Tag Archives: Arsenal

Iconic Moments: Le Tissier has the final say at The Dell (May 2001)

In May 2001, Southampton were about to bid farewell to The Dell; the ground they had played their football at for over 100 years. Their new state-of-the-art stadium at St Mary’s was ready for use at the start of the 2001-2002 campaign.

Their final match at the historic, tight ground would be against Arsenal and fittingly, the final say had to go to the player Saints fans called ‘Le God.’

Over the years, Matt Le Tissier had scored a glut of sensational goals. A series of special free-kicks, a long-distance stunning away strike at Blackburn Rovers and a fabulous individual solo effort at home to Newcastle United in October 1993 were among some of the best. By the time the 2001 season ended, injuries meant his role was now restricted to limited substitute appearances. He came on in the 74th minute to a rapturous reception and he wasn’t going to leave it at that.

With the scoreline at 2-2 in the closing stages, James Beattie won the ball in the air and when Martin Keown failed to clear, the ball sat up perfectly for Le Tissier. He struck a beautiful left-foot shot on the half-volley and it flew past Alex Manninger.

The ground erupted in noise and ecstasy as he was mobbed by his teammates. Afterwards, he said: “It’s very special to score the last goal and I couldn’t have imagined a better ending. But I don’t see why I can’t score the first goal at the new stadium as well,”

Unfortunately, he would never score another goal in professional football and retired in 2002 but what a way to finish football at The Dell for Southampton’s greatest player.

 

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Premier League Rewind: 18th-19th August 2001

Results: Charlton Athletic 1-2 Everton, Derby County 2-1 Blackburn Rovers, Leeds United 2-0 Southampton, Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers, Liverpool FC 2-1 West Ham United, Middlesbrough 0-4 Arsenal, Sunderland 1-0 Ipswich Town, Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Aston Villa, Chelsea 1-1 Newcastle United, Manchester United 3-2 Fulham

The opening weekend of the 2001-2002 Premier League season saw 28 goals in its first weekend with a new title sponsor. Barclaycard had taken over sponsorship rights over the summer from Carling.

Fulham were welcomed into the Premier League family and they had a daunting first fixture too against reigning Premier League champions Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson was looking to achieve four titles in a row in what at the time we thought was going to be his final campaign in the dugout at Old Trafford.

They were pushed all the way by the newcomers, with Louis Saha making an immediate impression. The Frenchman scored twice as Fulham led twice but their best efforts were cancelled out by United’s new £19 million striker. Ruud van Nistelrooy helped himself to a debut double and the home side came away with all three points in a nervy 3-2 victory.

Unlike Fulham, Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers did boast previous Premier League experience. They both returned to the top-flight on this weekend, with mixed fortunes. Blackburn lost 2-1 at Derby County, as Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a trademark free-kick on his return to English football.

On the other hand, Bolton had a day to savour at Filbert Street, crushing Leicester City 5-0. The outstanding Per Frandsen scored two free-kicks and Kevin Nolan also scored twice as the pressure cranked up on Leicester boss Peter Taylor.

There was a bad-tempered match on Teeside as Arsenal travelled to Middlesbrough. Steve McClaren’s first game as a Premier League boss ended in a 4-0 home defeat as Arsenal began their extraordinary run of scoring in every single league match in the season. Both Ugo Ehiogu and Ray Parlour were sent off with two late goals by Dennis Bergkamp making the scoreline look more flattering than how the actual game developed.

Liverpool FC had Michael Owen to thank once again. Owen continued where he left off from the previous season in his dream year which saw him finish as the European Footballer of the Year. He scored twice as the Reds defeated West Ham United 2-1 at Anfield. Lastly, Chelsea and Newcastle United shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. This match was more notable as it was the first game in the UK that was made available via a pay-per-view subscription model. Premiership Plus would be around on the Sky platform for the next five seasons.

What else happened in August 2001?

  • Former royal butler Paul Burrell is charged with theft of items that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales. The prosecution collapses three months later.
  • A plane crash in the Bahamas claims the life of American R&B performer Aaliyah and eight members of her record company. She was just 22-years-old.
  • Law goes into effect in Germany legalizing same-sex registered partnerships.
  • Whitney Houston signs the largest contract in music history with Arista Records, a six-album deal worth over $100 million.
  • Michael Schumacher wins the FIA Formula One World Championship with victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest. It is the German’s fourth world title.
  • The BBC introduces a fourth weekly episode of EastEnders, to be broadcast at 8pm every Friday night.

