Tag Archives: 2003

Seasonal Stories: Portsmouth (2003-2004)

Lucky 13

In 2003-2004, Portsmouth made their Premier League debut after storming to the First Division title in the previous season. Former West Ham United manager Harry Redknapp was the man behind the revival at Fratton Park, ably supported by ex-Derby County boss Jim Smith.

Portsmouth made an incredible start, staying unbeaten in their first five matches and topping the table briefly in mid-August. A catalogue of injuries in mid-season threatened to derail the campaign but a South Coast Derby victory over Southampton in March was the catalyst for a brilliant run towards the end of the season. Pompey finished in a creditable 13th and ahead of some bigger established sides too.

Squad: Shaka Hislop, Pavel Srnicek (Left in February 2004), Harald Wapenaar, Linvoy Primus, Boris Zivkovic (Left in January 2004), Dejan Stefanovic, Hayden Foxe, Arjan de Zeeuw, Sebastien Schemmel, Richard Duffy, John Curtis, Petri Pasanen, Kevin Harper, Tim Sherwood, Nigel Quashie, Amdy Faye, Matt Taylor, Carl Robinson, Steve Stone, Richard Hughes, Gary O’Neil, Alexey Smertin, Patrik Berger, Eyal Berkovic, Vincent Pericard, Svetoslav Todorov, Deon Burton, Ivica Mornar, Lomana Lualua, Teddy Sheringham, Yakubu, Jason Roberts (Left in January 2004)

Early experience pays off

In pre-season, Portsmouth ensured that they would have some useful experience amongst their ranks. First to arrive was former Czech international Patrik Berger, whose contract had expired at Liverpool FC. Berger was also joined by Teddy Sheringham who was in a similar predicament after his second stint at Tottenham Hotspur had come to an end. Neither cost any money and Redknapp wasted no time in getting both added by the end of June.

Further experience arrived from abroad. Boris Zivkovic was another free capture transfer from the Bundesliga. He’d helped Bayer 04 Leverkusen reach the UEFA Champions League final in 2002. Also arriving before the big kick-off was Amdy Faye for an estimated £1.5 million from Auxerre and ex-Sheffield Wednesday defender Dejan Stefanovic from Vitesse Arnhem for £1.85 million. Portsmouth had done some smart business in the summer transfer window.

However, one of their talismanic figures from the previous season wouldn’t be sticking around. Despite captaining the side to their First Division title success, Paul Merson left in July, returning to the second-tier with Walsall. The main reason was to move closer to his family who were based in the Midlands. When paying tribute to his departing captain, Redknapp admitted: “He doesn’t feel he can play in the Premier now and I think he knows himself better than anybody. He said he played in the Premier League two years ago and found it difficult, so he certainly didn’t think it was going to be easier now.”

Portsmouth made a brilliant start to their maiden Premier League campaign and only their second top-flight experience in the last 45 years. They kicked off the campaign with a Saturday lunchtime kick-off at home to Aston Villa. Sheringham opened the scoring before half-time and Berger finished off a flowing team move to double the lead just after the hour mark. Gareth Barry did score a late consolation from the penalty spot but was sent off before full-time and Pompey had their first win on opening day.

The form continued in their next home match, where Sheringham truly rolled back the years. The veteran forward scored a second half hat-trick against Bolton Wanderers and the first treble of the 2003-2004 season. The 4-0 victory took Portsmouth briefly to the top of the table for 24 hours. Three away draws made it an excellent opening and one of those points gained was at Highbury. Sheringham again scoring to keep his rich vein of form going and Arsenal’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw was through a disputed penalty where Robert Pires went down under the challenge of Arjan de Zeeuw even though it looked like the Frenchman had tripped himself up. Thierry Henry converted the spot-kick and Redknapp was not amused. Nevertheless, it was a very encouraging start.

TABLE ON 15th September 2003

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 5 4 1 0 11 3 +8 13
2 Manchester United 5 4 0 1 9 2 +7 12
3 Manchester City 5 3 1 1 12 6 +6 10
4 Chelsea 4 3 1 0 10 6 +4 10
5 PORTSMOUTH 5 2 3 0 8 3 +5 9
6 Southampton 5 2 3 0 5 2 +3 9

Slipping down the table

Portsmouth’s first defeat in their Premier League history came a week later when they were beaten 2-1 by Blackburn Rovers on home soil. At Fratton Park, they were formidable and not many sides enjoyed great success on the south coast throughout the season. In fact, they lost only five home matches all season and out of the teams that struggled all campaign, only Leicester City and Everton left with all three points.

Home form saw a couple of major scalps along the way. Liverpool FC visited Fratton Park in mid-October and left with a 1-0 defeat against their name. Against his former club, Berger scored the only goal of the game after four minutes. Three weeks later, Leeds United were destroyed 6-1 in a result that saw Peter Reid lose his job as Leeds boss. The win still remains Portsmouth’s biggest margin of victory in their Premier League history. Gary O’Neil scored twice on the day and he was one of the most consistent performers in the squad all season.

