Arsenal 2 Manchester U 6
Arsenal 2 Manchester United 6, Highbury Stadium, English Football League Cup Fourth Round, November 28, 1990. A technically gifted and speedy winger with a powerful shot too, Lee Sharpe registered a hat-trick either side of half-time in Manchester United’s comprehensive 6-2 victory against Arsenal at Highbury, while Clayton Blackmore, Mark Hughes, and Danny Wallace all produced one goal each.
The rivalry between Arsenal and Manchester United has always been an intense affair and this encounter was no exception to the rule. Sir Alex Ferguson´s men had beaten North West rivals Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford in the previous round, while the North Londoners had managed to edge out Manchester City by a 2-1 score at Maine Road to the reach the last sixteen of the competition. In front of a boisterous 40,000 crowd at Highbury, Manchester United took an early lead through Clayton Blackmore whose blistering free-kick flew past Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman and into the bottom left-hand corner of the after just two minutes of play. Then, in the 44th minute of the clash, Danny Wallace found Mark Hughes who hammered his shot past Seaman and into the net to make it 2-0 to visiting outfit. Lee Sharpe, who had joined Manchester United from Fourth Division Torquay United for a transfer fee of £200,000 at the beginning of the 1988-89 season, eventually increased the lead for the visitors in the final minute of the first half when 19-year-old flank forward powered the ball from outside the penalty area past Seaman and into the top right-hand corner of the net.
England striker Alan Smith netted twice for Arsenal in the 49th and 68th minutes respectively, only for Sharpe to score his second goal of the evening in the 75th minute of the Rumbelows Cup tie as he headed home an accurate cross from Republic of Ireland defender Denis Irwin. Sharpe finally completed his hat-trick in the 78th minute of action before Wallace netted the sixth goal of the match with less than ten minutes remaining on the referee´s clock. In other Rumbelows Cup games, Aston Villa defeated Middlesbrough 3–2 at Villa Park, Coventry City edged out League Cup holders Nottingham Forest by a 5–4 margin at Highfield Road, Sheffield Wednesday were held to a 1–1 draw against Derby County at Hillsborough, Oxford United lost 2-1 against Chelsea at Manor Ground, Southampton beat Crystal Palace 2–0 at The Den, Leeds United trashed Queens Park Rangers 3-0 at Loftus Road, and Sheffield United suffered a 2-0 loss at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane. Arsenal Team: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Davis, Paul Merson, Anders Limpar, Michael Thomas, Perry Groves, Alan Smith. Substitute: Kevin Campbell. Manchester United Team: Les Sealey, Steve Bruce, Gary Pallister, Denis Irwin, Clayton Blackmore, Mike Phelan, Danny Wallace, Paul Ince, Brian McClair, Mark Hughes, Lee Sharpe. Substitute: Mal Donaghy.
Lee Sharpe Quickfacts
Halesowen born Lee Sharpe accumulated 36 goals duirng 263 appearances in all competitions for Manchester United during his six-year long stay at Old Trafford. The West Midlander later appeared for Leeds United, Sampdoria, Bradford City, Portsmouth, Exeter City, Grindavík, and finally Garforth Town.