From a rum-maker to the Cobra Bomb connoisseur, the brains behind a social media platform, plus pundits and coaches galore (and one still playing!)... What happened to the Man United and Arsenal stars from the 2003 'Battle of Old Trafford'?

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The true significance of the Battle of Old Trafford on September 21, 2003 only became apparent months later.

In the immediate aftermath it was just the latest instalment of a series of no-holds-barred clashes between Manchester United and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table.

But when Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles' completed the 2003-04 season undefeated, minds were cast back to that tumultuous afternoon at Old Trafford as the closest Arsenal came to losing.

Had Ruud van Nistelrooy not clattered the crossbar with his last-minute penalty - leading to the Dutchman being jostled aggressively by several Gunners players, especially Martin Keown - Arsenal's amazing unbeaten season may not have happened.

Earlier, Patrick Vieira had been sent off for kicking out at Van Nistelrooy while already on a booking, but in the end there were no goals.

Martin Keown yells in Ruud van Nistelrooy's face after the Manchester United striker missed a late penalty in their infamous clash with Arsenal in September 2003

Martin Keown yells in Ruud van Nistelrooy's face after the Manchester United striker missed a late penalty in their infamous clash with Arsenal in September 2003

Martin Keown yells in Ruud van Nistelrooy's face after the Manchester United striker missed a late penalty in their infamous clash with Arsenal in September 2003 

The image of Keown taunting Van Nistelrooy after his miss made every newspaper back page

The image of Keown taunting Van Nistelrooy after his miss made every newspaper back page 

There was often precious little to separate Arsene Wenger's (left) Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson's (right) Manchester United in the title race around this time

There was often precious little to separate Arsene Wenger's (left) Arsenal and Sir Alex Ferguson's (right) Manchester United in the title race around this time 

As was standard in this fixture back then, the fall-out and recriminations from the drama went on for days and days as managers and players traded jibes amid high tensions post-match.

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The five things you REALLY need to know about the Battle of Old Trafford... as Arsenal get set for huge Man United trip 20 seasons on

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Arsenal's unbeaten league run ended up at an astonishing 49 games and was only ended when they lost at Old Trafford the following season - the infamous 'Battle of the Buffet' or 'Pizzagate'.

20 seasons on, Arsenal return to Manchester this Sunday seeking three precious points against a woeful United to keep alive their hopes of a first title in two decades.

Ahead of that, here's what each player who started the Battle of Old Trafford is up to now.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Tim Howard

A true baptism into English football for the American goalkeeper who'd only signed that summer. 

Howard actually saved two Arsenal spot-kicks as United won the Community Shield the previous month. 

Howard now works for NBC as a Premier League analyst, is a columnist for Mail Sport and is sporting director at second division US club Memphis 901.

Former United goalkeeper Tim Howard is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame last week at a ceremony in Texas

Former United goalkeeper Tim Howard is inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame last week at a ceremony in Texas

Gary Neville

A veteran of United vs Arsenal clashes by this time, Neville delivered the cross from which Keown fouled Diego Forlan to concede the later penalty. 

It's maybe better to ask what Neville, 49, isn't doing now. 

He's a prominent pundit for Sky Sports and ITV, front the popular Overlap YouTube show, has appeared on Dragon's Den, co-owns League Two club Salford City and has myriad business interests and investments in Manchester, including Hotel Football outside Old Trafford.

Punditry work for Sky Sports is just one of many things that keeps Gary Neville occupied

Punditry work for Sky Sports is just one of many things that keeps Gary Neville occupied 

Neville (centre) tried to act as peacemaker before Patrick Vieira (left) was sent off for tangling with Van Nistelrooy

Neville (centre) tried to act as peacemaker before Patrick Vieira (left) was sent off for tangling with Van Nistelrooy

The Frenchman was sent off for kicking out at Van Nistelrooy with 10 minutes of the game left

The Frenchman was sent off for kicking out at Van Nistelrooy with 10 minutes of the game left

Rio Ferdinand

In his second season with United at that time after becoming the most expensive British footballer in history and would relish many further battles with Arsenal and other rivals. 

Now prominent as a pundit on TNT Sports' Champions League and Premier League coverage, as well as his own YouTube show FIVE.

Mikael Silvestre 

Slotted in alongside Ferdinand at the heart of United's defence that day. 