It was a different story away from home with a familiar tale of no points and no goals to show for their efforts. Redknapp and his team endured pointless and goalless trips to Birmingham City, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Chelsea.

When Southampton cruised to a 3-0 victory in the first South Coast Derby match of the season just before Christmas, Portsmouth had dropped into the bottom three after a run of one win in eight games. The early season optimism had somewhat got sour. With a growing injury list, fresh faces were added to the ranks in the January transfer window.

Still no away joy

Boxing Day did bring some light relief. A second half double from Berger helped Pompey to a 2-0 home victory against an out-of-form Tottenham Hotspur side. The opening of the January window gave the experienced Portsmouth manager the opportunity to refresh and reenergise his side.

Creative midfielder Eyal Berkovic was the first addition, coming in after he’d fallen out of favour with Kevin Keegan at Manchester City. Berkovic was one of six additions in a busy window. Also arriving were Lomana Lualua on-loan from Newcastle United, defender John Curtis on a free transfer from Leicester City and Croatian international forward Ivica Mornar for £400,000 from Anderlecht.

Exiting the club was Zivkovic. The Croatian had featured 18 times in the Premier League but a public spat with Redknapp led to the defender being released. A return ticket to the Bundesliga awaited him, as he joined VfB Stuttgart who were still competing in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds.

However, there was still no away joy. Portsmouth put in one of their best away displays of the campaign at White Hart Lane in early February against Tottenham. They equalised three times on the afternoon with new signings Berkovic, Lualua and Mornar all finding the back of the net. However, Gus Poyet’s 89th minute strike gave Spurs a fortunate 4-3 victory. By 20th March, Portsmouth were in desperate trouble. Just one win in 2004 in the Premier League left them in the bottom three with 10 games to play and two points adrift of safety. Victory was paramount in their next fixture against bitter rivals Southampton.

South Coast Derby revenge

On an afternoon in mixed conditions with sunshine and hailstorms, Portsmouth simply had to win the second South Coast Derby of the season. It was only Paul Sturrock’s second match as Southampton manager and he ended up on the losing side. Steve Stone’s cross found Yakubu and the Nigerian settled a scrappy contest in the 68th minute in Pompey’s favour. The 1-0 win was the lift-off needed for a fantastic end to the season.

A week later, the away hoodoo was finally broken. Yakubu, who would finish as the club’s top scorer in the league with 16 goals, struck the decisive goal in the 82nd minute for a 2-1 win on the road at Blackburn Rovers. It was a massive victory for the travelling faithful and took Portsmouth out of the bottom three for the first time since mid-January. They wouldn’t fall into it again for the remainder of the season.

In fact, Portsmouth lost only one of their last 10 fixtures and that was on the penultimate weekend away at already relegated Leicester City. Survival had already been clinched a week earlier by a 1-1 home draw with Fulham, whilst other results condemned the Foxes and Wolverhampton Wanderers. One of the season’s main highlights was a home victory over outgoing champions Manchester United. Stone scored his only goal of the season in the 1-0 win. Out of the division’s final top 10 – only Chelsea and Charlton Athletic claimed all three points on their visits to Fratton Park.

Portsmouth and in particular, Yakubu finished the season in the grand manner at home to Middlesbrough. The forward scored four goals and Sheringham concluded his one-season stay with an 80th minute goal in the 5-1 win over Boro. Portsmouth finished in 13th and ahead of four clubs on much bigger budgets in Tottenham Hotspur, Blackburn Rovers, Manchester City and Everton.

It had been a very successful debut season in the Premier League for Portsmouth and a reminder of how good a manager Harry Redknapp was.

FINAL 2003-2004 TABLE – 11th to 16th  

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48
12 Southampton 38 12 11 15 44 45 -1 47
13 PORTSMOUTH 38 12 9 17 47 54 -7 45
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 6 19 47 57 -10 45
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 8 18 51 59 -8 44
16 Manchester City 38 9 14 15 55 54 +1 41
Advertisements

Seasonal Stories: Fulham (2003-2004)

Breaking into the top ten

Fulham’s third full Premier League campaign saw the Cottagers break into the top half of the table for the first time. Under the guidance of Chris Coleman, who was enjoying his first full season in management, the west Londoners picked up some impressive results early in the season, including a marvellous 3-1 away victory at Old Trafford in October.

Their form levelled out when top scorer and star player Louis Saha was sold to Manchester United in the January transfer window. Nevertheless, it was an impressive season for all connected with Fulham as they prepared to return to Craven Cottage for the following campaign after continuing to groundshare at Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers.

Squad: Edwin van der Sar, Mark Crossley, Moritz Volz, Zat Knight, Martin Djetou, Alain Goma, Jerome Bonnissel, Carlos Bocanegra, Ian Pearce, Adam Green, Jon Harley, Dean Leacock, Zesh Rehman, Andy Melville (Left in January 2004), Sylvain Legwinski, Sean Davis, Lee Clark, Steed Malbranque, Junichi Inamoto, Mark Pembridge, Bobby Petta, Malik Buari, Darren Pratley, Luis Boa Morte, Brian McBride, Collins John, Barry Hayles, Facundo Sava, Louis Saha (Left in January 2004), Steve Marlet (Left in August 2004)

Saha makes an impact

With Craven Cottage still being redeveloped, Fulham continued to groundshare at Loftus Road with Queens Park Rangers and had a new permanent manager to start the 2003-2004 season. After impressing in his five-game reign at the end of the previous campaign, former club captain Chris Coleman was given the chance to prove his credentials as a manager on a full-time basis.

