After losing to Manchester United last season, thanks to a Diaby own goal, Arsene Wenger launched an attack on one United player, believed to be Darren Fletcher, by claiming he “was on the pitch only to make fouls”.

At the time, Sir Alex Ferguson believed this petulant attitude after defeat showed Wenger up.

“That’s where Arsène lets himself down,” said Fergie. “Everyone knows that Darren Fletcher is not a dirty player. It’s disappointing. I don’t think he really believes that. But sometimes it happens that way.”

With the sides set to play against each other again tomorrow, Fletcher has been asked again about Wenger’s comments.

“Things are said in the heat of the moment and I would rather not dwell on it,” said Fletcher. “I don’t think I’m a dirty player, I know I’m not a dirty player. I go to win the ball and sometimes you give away fouls doing that, but it’s not malicious. It’s all part of the British game. The referees here use a lot of common sense and they know when players are generally trying to win the ball and those going out to hurt people.”