Silvestre runs Talent Lyfe, an agency which represents young athletes in various sports. 

He also set up his own rum brand, Rhum St Barth, which uses ingredients native to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, where his father comes from.

John O'Shea 

The incredibly versatile Irishman was playing left-back that afternoon until he went off for Forlan with 14 minutes to play. 

O'Shea is filling in as the Republic of Ireland's interim manager, taking charge of the March friendlies against Belgium and Switzerland. 

He was previously assistant to Stephen Kenny and also worked with Wayne Rooney during his ill-fated spell at Birmingham City last season.

Former United defender Mikael Silvestre set up his own rum brand, Rum St Barth

Former United defender Mikael Silvestre set up his own rum brand, Rum St Barth 

John O'Shea took interim charge of the Republic of Ireland team for two March friendlies

John O'Shea took interim charge of the Republic of Ireland team for two March friendlies 

Phil Neville

The younger Neville sibling formed part of a very cautious midfield fielded by Sir Alex Ferguson that day, alongside Roy Keane and Quinton Fortune. 

Impressively, he managed not to get booked. Neville is now the coach of MLS club Portland Timbers. 

He took up that post in November last year having parted ways with Inter Miami, owned by former team-mate David Beckham. He is also a co-owner of Salford City.

Lauren (right) lashed out at Phil Neville forcing his team-mate Ashley Cole to intervene

Lauren (right) lashed out at Phil Neville forcing his team-mate Ashley Cole to intervene

The younger Neville currently works as the head coach for MLS side Portland Timbers

The younger Neville currently works as the head coach for MLS side Portland Timbers

Roy Keane

Precisely the kind of fixture Keane used to relish, not least the chance to get stuck into nemesis Patrick Vieira. 

Match programme cover featuring John O'Shea as the cover star

Match programme cover featuring John O'Shea as the cover star

This was a satisfying one, given Vieira would get sent off and he didn't get involved in the melee at the end. 

He'd later reflect: 'I had a lot of hatred for Arsenal. I can't think of any other word when I was getting ready to do battle with Arsenal, hatred was the word… But I behaved myself that day and I regret it.' 

Having dipped his toe into coaching, Keane has now established a reputation as a suitably acerbic TV pundit.

Quinton Fortune 

The South African would definitely be the name you'd forget in a trivia quiz about this game. 

Lauren kicked out at him following the penalty award, ultimately getting a retrospective four-game ban for that and other offences. 

Fortune was assistant coach at Mexican club Guadalajara last year, having previously worked with United's under-23 side.

Cristiano Ronaldo

This was only the teen's sixth outing for United and no doubt an education as Arsenal kicked him from pillar to post. 

He still had the cojones to confront Keown at the final whistle, though, which landed him an improper conduct charge and a £4,000 fine. 

Still going strong at Al-Nassr in Saudi Arabia - and for his country Portugal - aged 39 having enjoyed one of the most extraordinary careers the game has ever seen.

Over 20 years on from the Battle of Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo is still playing - and scoring

Over 20 years on from the Battle of Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo is still playing - and scoring

Ryan Giggs 

The Welshman clashed with Lauren at the end of the game and would later cop a £7,500 fine from the FA for his actions. 

United icon Giggs, 50, was manager of Wales when forced to step down in June 2022 while awaiting trial on assault charges. A verdict wasn't reached at the original trial and the CPS withdrew charges before the retrial. 

Has been on a speaking tour as he returns to public life.

Ryan Giggs and Lauren involved in some handbags as Phil Neville tries to calm things down

Ryan Giggs and Lauren involved in some handbags as Phil Neville tries to calm things down

Giggs stepped down from his role as Wales manager in 2022 ahead of his assault trial

Giggs stepped down from his role as Wales manager in 2022 ahead of his assault trial 

Giggs has been touring the after-dinner circuit this year as he slowly returns to public life

Giggs has been touring the after-dinner circuit this year as he slowly returns to public life  

Ruud van Nistelrooy

At the eye of the storm after the Vieira red card and his penalty miss, Van Nistelrooy was confronted by at least five Arsenal players, with Keown the most forceful. 

The Dutchman didn't react and was escorted away by his team-mates. He was accused by Vieira and Arsene Wenger after the match of faking it to get the Arsenal captain sent off, but the missed spot-kick was the pivotal moment. 