It was a quiet summer for the club in the transfer market. The only notable arrival was Mark Crossley for £500,000 from Middlesbrough. Crossley would fill the gap as a deputy to Edwin van der Sar. It was a couple of defenders though who would make more of a mark on Coleman’s first-team plans. Frenchman Jerome Bonnissel arrived on a free transfer from Rangers and Moritz Volz joined on an initial four-month loan deal from Arsenal also this would later turn into a season-long loan arrangement with the Gunners.

Among those leaving was Maik Taylor on a season-long loan switch to Birmingham City and Republic of Ireland international Steve Finnan, who switched to Liverpool FC for around £3.5 million. Steve Marlet started the season and scored in the opening day 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough. However, he wouldn’t see August out and moved to Marseille on-loan after a largely disappointing two-season spell on these shores.

After that opening victory, Fulham got a rude awakening in their first away fixture of the season, trailing 3-0 at half-time to Everton before eventually losing 3-1. However, they enjoyed their short trip across the capital to White Hart Lane a week later. Barry Hayles scored twice and Luis Boa Morte also found the target in a 3-0 success at Tottenham Hotspur which piled the pressure on beleaguered Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle.

Louis Saha scored in the opening day victory over Middlesbrough and in September, he started to make a real impact on Fulham’s campaign. It started with a 2-2 draw away at Birmingham infront of the Sky Sports cameras with the Frenchman scoring twice. One of those goals came in the very first minute. Saha scored four goals in the month and Fulham ended September with just one defeat from their opening six games. Better was to follow with an October visit to Old Trafford.

Van der Star at Highbury

Fulham travelled to Manchester United in high spirits but their supporters went there more in hope of gaining a positive result. The team put in their best performance of the entire campaign. Skipper Lee Clark gave the Cottagers the dream start with a goal inside three minutes. Diego Forlan did equalise on the stroke of half-time but Fulham bounced back brilliantly from this setback. Marvellous goals in the second half from Steed Malbranque and Junichi Inamoto helped them record a stunning 3-1 victory. This was a real statement victory for Coleman who seemed to be finding management an enjoyable and easy task.

November began with back-to-back defeats to Liverpool FC and Charlton Athletic before Saha rediscovered his goalscoring touch after a four-game drought with two quick-fire first half goals to sink Portsmouth 2-0.

The month ended with a trip to Highbury to face unbeaten Arsenal who were on their own crest of a wave following a 5-1 midweek rout of Inter Milan at The San Siro in the UEFA Champions League. Fulham’s goal took a beating but Edwin van der Sar put in a simply heroic display. He made seven first half saves and despite 27 shots on-goal, Arsenal couldn’t find a way through. Fulham earned a 0-0 draw and ended the month in the UEFA Champions League qualifying positions. It was some achievement for a team that looked like being a relegation struggler in pre-season.

However, fresh investment was coming for the team in the January transfer window.

TABLE ON 30th November 2003

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 14 11 2 1 28 9 +19 35
2 Arsenal 14 10 4 0 28 10 +18 34
3 Manchester United 14 10 1 3 25 9 +16 31
4 FULHAM 14 6 4 4 24 18 +6 22
5 Charlton Athletic 14 6 4 4 20 17 +3 22
6 Liverpool FC 14 6 3 5 21 15 +6 21

Louis departs for Manchester United

December was a mixed month for the club with two wins and three defeats. Chelsea came to Loftus Road and left with all three points thanks to Hernan Crespo’s second half header and there was also a bad performance and result at Villa Park, going down 3-0 to an ever-improving Aston Villa side.

Saha was still banging in the goals though. Two more arrived in a 2-0 win on Boxing Day over Southampton and he now had 13 Premier League goals for the campaign. It became clear in January 2004 that Fulham were going to struggle to be able to persuade Saha to stay at the club.

Manchester United were on the search for a new striker with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer out long-term with injury and Ruud van Nistelrooy not quite displaying his devastating form he’d shown in his first two Old Trafford campaigns.

They got their man towards the end of January in a £12.8 million transfer although the way Saha left the club left a bitter taste in the mouths of some Fulham supporters. Coleman immediately started to reinvest the squad with the funds from the transfer. Brian McBride arrived from the MLS having previously auditioned in the Premier League in a loan spell with Everton in the previous campaign. Collins John also arrived on an undisclosed fee from Dutch side FC Twente whilst Volz’s loan switch from Arsenal became a permanent move having impressed greatly in the right-back role.