Shock Results: Arsenal 2-3 West Bromwich Albion (September 2010)

Goalscorers: Peter Odemwingie 50, Gonzalo Jara 52, Jerome Thomas 73, Samir Nasri 75, 90

Teams:

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, Laurent Koscielny (Carlos Vela 66), Sebastien Squillaci, Bacary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue (Jack Wilshere 56), Abou Diaby (Tomas Rosicky 56), Alex Song, Samir Nasri, Andrey Arshavin, Marouane Chamakh

West Bromwich Albion: Scott Carson, Pablo Ibanez, Gonzalo Jara, Jonas Olsson, Nicky Shorey, Youssouf Mulumbu, Paul Scharner (Steven Reid 71), Chris Brunt, James Morrison (Graham Dorrans 78), Jerome Thomas (Somen Tchoyi 83), Peter Odemwingie

Referee: Michael Oliver, Attendance: 60,025

West Bromwich Albion arrived at The Emirates Stadium in September 2010 on a real high. They had just beaten their local rivals Birmingham City in the Premier League and dumped big-spending Manchester City out of the League Cup in midweek. Nevertheless, their chances of overcoming Arsenal were seen as quite low. 19 top-flight matches had passed since they’d won away from The Hawthorns.

Arsenal were missing the injured Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott but started strongly and it took some desperate clearances to stop West Brom falling behind very early on. Russian playmaker Andrey Arshavin hit the post and the main forward, Marouane Chamakh, headed narrowly wide from a Bacary Sagna cross. However, Roberto Di Matteo’s side had taken some lessons from Sunderland having frustrated the Gunners a week earlier. Their high pressing style and ability to close down space meant Arsenal’s most influential players weren’t able to get the time and space they normally would to dictate the tempo of the match. Nine minutes before half-time, Albion had a golden opportunity to take the lead.

Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia charged off his goal-line and chopped down the Nigerian forward Peter Odemwingie. It was a poorly-timed challenge and Michael Oliver correctly awarded a spot-kick. Up stepped the captain of the club, Chris Brunt. However, his penalty was weak, not fully in the corner and Almunia guessed right to redeem himself for giving away the opportunity in the first place.

It was 0-0 at half-time but the visitors, who might have felt they’d squandered their best chance, would get a catalogue of charitable moments in the second half which was clearly unexpected. Five minutes into the second half, former Arsenal player Jerome Thomas escaped Sagna on the by-line and pulled the ball back for Odemwingie to finish smartly. It was his third goal in just five matches for the club.

Two minutes later, it was 2-0. Brunt’s back heel underneath Gael Clichy’s legs played Gonzalo Jara through. The full-back tried his luck and it somehow beat Almunia who made a feeble attempt to save the shot at his near post. The game was as good as over after 73 minutes. Brunt pounced on some hesitant goalkeeping from Almunia, squared the ball across the box and Thomas finished into an empty net.

Samir Nasri did pull two goals back late on but the damage had been done and West Bromwich Albion held on for a deserved victory. This was the highlight of Di Matteo’s West Brom reign. He was sacked in February 2011 after a run of 13 defeats in 18 games but under the guidance of Roy Hodgson, the club survived comfortably in 11th position.

Iconic Moments: A devastating LFC start (February 2014)

Arsenal travelled to Anfield in February 2014 looking to cement their place as the title favourites. Liverpool FC were fighting for a top-four finish but still harboured an outside shot of a title challenge. After all, they had been top on Christmas Day. However, a 1-1 draw a week earlier away at struggling West Bromwich Albion had seen the Reds slip further behind the top three of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea.

They needed to make up for the dropped points at The Hawthorns and they did so in the most spectacular fashion with one of the most devastating spells ever seen in Premier League football. Less than a minute had been played, when Arsenal failed to deal with an early Steven Gerrard free-kick and Martin Skrtel headed the ball past Wojciech Szczesny.

Nine minutes later, the same duo combined, this time from a corner with Skrtel guiding a brilliant header into the net from distance despite Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best efforts to keep the ball out. Liverpool ran riot and had further opportunities to extend their lead. Daniel Sturridge missed a great chance and Luis Suarez smashed a strike against the post as Arsenal wilted under the intense pressure.

Goal number three arrived in the 16th minute. Raheem Sterling finished from close-range, guiding in Suarez’s cross. Then, four minutes later – Philippe Coutinho robbed a woeful Mesut Ozil of possession before playing the perfect pass for Sturridge to add his name onto the scoresheet. It was simply breathtaking stuff. Four goals in the first 20 minutes that made a mockery of Arsenal’s title challenge.

Sterling added a fifth goal in the second half and the final scoreline of 5-1 didn’t flatter Liverpool. They closed the gap on Arsenal to five points and would begin an 11-match winning run that would take them within an ace of the title. It was one of those moments which get the purists so excited about ‘The Beautiful Game.’

