'He elbowed me off the ball' - Martin Keown reflects on fiery Leeds United showdowns vs Arsenal

TalkSPORT pundit Martin Keown has reflected on some of the fiery clashes he had against Leeds United during his playing career.

By Jason Jones
Saturday, 13th February 2021, 4:45 pm

The former England defender’s beloved Arsenal will face off against the Whites on Sunday afternoon at the Emirates, with both sides vying for a place in the top half of the Premier League.

The stakes were a little higher when the Gunners hosted the Yorkshire giants back in May 2003, however, with Leeds fighting for survival at the foot of the table, and Arsene Wenger's men still holding a faint glimmer of hope that they could catch leaders Manchester United.

A last minute Mark Viduka strike was enough to secure a dramatic 3-2 win for the Whites, and looking back on that match 18 years later, Keown was quick to reminisce about how heated encounters between the two clubs could get once upon time.

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Martin Keown. (Photo by Tim Keeton/Pool via Getty Images)

Responding to a talkSPORT listener’s claim that Viduka had “bullied” him throughout that meeting at Highbury, the 54-year-old said: “It never happened with Viduka.

"He actually got away with elbowing me off the ball.

"There were all sorts of misdemeanours. It was unfortunate, and I think in the end they drew a line under it because the games were becoming a little bit out of hand against Leeds.

"With Bowyer, as well, there were a few instances where I almost came a cropper there with the FA.

"It was held over actually so that I could play for England, and at the start of the next season I was suddenly banned.”

Keown also spoke briefly about Peter Ridsdale’s ownership of the club, and the dramatic fall from grace that Leeds suffered during the early years of the millennium.

He said: “Peter Ridsdale, of course, was part of the huge story at Leeds – the rise and fall of Leeds.

"The money that they spent, they were an outstanding team during that 2000 period under David O’Leary’s tenure. Then of course it fell away.

"They seemed to have so many players to choose from, it was almost like chaos with the players they were buying in the end.”