Regrouping for the future

Saha’s departure ultimately had a damaging effect on Fulham’s chances of a shot at European contention. The likes of Liverpool FC and Newcastle United, who had underachieved for much of the campaign, started to take command of the Champions League qualification battle and their main challengers turned out to be from the Midlands in Aston Villa and Birmingham City rather than from London in Fulham and Charlton Athletic.

Saha scored on his first return to Fulham just a month after his departure but he couldn’t help Manchester United to victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw. There was also an excellent point gained at Anfield where Van der Sar saved a penalty from Steven Gerrard in the second half.

The Dutchman had his best campaign but he was still prone to the odd costly error. In Fulham’s last home match of the season against Arsenal, he stupidly attempted to dribble around Jose Antonio Reyes, who simply stole possession from him and put the ball into an empty net to give Arsenal a 1-0 victory in their penultimate match of ‘The Invincibles’ campaign.

Fulham finished their best-ever Premier League campaign to this point with a 2-0 win on the final day away at Bolton Wanderers with McBride endearing himself to his new supporters with a brace. A 9th place finish was fair reward for an exciting campaign and just five points behind Newcastle United in fifth was a good basis for seasons to come under Coleman’s shrewd and calm management.

FINAL 2003-2004 TABLE – 6th to 11th  

POS TABLE P W D L F A GD PTS
6 Aston Villa 38 15 11 12 48 44 +4 56
7 Charlton Athletic 38 14 11 13 51 51 0 53
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 14 11 13 48 56 -8 53
9 FULHAM 38 14 10 14 52 46 +6 52
10 Birmingham City 38 12 14 12 43 48 -5 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48

Premier League Rewind: 1st-8th March 2003

Results: Newcastle United 2-1 Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers 1-0 Manchester City, Fulham 1-0 Sunderland, Middlesbrough 1-1 Everton, Southampton 1-0 West Bromwich Albion, West Ham United 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal 2-0 Charlton Athletic, Aston Villa 0-2 Birmingham City, Manchester United 2-1 Leeds United, Middlesbrough 1-0 Newcastle United, Liverpool FC 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

In early March 2003, three teams still had genuine ambitions of the Premier League title. They were reigning champions Arsenal, seven-time winners Manchester United and Sir Bobby Robson’s exciting Newcastle United side. This round of fixtures produced plenty of intrigue if slightly short on goals.

Newcastle played twice in just a few days, as they had to play a rescheduled contest away at The Riverside Stadium against Middlesbrough. First up for the Magpies though was a battle with fourth-placed Chelsea. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored a spectacular own goal to put Newcastle into the lead on 31 minutes. Frank Lampard quickly equalised but it wasn’t enough for the visitors. Hugo Viana and Olivier Bernard combined beautifully for the full-back to score a rare goal and seal a 2-1 victory for Robson’s side, which took them level on points with Manchester United and only behind Sir Alex Ferguson’s side on goal difference.

United weren’t playing on the weekend due to their League Cup final commitments against Liverpool FC which meant Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal had the opportunity to hold an eight-point lead for a few days at least. They seized the chance with a 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic, ending the Addicks’ own five-game winning sequence.

So in the midweek matches, Manchester United and Newcastle were looking to bridge the gap again. The latter missed the opportunity to put the pressure back on Arsenal, losing 1-0 to local rivals Middlesbrough. Geremi scored the only goal of the contest on 62 minutes to hand Newcastle a first league defeat of 2003. Manchester United though defeated Leeds United 2-1 to reduce the gap back to five points. Leeds put in a plucky display but were beaten by Mikael Silvestre’s 79th minute goal, inflicting a fourth defeat in five matches on the Yorkshire club. Terry Venables only took charge of one more match before deciding to part ways with Leeds after a chastening seven months in the managerial hotseat of the financially troubled side.

Chelsea’s defeat on Tyneside meant they relinquished fourth position in the table to Everton who continued to defy the critics. They drew 1-1 at Middlesbrough. Liverpool FC moved back into the top six after beating Bolton Wanderers 2-0 at Anfield, a week after they beat Manchester United by the same scoreline in the League Cup final. El-Hadji Diouf was among the scorers on a rare day where the Senegalese player justified the £11 million transfer fee that had been paid for his services in the summer.

There was a tasty Second City Derby at Villa Park. Aston Villa completely lost their discipline in the second half with their meltdown beginning with Dion Dublin’s red card for a head-butt on Robbie Savage. Joey Gudjonsson also saw red late on for a reckless two-footed challenge and Birmingham recorded a memorable league double over the Villans with goals from Stan Lazaridis and Geoff Horsfield helping the Blues to a 2-0 victory on enemy territory.

In another local affair, West Ham United claimed three much-needed points against Tottenham Hotspur. Les Ferdinand scored against the club that had allowed him to leave for Upton Park only a few weeks earlier as the Hammers won 2-0 to go level with Bolton in the table and only behind the Trotters on goal difference in a relegation battle between the pair that would go all the way to the wire.

What else happened in March 2003?

