Roy Keane was allegedly assaulted by a fan inside the Emirates Stadium on Sunday as he made his way to do his post-match duties for Sky Sports.
Mail Sport understands the 52-year-old former Manchester United captain was confronted by a man at the top of the West Stand as he was waiting for a lift to take him down to the pitchside area.
The man allegedly aimed a headbutt at Keane and hit the Irishman on the chest and chin, but was prevented from inflicting serious physical damage.
Footage circulating on social media last night showed Keane’s Sky Sports colleague Micah Richards grappling with the man to restrain him, but the supporter had left the vicinity before security guards arrived.
The incident happened shortly after Alejandro Garnacho had looked to have won the contest for United in the 88th minute.
Roy Keane was allegedly assaulted by a fan inside The Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon
Footage circulating on social media shows Keane’s colleague Micah Richards (middle with bag on) grappling with a man who allegedly tried to headbutt the Irishman (far right)
Keane (second from right) and Richards (far left) carried on with their post-match punditry duties after the incident
Keane and Richards, who were working with former Arsenal player Theo Walcott, had raced back to the studio to see what had happened, with Garnacho’s goal eventually being ruled out after a VAR check.
Keane, who had a tempestuous relationship with Arsenal during his playing career, was eventually escorted down to the pitchside area where he continued broadcasting.
A Sky statement sent to Mail Sport after the match revealed that the police are now investigating the alleged assault that saw Richards attempt to defuse the situation.
‘We understand the police are investigating an alleged assault by a member of the public immediately preceding the footage circulating on social media.
‘In the footage seen, Micah Richards was acting to defuse a situation.’
London’s Met Police confirmed they were probing the incident.
‘Police are investigating following an assault that is alleged to have occurred at the Emirates Stadium during an Arsenal v Manchester United match on Sunday, 3 September,’ they said in a statement.
Sunday’s match reached boiling point before the full-time whistle, with the Emirates a cauldron of noise after an eventful 113 minutes of action.
Marcus Rashford opened the scoring for United as they went ahead against the run of play by scoring on the counter-attack against a perilous Arsenal side.
Their joy was short-lived as Arsenal replied with an equaliser just 35 seconds later and finally the rivalry between two great rivals was reignited.
Keane was working as a pundit for Sky Sports alongside ex-Arsenal player Theo Walcott (left)
Keane (left) shared a tense relationship with former Gunners captain Patrick Vieira (right) during their playing days
The Emirates was a cauldron of noise on Sunday after Declan Rice scored late-on
£105m summer arrival Declan Rice snatched a winner in the 96th minute to send the home crowd into raptures, before Gabriel Jesus added a third as United searched for a last-gasp equaliser.
Keane and Arsenal have shared a fraught relationship over the years, with the 52-year-old’s feud with former Gunners captain Patrick Vieira the main focus of a tense relationship between the north and the south.
Arsenal versus Manchester United remains one of the Premier League’s most infamous rivalries.
Between 1996 and 2004 the famous duo shared the English top-flight title as they dominated the rest of the division.
Keane was usually at the heart of the drama as he led the Red Devils out at Arsenal’s old stomping ground, Highbury, and even pre-match on Sunday described players as going out to ‘battle’.
The defining individual clash between two titans in this fixture is shared by Keane and Vieira and it all dates back to the Frenchman’s arrival on England’s shores 27 years ago after he joined from AC Milan.
Both in their prime, both captaining their teams and neither pulling punches even before they stepped out onto the pitch. They set the tone that their teams would then follow.
KEANE v VIEIRA TUNNELGATE
United travelled to Arsenal on a cold February evening in 2005, but things had reached boiling point in the tunnel.
Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira warned Gary Neville in the tunnel that he was in for trouble and Keane defended his player to the hilt.
A flurry of swear words between the two sets of players continued before Keane reached the front of the line of players and shouted at Vieira: ‘See you out there. Shouting your mouth of every week. Pretending you’re a nice guy’.
United would go on to win the match 4-2.
Keane (right) points towards Vieira (out of picture)
To this day they still share the most famous tunnel moment in English football history as Keane backed up a young Gary Neville and blasted Vieira for picking on the United full-back.
United would go on to win the affair 4-2 as referee Graham Poll attempted to keep Keane and Vieira away from one another inside the cramped pre-match space.
There were numerous other incidents with Keane retaining his status as one of football’s ‘hard-men’ to this day after overseeing a no-nonsense approach during his time as Man United captain.
The pair eventually reconciled once both had called time on their playing careers and have since worked together in punditry, but the rivalry between two of England’s biggest clubs remains.