Now a coach, he was most recently in charge of PSV Eindhoven, resigning just before the end of last season.

United won a penalty late on but Van Nistelrooy missed, instead smashing it off the crossbar

United won a penalty late on but Van Nistelrooy missed, instead smashing it off the crossbar

The Dutcman is now a coach and was latterly in charge of PSV Eindhoven until last year

The Dutcman is now a coach and was latterly in charge of PSV Eindhoven until last year

ARSENAL

Jens Lehmann

Did everything in his power to put Van Nistelrooy off by hopping from side to side on his goalline prior to the penalty - and it worked. 

The German keeper was charged for his role in the skirmishes but this was later dropped. 

A TV pundit mainly now in Germany, Mail Sport revealed last week that Lehmann paid £30,000 for the branding rights to Arsenal's 'Invincibles' tag, catching the club unawares. Lehmann says any proceeds from its use will go to charity.

It was recently revealed that Jens Lehmann bought the trademark to the 'Invincibles' brand

It was recently revealed that Jens Lehmann bought the trademark to the 'Invincibles' brand

Lauren 

The Cameroonian defender ended up right in the thick of it, forcibly pushing Van Nistelrooy in the back at the final whistle and having a confrontation with Giggs. 

He was also charged for a kick at Fortune when Steve Bennett gave the penalty. 

Lauren can be seen on LaLiga TV's coverage of the Spanish top flight and is also a FIFA technical advisor, who enjoys a nostalgic social media post about the Invincibles.

Lauren lashes out at Phil Neville during one of many flashpoints on a stormy afternoon

Lauren lashes out at Phil Neville during one of many flashpoints on a stormy afternoon

Martin Keown

The defender's reaction to Van Nistelrooy's penalty miss was plastered across every back page the following day and became a seminal Premier League moment. 

Closest to the Dutchman when he missed, Keown leapt into the air and brought his arms down on Van Nistelrooy's back. 

For his actions, he was suspended for three matches and fined £20,000. In an interview with Mail Sport last year, Keown admitted 'there isn't a day that goes by where someone doesn't shout it at me or say something.' 

United fans also congregated outside his house in the aftermath. Keown is well-known as a TV and newspaper pundit.

Mail Sport's columnist Keown (right) gave insight into that day two decades ago to Mail Sport

Mail Sport's columnist Keown (right) gave insight into that day two decades ago to Mail Sport

Kolo Toure 

The Ivorian would be a colossus at the back for Arsenal during this momentous season, playing all but one of their league games and he would go on to win the Premier League again with Manchester City in 2012.

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Toure is now a coach but his first foray into management in 2022 didn't go well as he failed to win any of nine games in charge of Championship Wigan.

Ashley Cole

Well on his way to being one of the world's best left-backs at this points, Cole certainly hurled abuse at Van Nistelrooy and clashed with Ronaldo as they left the field, earning him a £10,000 fine. 

Last month, Cole was inducted into the Premier League Hall of Fame. He is Lee Carsley's assistant coach with England under-21, helping them win the European Championship last year. 

He was also on Rooney's coaching staff at Birmingham late last year.

Ray Parlour

'The Romford Pele' was another who relished every clash with Manchester United, with the two clubs rivals for much of his 12 years at Highbury. 

Now a pundit for TalkSPORT and other outlets, an after-dinner speaker and an entertaining presence on social media with his regular videos drinking Cobra bombs and other alcoholic concoctions.

Ray Parlour (left) and Vieira argue with referee Steve Bennett during the 2003 encounter

Ray Parlour (left) and Vieira argue with referee Steve Bennett during the 2003 encounter

Ray Parlour prepares to serve up his staple drink, the Cobra Bomb, in an Instagram video

Ray Parlour prepares to serve up his staple drink, the Cobra Bomb, in an Instagram video

Patrick Vieira 

Vieira absolutely lived for games like this - any excuse to lock horns with Roy Keane - though this particular one isn't so fondly remembered. 

The French star lost his head late on, picking up a booking for a foul on Fortune before his kick out at Van Nistelrooy, in retaliation for the United striker climbing on his back, earned a red. 

'He is a great player but his attitude… he is always looking to dive. He looks like a nice boy but on the pitch it is not always fair behaviour,' was Wenger's take on the incident. 

That did keep Vieira out of the late pyrotechnics, which may have been a good thing. 