  • The US and UK begin the invasion of Iraq as Tony Blair and George W. Bush start the plan for regime change in the country. It is the second war in Iraq in 12 years.
  • ITN journalist Terry Lloyd is killed just a few days into covering the war after being caught in crossfire in Basra.
  • A global alert is issued by The World Health Organization after the SARS epidemic spreads to Vietnam and Hong Kong have originated in China.
  • The Prime Minister of Serbia, Zoran Dindic is assassinated.
  • In separate referendums, Malta and Slovenia approve joining the European Union.
  • Australia becomes the first team to win three Cricket World Cups after defeating India in the 2003 final by 125 runs.

Seasonal Records: 2003-2004

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2003-2004 Premier League campaign, as Arsenal became the first side since Preston North End in 1888 to go through an entire top-flight campaign without losing.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 26 12 0 73 26 +47 90
2 Chelsea 38 24 7 7 67 30 +37 79
3 Manchester United 38 23 6 9 64 35 +29 75
4 Liverpool FC 38 16 12 10 55 37 +18 60
5 Newcastle United 38 13 17 8 52 40 +12 56
6 Aston Villa 38 15 11 12 48 44 +4 56
7 Charlton Athletic 38 14 11 13 51 51 0 53
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 14 11 13 48 56 -8 53
9 Fulham 38 14 10 14 52 46 +6 52
10 Birmingham City 38 12 14 12 43 48 -5 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 9 16 44 52 -8 48
12 Southampton 38 12 11 15 44 45 -1 47
13 Portsmouth 38 12 9 17 47 54 -7 45
14 Tottenham Hotspur 38 13 6 19 47 57 -10 45
15 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 8 18 51 59 -8 44
16 Manchester City 38 9 14 15 55 54 +1 41
17 Everton 38 9 12 17 45 57 -12 39
18 Leicester City 38 6 15 17 48 65 -17 33
19 Leeds United 38 8 9 21 40 79 -39 33
20 Wolverhampton Wanderers 38 7 12 19 38 77 -39 33

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1012
European qualifiers Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), Middlesbrough (UEFA Cup)
Longest winning run 9 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 38 games – THE ENTIRE SEASON (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 14 games (Manchester City)
Longest losing run 6 games (Leeds United)
Highest attendance 67,758 (Manchester United vs. Southampton)
Lowest attendance 13,981 (Fulham vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Scott Parker (Charlton Athletic & Chelsea)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Tim Howard, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole, Lauren, John Terry, Patrick Vieira, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Premier League Goal of the Season Dietmar Hamann (LIVERPOOL FC vs. Portsmouth)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Teddy Sheringham Portsmouth vs. Bolton Wanderers 4-0 26th August 2003
Nicolas Anelka Manchester City vs. Aston Villa 4-1 14th September 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Leicester City vs. Manchester United 1-4 27th September 2003
Kevin Lisbie Charlton Athletic vs. Liverpool FC 3-2 28th September 2003
Steve Watson Everton vs. Leeds United 4-0 28th September 2003
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 6th December 2003
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-2 27th March 2004
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Liverpool FC 4-2 9th April 2004
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Leeds United 5-0 16th April 2004
Yakubu Portsmouth vs. Middlesbrough 5-1 15th May 2004

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Thierry Henry Arsenal 30
2 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 22
3= Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 20
3= Louis Saha Fulham & Manchester United 20
5= Mikael Forssell Birmingham City 17
5= Nicolas Anelka Manchester City 17
7= Michael Owen Liverpool FC 16
7= Juan Pablo Angel Aston Villa 16
7= Yakubu Portsmouth 16
10= Robert Pires Arsenal 14
10= James Beattie Southampton 14
10= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 14
13= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 13
13= Kevin Phillips Southampton 13
15 Les Ferdinand Leicester City 12
16= Andy Cole Blackburn Rovers 11
16= Paul Dickov Leicester City 11
16= Mark Viduka Leeds United 11
19= Frank Lampard Chelsea 10
19= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 10
19= Hernan Crespo Chelsea 10
22= Paul Scholes Manchester United 9
22= Darius Vassell Aston Villa 9
22= Youri Djorkaeff Bolton Wanderers 9
22= Luis Boa Morte Fulham 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003
Arsenal 5-0 Leeds United 16th April 2004
Chelsea 5-0 Newcastle United 9th November 2003
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-5 Chelsea 20th September 2003
Leicester City 0-5 Aston Villa 31st January 2004
Manchester City 6-2 Bolton Wanderers 18th October 2003
Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004
Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16th August 2003
Manchester City 5-1 Everton 15th May 2004
Middlesbrough 0-4 Arsenal 24th August 2003

