Thierry Henry says Arsenal's famous rivalry with Manchester United was full-blooded - but full of respect.

The red halves of London and Manchester were the Premier League's 'Big Two' during Henry's heyday, sharing the first five titles after the Frenchman's arrival in 1999.

Sparks flew at times but Henry insists that there was mutual admiration between the Gunners and United.

You're always going to remember that face-off with Patrick [Vieira] and Roy Keane and the battles of Martin [Keown] and [Ruud] van Nistelrooy

"It was beyond the title with Arsenal and Man United," he said, speaking in a brand-new documentary, 'Arsenal Legends: Thierry Henry'.

"It was [all about] beating Man United. And I'm sure it was for them it was about beating us and then let's see about the title after.

"As players we always tried to explain to people that there was a big respect. Every Arsenal player had a lot of respect for Man United and I'm sure it was the same in the other camp.

"Every time the press was saying that Arsène said something about Ferguson and Ferguson said something about Arsène. And they were making it the big game, which it was at the time because we were competing every time to win the league.

"When the game was on, you're always going to remember that face-off with Patrick [Vieira] and Roy Keane and the battles of Martin [Keown] and [Ruud] van Nistelrooy and the rest. But in a way it was still kind of respectful.

"I would say it was like a rivalry, a big one but with a lot of respect."

Click here to open iTunes and download 'Arsenal Legends: Thierry Henry' (UK only)

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source Chris Harris 18 Dec 2013