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

Premier League Files: Emmanuel Petit

Premier League Career: Arsenal (1997-2000), Chelsea (2001-2004)

Arsenal’s first Premier League title success in 1997-1998 was built around a strong defensive core unit. Whilst Arsene Wenger might have been slightly fortunate to inherit the famous Arsenal defence of Seaman, Bould, Adams, Dixon, Winterburn and Keown, his signings of Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit was crucial in helping the Gunners get the better of Manchester United.

Some of Petit’s game wasn’t pretty. He would often break play up, foul players to stop counter-attacks and ensure referees got a hard time from him too. Nevertheless, he was still an excellent player whose partnership with Vieira remains one of the best central midfield combinations in Premier League history. He also was part of the French squad that won back-to-back major international competitions, scoring the third goal in the 1998 World Cup final.

Petit’s connections with Arsene Wenger went back before their link-up at Arsenal. He was signed by Wenger when just 18. Arsene was the manager of AS Monaco at the time and he would spend nine years in the Principality, appearing 222 times, scoring four goals. During his time with Monaco, he captained them to the French league title in 1997 and also played in the 1992 European Cup Winners’ Cup final when Monaco were beaten by German side SV Werder Bremen.

It was Jean Tigana who was manager when Petit won the league with Monaco and it became clear that he would move on to pastures new in the summer of 1997. Scottish champions Rangers were interested in signing him but the lure of working for Wenger again was simply too hard for Petit for ignore. He joined Arsenal for £2.5 million and Wenger immediately switched him from a box-to-box to defensive-minded player. It was a shrewd move.

Despite being red-carded in a goalless draw with Aston Villa in October 1997 for shoving referee Paul Durkin in an unsportsmanlike manner, Petit was one of Arsenal’s heroes of the season. He settled in very quickly into his new surroundings and his partnership with Vieira was a real plus point for all supporters. As the season wore on, he got stronger and stronger as Wenger’s team erased an 11-point margin in the New Year to be crowned champions at the beginning of May. Petit helped Arsenal on their way with a vital home winner from outside the area against Derby County a few days before the title crowning.

1998 was a golden year for Petit. Not only did he win the Premier League title, he also won the FA Cup and then, he played a significant contribution to France’s success on home soil in the World Cup finals. Emmanuel scored a winning goal in the group stages against Denmark, before starting and finishing a swift counter-attack in the final moments of the rather one-sided final in the Stade de France against Brazil. It had been a memorable 12 months for the Frenchman and he showed his caring side later that year when he was fortunate enough to win £17,000 worth of francs on a fruit machine in a Monte Carlo hotel and gave it all to a local charity. Later in 1998, he even played himself as a special guest in the Christmas episode of ITV police drama “The Bill,” visiting parents of a young girl who was recovering from injuries in hospital with flowers and a match ball signed by the team.

No more trophies followed at Arsenal but Petit added another six league goals to his tally, including another cracking goal against Derby County, this time in a 2-1 win at Pride Park in August 1999. He also made the PFA Team of the Year in 1998-1999. However, he moved to Barcelona in the summer of 2000 alongside his club teammate Marc Overmars in a £7 million transfer. That was after helping the French to victory at EURO 2000. His time in Spain was disappointing, as he suffered a number of frustrating injuries and he often played as a makeshift centre-back, something ‘Manu’ was never comfortable with.

After just one season with the Catalans, he returned to English football and London in the summer of 2001, joining Chelsea for £7.5 million who beat Tottenham Hotspur to his services. Petit played 55 times in the Premier League for the Blues. His best time with the club was the 2002-2003 season where he and Frank Lampard were among the core of a settled squad that finished in the top four and secured Champions League football just before Roman Abramovich came in to buy the club. There was also a rare goal away at of all places, Highbury in January 2003 although this did come in a losing cause.

The 2003-2004 campaign was one of immense disappointment for Petit. He was restricted to just four Premier League appearances all term due to a long-standing knee injury. His final appearance in Chelsea colours came in February 2004 in a 3-2 away win at Blackburn Rovers, where he set-up a goal for Lampard in the first half. He was released at the end of the season.

After turning down a summer approach from Bolton Wanderers and realising he wouldn’t return to his peak fitness levels, Petit announced his retirement from the game in January 2005, with the knee problem that was similar to the ones that ended the playing careers of Glenn Hoddle and Marco van Basten. He often appears today as an analyst on French television and is a brand ambassador for online trading broker UFX.com.

When Petit made the decision to retire, Wenger said: “He was fantastic. I feel his home is at Arsenal Football Club. We were lucky at Arsenal to have Petit at the peak of his career. He was a tremendous player.”

Most Arsenal supporters would agree with that.