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Manchester City 6-2 Bolton Wanderers 18th October 2003
8 Middlesbrough 5-3 Birmingham City 20th March 2004
8 Tottenham Hotspur 4-4 Leicester City 22nd February 2004
7 Portsmouth 6-1 Leeds United 8th November 2003
7 Chelsea 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 27th March 2004
7 Tottenham Hotspur 5-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 6th December 2003
7 Everton 3-4 Manchester United 7th February 2004
7 Blackburn Rovers 3-4 Bolton Wanderers 10th January 2004
7 Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Portsmouth 7th February 2004
7 Fulham 3-4 Blackburn Rovers 12th April 2004
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-3 Leicester City 25th October 2003
6 Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 15th May 2004
6 Blackburn Rovers 5-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16th August 2003
6 Manchester City 5-1 Everton 15th May 2004
6 Arsenal 4-2 Liverpool FC 9th April 2004
6 Chelsea 4-2 Tottenham Hotspur 13th September 2003
6 Newcastle United 4-2 Everton 3rd April 2004
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 Chelsea 26th December 2003
6 Charlton Athletic 2-4 Tottenham Hotspur 11th February 2004
6 Portsmouth 4-2 Manchester City 10th January 2004

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Aaron Lennon Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Leeds United 16 years, 4 months, 7 days 23rd August 2003
Ricardo Vaz Te Middlesbrough 2-0 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 6 months, 23 days 3rd April 2004
Luke Moore Newcastle United 1-1 Aston Villa 17 years, 8 months, 19 days 1st November 2003
James Milner Leeds United 0-1 Manchester United 17 years, 9 months, 14 days 18th October 2003
Wayne Rooney Arsenal 2-1 Everton 17 years, 9 months, 23 days 16th August 2003
James Morrison Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 17 years, 11 months, 20 days 15th May 2004
Steven Taylor Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 2 months, 5 days 28th March 2004
Gael Clichy Birmingham City 0-3 Arsenal 18 years, 3 months, 27 days 22nd November 2003
Scott Carson Leeds United 0-3 Middlesbrough 18 years, 4 months, 28 days 31st January 2004
Collins John Chelsea 2-1 Fulham 18 years, 5 months, 3 days 20th March 2004

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Seaman Portsmouth 4-2 Manchester City 40 years, 3 months, 22 days 10th January 2004
Denis Irwin Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 years, 6 months, 14 days 15th May 2004
Teddy Sheringham Portsmouth 5-1 Middlesbrough 38 years, 1 month, 13 days 15th May 2004
Martin Keown Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City 37 years, 9 months, 21 days 15th May 2004
Nigel Martyn Manchester City 5-1 Everton 37 years, 9 months, 4 days 15th May 2004
Les Ferdinand Leicester City 3-1 Portsmouth 37 years, 4 months, 20 days 8th May 2004
Colin Cooper Middlesbrough 3-1 Southampton 37 years, 1 month, 15 days 12th April 2004
Paul Jones Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 37 years, 27 days 15th May 2004
Paul Ince Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 6 months, 24 days 15th May 2004
Gus Poyet Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur 36 years, 6 months 15th May 2004

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1= Jens Lehmann Arsenal 15
1= Edwin van der Sar Fulham 15
3= Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 14
3= Maik Taylor Birmingham City 14
5 Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 13
5= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 13
7= Tim Howard Manchester United 12
7= Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 12
9 Shay Given Newcastle United 11
10 Dean Kiely Charlton Athletic 10

Seasonal Records: 2002-2003

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2002-2003 Premier League campaign, as Manchester United claimed their eighth Premier League title and the first club slipped out of the league despite reaching the usual magical safety mark of 40 points.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 74 34 +40 83
2 Arsenal 38 23 9 6 85 42 +43 78
3 Newcastle United 38 21 6 11 63 48 +15 69
4 Chelsea 38 19 10 9 68 38 +30 67
5 Liverpool FC 38 18 10 10 61 41 +20 64
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 16 12 10 52 43 +9 60
7 Everton 38 17 8 13 48 49 -1 59
8 Southampton 38 13 13 12 43 46 -3 52
9 Manchester City 38 15 6 17 47 54 -7 51
10 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 51 62 -11 50
11 Middlesbrough 38 13 10 15 48 44 +4 49
12 Charlton Athletic 38 14 7 17 45 56 -11 49
13 Birmingham City 38 13 9 16 41 49 -8 48
14 Fulham 38 13 9 16 41 50 -9 48
15 Leeds United 38 14 5 19 58 57 +1 47
16 Aston Villa 38 12 9 17 42 47 -5 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 38 10 14 14 41 51 -10 44
18 West Ham United 38 10 12 16 42 59 -17 42
19 West Bromwich Albion 38 6 8 24 29 65 -36 26
20 Sunderland 38 4 7 27 21 65 -44 19

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1000
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Chelsea (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Southampton (UEFA Cup), Manchester City (UEFA Cup)
Longest winning run 7 games (Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 18 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 20 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 15 games (Sunderland)
Highest attendance 67,721 (Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic)
Lowest attendance 14,017 (Fulham vs. Blackburn Rovers)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Young Player of the Year Jermaine Jenas (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Brad Friedel, Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Stephen Carr, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Kieron Dyer, Robert Pires, Paul Scholes, Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer
Manager of the Year Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United
Premier League Goal of the Season Thierry Henry (ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Michael Owen Manchester City vs. Liverpool FC 0-3 28th September 2002
James Beattie Southampton vs. Fulham 4-2 27th October 2002
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Newcastle United 5-3 23rd November 2002
Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton 4-3 12th January 2003
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. West Ham United 3-1 27th January 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Fulham 3-0 22nd March 2003
Mark Viduka Charlton Athletic vs. Leeds United 1-6 5th April 2003
Paul Scholes Newcastle United vs. Manchester United 2-6 12th April 2003
Michael Owen (4) West Bromwich Albion vs. Liverpool FC 0-6 26th April 2003
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic 4-1 3rd May 2003
Jermaine Pennant Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Robert Pires Arsenal vs. Southampton 6-1 7th May 2003
Freddie Ljungberg Sunderland vs. Arsenal 0-4 11th May 2003

