferguson dropped his captain Neil Webb, went with a 4-2-4 formation and watched United tear Arsenal asunder on the counter-attack.
Lee Sharpe, 19, grabbed the glory with a marvellously accomplished hat-trick – strangely, none of them came with his left foot – but the real facilitator was Danny Wallace. Asked to play centre-forward in what is probably the biggest tactical masterstroke of Ferguson’s career, he was as elusive as an urchin pickpocket and gave Tony Adams and Steve Bould an almighty chasing. Wallace made four, scored one and – truthfully – played like Romario. For him, alas, it was a false dawn. For United and Ferguson, it was the start of a decade of the richest entertainment.
Arsenal finished top of the table that season, more than 20 points ahead of us, but that didn’t stop us dishing them out this thrashing.