Ray Parlour reveals Dwight Yorke’s reaction to Igor Stepanovs’ nightmare against Man Utd

Dwight Yorke scored a first half hat-trick as Manchester United battered Arsenal 6-1 at Old Trafford back in February 2001
Dwight Yorke scored a first half hat-trick as Manchester United battered Arsenal 6-1 at Old Trafford back in February 2001 (Picture: Getty)

Igor Stepanovs’ infamously shambolic performance against Manchester United prompted Dwight Yorke to ask Ray Parlour where on earth Arsene Wenger had found the Latvia international.

The Gunners travelled to Old Trafford in February 2001 with only remote hopes of hauling in Sir Alex Ferguson’s runaway leaders.

Arsenal’s chances of recording a victory on the day were severely hindered by the fact that first choice central defenders Martin Keown and Tony Adams were both unavailable for selection.

Wenger was forced to field a makeshift defence which compromised of Oleg Luzhny, Giles Grimandi, Stepanovs and a young Ashley Cole. That quartet provided little by way of protection for an overwhelmed David Seaman who conceded five first half goals, three of which were scored by a rampant Yorke.

Stepanovs had made 11 appearances following his move from Skonto Riga before he faced the sternest test of his Premier League credentials and was unfortunately found badly wanting as the Gunners slumped to an embarrassing 6-1 defeat.

Arsenal collapsed to a 6-1 defeat against Manchester United in February 2001
Arsenal collapsed to a 6-1 defeat against Manchester United in February 2001 (Picture: Getty)

Recalling the demise of his former teammate, Parlour told talkSPORT: ‘He did play a few games here and there and the famous one was the game at Old Trafford where we lost 6-1 and he played centre-half.

‘To be fair he had a nightmare and I remember Dwight York saying to me ‘where did you get this centre-half from?’ and I was like ‘I’ll let you know, it’s a long story.’

‘This was half-time he’d already scored three goals we were 5-1 down at half-time. I don’t think Igor played again after that. That was his final game I think.’

In fairness to Stepanovs, although he made just one more appearance that season, he did feature in 13 matches in the following campaign as Arsenal won the league and FA Cup double and was eventually sold to Belgian club Beveren in 2003.

MORE: Ray Parlour reveals time Arsene Wenger stepped in to defend Robert Pires in Arsenal training

MORE: ‘Are you taking the p***!?’ Martin Keown reveals the time he confronted former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in dressing room

No comments