Vieira is long-established as a coach, currently with Ligue 1 club Strasbourg. They're 13th in the table at present.

Vieira saw red for a tangle with Van Nistelrooy, sparking the heated Old Trafford finale

Vieira saw red for a tangle with Van Nistelrooy, sparking the heated Old Trafford finale 

The player makes his feelings known to Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal bench after his red

The player makes his feelings known to Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal bench after his red

The Frenchman is in charge of the Ligue 1 club Strasbourg as he continues his coaching career

The Frenchman is in charge of the Ligue 1 club Strasbourg as he continues his coaching career

Gilberto Silva

The Brazilian was like a wall between Arsenal's defence and midfield, usually proving incredibly hard to get past. He played an important role that season. 

Worked as a talking head on the BBC's 2022 World Cup coverage and remains an ambassador for the Gunners, as well as FIFA. 

He's been involved in setting up an abuse-free social media platform for fans called Striver.

Gilberto Silva tries to keep tabs on Ryan Giggs during the goalless draw at Old Trafford

Gilberto Silva tries to keep tabs on Ryan Giggs during the goalless draw at Old Trafford

Gilberto Silva has helped create a social media platform for fans free from abuse called Striver

Gilberto Silva has helped create a social media platform for fans free from abuse called Striver

Freddie Ljungberg

Battle of Old Trafford 

Barclaycard Premiership - September 21, 2003 

Manchester United: Howard; G. Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Forlan 76); Ronaldo, Keane, P. Neville, Fortune, Giggs; Van Nistelrooy.

Substitutes Not Used: Carroll; Butt, Djemba-Djemba, Fletcher.

Manager: Sir Alex Ferguson 

Booked: Keane, Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Fortune.

Arsenal: Lehmann; Lauren, Toure, Keown, Cole; Parlour, Vieira, Silva, Ljungberg; Bergkamp (Edu 82), Henry

Substitutes Not Used: Stack, Pires, Wiltord, Cygan.

Manager: Arsene Wenger 

Sent Off: Vieira (81).

Booked: Toure, Keown, Vieira.

Attendance: 67,639

Referee: Steve Bennett (Kent).

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The Swedish winger also had plenty of meaty meetings with United during nine successful years at Arsenal. 

He hit double figures for goals during the Invincibles season, memorably scoring the winner in the home north London derby with Tottenham. He also stepped in as Arsenal's interim head coach between Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta in 2019. 

Can be found interviewing football's great and good on his Unseen show. 

Appearing on Monday Night Football last year, Ljungberg admitted it's still a regret that Arsenal side didn't win the Champions League.

Dennis Bergkamp 

The Dutchman was coming towards the end of his Arsenal career by this point and had to agree a one-year deal to stay on in the summer of 2003. He scored five times during the campaign. 

Post-retirement, Bergkamp was assistant manager of his first club Ajax for six years up until 2017. 

It was recently reported that Bergkamp has joined forces with Dirk Kuyt and Henrik Larsson in an effort to buy an English club in League One or Two.

Thierry Henry 

What. A. Season. Henry's 30 Premier League goals in 37 games was a major factor in the Invincibles' glory and he netted 39 overall, the best return of his career. 

Come to think of it, the visit to Old Trafford was a rare day when Henry fired a blank. 

Freddie Ljungberg briefly found himself in the Arsenal dugout between the tenures of Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta

Freddie Ljungberg briefly found himself in the Arsenal dugout between the tenures of Unai Emery and Mikel Arteta

Dennis Bergkamp (right) was coming to the end of his time at Arsenal during the campaign

Dennis Bergkamp (right) was coming to the end of his time at Arsenal during the campaign

Thierry Henry had a rare off day in Manchester but enjoyed a sumptuous rest of the season

Thierry Henry had a rare off day in Manchester but enjoyed a sumptuous rest of the season

At the end of the season the Gunners remained unbeaten to claim the Premier League title

At the end of the season the Gunners remained unbeaten to claim the Premier League title

He won both the PFA Players' Player of the Year and the FAW Footballer of the Year gongs, plus the European Golden Boot. 

Henry is currently a pundit on CBS Sports' Champions League coverage and has appeared for Amazon Prime Video Sport on their Premier League games. 

He is also coach of the France under-21 team and will take charge of their under-23 team at the Paris Olympics this summer.

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