Roy Keane won seven Premier League titles in his 12-year stay at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Former Arsenal nemesis Roy Keane admits the Gunners are in fact one of the few teams he would happily pay to watch.

The Manchester United legend was an integral part of the fierce rivalry between United and Arsenal which intensified during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign at Old Trafford.

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Keane insists there was ‘real hatred’ between the managers and players on both sides during their battles for the Premier League title in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

However, the former Republic of Ireland international admits he respects Arsenal for their style of football and says he would still pay to watch Arsene Wenger’s side in action.

‘There are not many teams I would pay to watch but when Arsenal are at their very best, I would pay to watch them,’ Keane told Sky Sports. ‘Even now.

Keane relished United’s fixtures against Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

‘I think they’re style of play is brilliant.’

On the rivalry between the two Premier League giants and his personal battles with the Gunners, Keane added: ‘I think there was a general hatred between the managers and the players.

‘The players…me and Patrick [Vieira], the back four of Gary [Neville], Martin Keown, these are all big characters…Ruud [van Nistelrooy]. The tension between everyone added to it.

‘The managers have a bit more respect for each other now, but at the time, there was a rivalry we don’t see in the Premier League now. It was hatred.

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger often clashed on the sidelines (Picture: Getty)

‘If we were playing Arsenal on the Saturday, any kind of knock or injury I had the Monday before the game, I’d be feeling it, my body was getting ready for battle.

‘Any tweaks or aches I’ve got, I’d start feeling them because I know I would need to be ready. Arsenal were strong and quick and you knew that it was going to be a tough game. You know you would be aching for weeks afterwards.

‘To be fair to both teams, we talk about incidents in tunnels and whatever, there was also some great football played and great goals scored. Let’s remember that.’

Arsenal 2017/18 fixtures

Stoke City (A) – Sat 19 Aug
Liverpool (A) – Sun 27 Aug
Bournemouth (H) – Sat 9 Sep
Chelsea (A) – Sun 17 Sep
West Brom (H) – Mon 25 Sep
Brighton (H) – Sun 1 Oct

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Arsenal have not won the Premier League since 2004 and Wenger will hope for a better outcome this season after finish fifth during the 2016-17 campaign.

The Gunners won their opening game against Leicester City 4-3 last weekend and travel to the Britannia to face Stoke City on Saturday.

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