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 25
2 Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
3 James Beattie Southampton 23
4 Mark Viduka Leeds United 20
5 Michael Owen Liverpool FC 19
6 Alan Shearer Newcastle United 17
7= Paul Scholes Manchester United 14
7= Robert Pires Arsenal 14
7= Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 14
7= Nicolas Anelka Manchester City 14
7= Robbie Keane Leeds United & Tottenham Hotspur 14
7= Harry Kewell Leeds United 14
13 Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 12
14= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 11
14= Tomasz Radzinski Everton 11
16= Sylvain Wiltord Arsenal 10
16= Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea 10
16= Kevin Campbell Everton 10
16= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 10
16= Dion Dublin Aston Villa 10
21= Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 9
21= Milan Baros Liverpool FC 9
21= Damien Duff Blackburn Rovers 9
21= Marc-Vivien Foe Manchester City 9
21= Massimo Maccarone Middlesbrough 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
Manchester United 4-0 Liverpool FC 5th April 2003
Birmingham City 0-4 Arsenal 12th January 2003

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Newcastle United 2-6 Manchester United 12th April 2003
8 Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 23rd November 2002
7 Arsenal 6-1 Southampton 7th May 2003
7 Charlton Athletic 1-6 Leeds United 5th April 2003
7 Arsenal 5-2 West Bromwich Albion 27th August 2002
7 Blackburn Rovers 5-2 Newcastle United 19th October 2002
7 Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 28th January 2003
7 Tottenham Hotspur 4-3 Everton 12th January 2003
7 West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 10th November 2002
7 Bolton Wanderers 4-3 Newcastle United 26th December 2002
6 West Bromwich Albion 0-6 Liverpool FC 26th April 2003
6 Manchester City 1-5 Arsenal 22nd February 2003
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Blackburn Rovers 22nd March 2003
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Tottenham Hotspur 3rd May 2003
6 Southampton 4-2 Fulham 27th October 2002
6 Bolton Wanderers 4-2 Birmingham City 1st February 2003
6 Charlton Athletic 4-2 West Ham United 22nd January 2003
6 Leeds United 2-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th November 2002
5 Chelsea 5-0 Manchester City 22nd March 2003
5 Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 3rd May 2003

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Wayne Rooney Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 16 years, 9 months, 24 days 17th August 2002
James Milner West Ham United 3-4 Leeds United 16 years, 10 months, 6 days 10th November 2002
Mat Sadler Birmingham City 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 8 months, 7 days 2nd November 2002
Danny Livesey Bolton Wanderers 2-3 Liverpool FC 17 years, 8 months, 14 days 14th September 2002
Jay McEveley Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Blackburn Rovers 17 years, 9 months, 26 days 7th December 2002
Kieran Richardson Manchester United 5-3 Newcastle United 18 years, 1 month, 2 days 23rd November 2002
Robert Huth Fulham 0-0 Chelsea 18 years, 1 month, 5 days 23rd September 2002
Andrew Davies Middlesbrough 2-5 Aston Villa 18 years, 1 month, 11 days 28th January 2003
Osei Sankofa Manchester United 4-1 Charlton Athletic 18 years, 1 month, 14 days 3rd May 2003
Jamie Slabber Tottenham Hotspur 2-3 Liverpool FC 18 years, 2 months, 13 days 16th March 2003

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Seaman Sunderland 0-4 Arsenal 39 years, 1 month, 17 days 11th May 2003
Peter Schmeichel Manchester City 0-1 Southampton 38 years, 8 months, 11 days 11th May 2003
Nigel Winterburn West Ham United 0-3 Liverpool FC 38 years, 7 months, 19 days 2nd February 2003
Gudni Bergsson Bolton Wanderers 2-1 Middlesbrough 38 years, 6 months, 9 days 11th May 2003
Laurent Blanc Everton 1-2 Manchester United 38 years, 5 months 11th May 2003
Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 0-4 Blackburn Rovers 38 years, 4 months, 19 days 11th May 2003
Gianfranco Zola Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool FC 38 years, 1 month, 24 days 11th May 2003
Martin Keown Arsenal 2-3 Leeds United 37 years, 4 months, 16 days 4th May 2003
Les Ferdinand Birmingham City 2-2 West Ham United 36 years, 9 months, 20 days 11th May 2003
John Moncur Arsenal 3-1 West Ham United 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 19th January 2003

