Goalscorers: Steve Bould 28, Kevin Campbell 39, Mark Robins 69, 84, David Phillips 72, Ruel Fox 82
Arsenal: David Seaman, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, David Hillier, John Jensen, Anders Limpar, Paul Merson (Ian Wright 73), Kevin Campbell, Alan Smith
Norwich City: Bryan Gunn, Ian Butterworth, Mark Bowen, Ian Culverhouse, Rob Newman, John Polston, Gary Megson (Ian Crook 87), David Phillips, Ruel Fox, Jeremy Goss, Chris Sutton (Mark Robins 58)
Referee: Alan Gunn, Attendance: 24,030
It was the opening weekend of the inaugural season of the FA Premier League and Arsenal were among the pre-season title favourites. The Gunners had won the First Division championship as recently as 1991 and many insiders believed George Graham’s team would be setting the pace along with reigning champions Leeds United and Manchester United.
Arsenal faced relegation favourites Norwich City at Highbury on a day where we got to see the first sightings of the Highbury mural. The North Bank terrace had been demolished that summer to be replaced by an all-seater stand and it was decided a giant mural should be put in place to hide the construction work taking place. By full-time, it would be Arsenal players feeling rather red.
Initially, everything went to the formbook and despite Ian Wright starting the game on the bench, he wasn’t needed in the first half. Arsenal took the lead after 28 minutes. Nigel Winterburn’s free-kick was glanced into the net by centre-back Steve Bould. 11 minutes later, the lead was doubled by Kevin Campbell. Picked out by Lee Dixon, Campbell found a bit of space in the penalty area and planted his effort beyond the reach of Bryan Gunn.
This was Mike Walker’s first match as Norwich manager having been promoted from involvement with the youth team in the summer and after 58 minutes, he decided to shuffle his strikeforce around and bring on Mark Robins. Robins had arrived at the club after being discarded by Manchester United. He was about to not only make an impact on this match but a huge one in the Canaries’ incredible season.
On 69 minutes, Robins had made the telling contribution by reducing Arsenal’s advantage to 2-1, powering in a header from a free-kick. Three minutes later and Walker’s side had drawn themselves onto level terms. David Seaman misjudged a cross and the experienced David Phillips capitalised to make this into an engrossing contest.
Arsenal’s nightmare was almost complete when Ruel Fox used his fantastic pace to leave Tony Adams behind, then he finished underneath Seaman to complete a quite stunning turnaround. Adams was having a very difficult afternoon and with six minutes left, his slip allowed Robins in. Spotting Seaman off his line, he lobbed him in spectacular fashion to complete a truly stunning period. Norwich had scored four goals in 15 minutes to claim all three points.
Arsenal became the cup kings in 1992-1993. They won the FA Cup and League Cup but never launched a serious title tilt and finished a low-key 10th in the final table. Norwich were the season’s surprise package, leading on Christmas Day. They were overtaken in the second half of the season by Aston Villa and Manchester United but still finished a fantastic third in the final standings.