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Brad Friedel Blackburn Rovers 15
2 Shay Given Newcastle United 14
3= Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 12
3= Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 12
5 Richard Wright Everton 11
6= Fabien Barthez Manchester United 10
6= Mark Schwarzer Middlesbrough 10
6= Paul Robinson Leeds United 10
6= Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 10
10 Antti Niemi Southampton 9

Premier League Rewind: 26th-28th September 2003

Results: Arsenal 3-2 Newcastle United, Birmingham City 2-0 Portsmouth, Bolton Wanderers 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa, Leicester City 1-4 Manchester United, Southampton 0-1 Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic 3-2 Liverpool FC, Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Fulham, Everton 4-0 Leeds United, Manchester City 0-0 Tottenham Hotspur

The week leading up to the action on 26th-28th September 2003 had been dominated by the spectacular fallout from ‘The Battle of Old Trafford.’ Following the unsavoury scenes after the 0-0 draw between Manchester United and Arsenal, eight players were charged by the Football Association and Arsenal were seen by many experts and neutrals as the public enemies for picking on Ruud van Nistelrooy.

It was time for the Gunners’ to get people drooling over their football again rather than the fighting bulldog spirit they’d shown in Manchester. They kicked off the weekend with an entertaining Friday night encounter at home to Newcastle United. The teams shared five goals and only a clumsy Jermaine Jenas handball allowed a Thierry Henry penalty to end up separating the sides. Henry scored twice in the 3-2 victory. It was game seven of Arsenal’s historic ‘The Invincibles’ season. Newcastle were yet to win in the campaign.

They were one of two sides still awaiting that winning feeling by the time September ended. The other were the Premier League rookies Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, they had a contender for the Goal of the Weekend. Alex Rae’s stunning volley gave them the lead away to Bolton Wanderers. Unfortunately for all Wolves fans, their first top-flight victory in 20 years would have to wait. Kevin Davies scored a late equaliser with five minutes left to ensure the match ended 1-1.

Van Nistelrooy showed no after-effects from being the centre of attention during the Old Trafford fracas a week earlier. The Dutchman did his talking by scoring goals and he chalked up another hat-trick in Manchester United’s routine 4-1 victory away to Leicester City. Sir Alex Ferguson’s defending champions had lost only once all campaign but were sitting in third spot only in the table. That was because Chelsea’s unbeaten start continued. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored the only goal of a narrow 1-0 success at home to Aston Villa. However, the Blues’ were fortunate to win this match. Villa striker Juan Pablo Angel spurned a couple of fantastic opportunities to deny the visitors’ the chance of a point.

The other side that were currently unbeaten in the Premier League were Birmingham City. Steve Bruce’s side were tough to breakdown and had enough on the counter-attack to hurt teams. Portsmouth were the latest victims – losing 2-0 in the Midlands. Birmingham boasted the best defensive record, conceding just twice and keeping five clean sheets  in their opening six matches.

Van Nistelrooy might have been a regular when it came to scoring hat-tricks but there were two other players who scored trebles that weekend and they certainly rank among the Premier League’s most surprising hat-trick heroes. Defender Steve Watson made the most of Leeds United’s fragile defence to score a treble in Everton’s 4-0 victory over the penniless Yorkshire side. Leeds were abject throughout and conceded 10 goals in three September matches, without scoring. It was a painful return to Goodison Park for Peter Reid.

On the same Sunday afternoon, Kevin Lisbie enjoyed the day of his life as Charlton Athletic welcomed Liverpool FC to The Valley. Lisbie scored an incredible hat-trick including a wonderful solo effort as Charlton won 3-2. It was their second successive home victory over Liverpool, who were now sitting in the unfamiliar positon of eighth spot. The one crumb of comfort for Liverpool fans was the form of Michael Owen. After a slow start to the season, Owen had now scored six goals in four matches. He struck a penalty in this defeat.

In the weekend’s other three matches, Middlesbrough claimed a surprising 1-0 victory away at Southampton. This was the Saints’ first defeat of the season. Fulham enjoyed their away trip to Ewood Park, beating Blackburn Rovers 2-0 whilst Super Sunday viewers were treated to a goalless game between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Unfortunately for Sky viewers, this was a period where Sunday 4pm matches introduced a lack of goalmouth activity. In five 4pm kick-offs between September 21st and October 26th, just two goals were scored!

There was still only six points between the top eight at the end of September but it was already clear that Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United had the three strongest squads and would be the three sides likely to scrap it out for the 2003-2004 Premier League title.

What else happened in September 2003?

  • Estonia & Latvia join the European Union following a referendum but the people of Sweden reject the chance to take the Euro currency following their own vote.
  • “Dirty Den” returns to EastEnders – 14 years after appearing to have been killed off.
  • The Bull Ring shopping centre in Birmingham is officially opened.
  • Starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Little Britain makes its first appearance on UK TV screens.
  • Andy Roddick beats Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets to win the men’s singles at the US Open; his sole Grand Slam victory.
  • Europe’s first mission to the moon is launched through SMART-1, a European Space Agency satellite.
  • Labour loses the Brent East seat in a by-election to the Liberal Democrats after 29 years in control.