Memorable Matches: Manchester City 4-2 Arsenal (September 2009)

Goalscorers: Micah Richards 20, Robin van Persie 62, Craig Bellamy 74, Emmanuel Adebayor 80, Shaun Wright-Phillips 84, Tomas Rosicky 88

Teams:

Manchester City: Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Toure, Micah Richards, Gareth Barry, Stephen Ireland (Martin Petrov 73), Nigel de Jong, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy

Arsenal: Manuel Almunia, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Bacary Sagna (Emmanuel Eboue 77), Thomas Vermaelen, Abou Diaby, Alex Song (Eduardo 77), Denilson (Tomas Rosicky 52), Cesc Fabregas, Niklas Bendtner, Robin van Persie

Referee: Mark Clattenburg, Attendance: 47,339

Big-spending Manchester City had made a 100% start to the 2009-2010 season, winning matches against Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Portsmouth. This was their first genuine test though against an established member of the ‘big 4’ as Arsenal visited Eastlands in September 2009.

Arsenal had been beaten in Manchester just before the international break by United at Old Trafford and their goalscorer that day, Andrey Arshavin was out of this match with a groin injury. City had two former Arsenal players in their line-up in Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor. For the latter, it turned out to be a very dramatic afternoon against his former employers.

After William Gallas spurned a great early opportunity, City took the lead after 20 minutes. Gareth Barry guided in a free-kick which was met by a terrific leap from Micah Richards. His header came off the post and went into the net via an unfortunate deflection off Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

After a high-tempo first half, the frenetic pace continued in the second half. Arsenal stepped up their levels in the opening 15 minutes with Shay Given having to be at his best to deny a long-range effort by Thomas Vermaelen. Eventually, the pressure told in the 62nd minute. Robin van Persie escaped the attentions of Joleon Lescott on his home debut and placed a low shot away from Given’s reach. It levelled the scores deservedly and was the first goal Manchester City had conceded all season.

Arsenal should have built on this momentum but they would be breached worryingly three times in 10 minutes to put the game comprehensively out of reach. First, Richards did brilliantly to work his way past Alex Song. He squared the ball back for Craig Bellamy to lash the ball past Almunia and put Mark Hughes’ side back in the lead against the run of play. Moments earlier, Adebayor had been involved in an ugly confrontation with Van Persie which had seen the City striker stamp on the head of his former teammate. This was not spotted by Mark Clattenburg but the Togolese forward was later charged by the FA and banned for two matches for this act of violent conduct.

Adebayor had been jeered all afternoon by travelling supporters but he would have the last laugh. 10 minutes from time, Clattenburg played a brilliant advantage after Gael Clichy had fouled Shaun Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips played on, delivered the perfect cross and Adebayor got a free header which flew into the net. He then set off on a dash to the other end of the field to celebrate, deliberately at the Arsenal supporters who responded by throwing objects onto the pitch. He was booked and apologised afterwards as the emotions got the better of him.

There was still time for Wright-Phillips to make it 4-1, finishing off a free-flowing counter-attack which had been started by Bellamy. Tomas Rosicky did grab a late consolation on his comeback from injury but it was all in vain.

City won the battle but Arsenal had the last laugh. They’d finish in the top four, whilst their opponents missed out, finishing fifth and Hughes was sacked midway through the season to be replaced by Roberto Mancini.

Great Goals: Eden Hazard – CHELSEA vs. Arsenal (February 2017)

Chelsea met Arsenal in February 2017 in a game that had been billed as Arsenal’s last chance to stop their fellow Londoners heading towards a fifth Premier League title. It was a match that required a bit of brilliance and Eden Hazard certainly provided it with one of my personal favourite goals from the 2016-2017 campaign.

The hosts were already 1-0 ahead when this moment occurred. Receiving possession from a Diego Costa header, Hazard evaded an early Laurent Koscielny challenge before holding off Francis Coquelin. Coquelin did his best to foul the Belgian but failed in his efforts to bring him down as Hazard showed his strength to brush the defensive midfielder to the ground. He then took on Koscielny again, turned him inside out and then produced a deft finish past former Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech. It was a stunning solo effort and Hazard at his world-class best.

Chelsea won the game 3-1 and would go onto win the title whilst Arsenal’s away slump following this result would cost them a shot at finishing in the top four at the end of the campaign.

Premier League Rewind: 14th-16th September 2013

Results: Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace, Aston Villa 1-2 Newcastle United, Fulham 1-1 West Bromwich Albion, Hull City 1-1 Cardiff City, Stoke City 0-0 Manchester City, Sunderland 1-3 Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Norwich City, Everton 1-0 Chelsea, Southampton 0-0 West Ham United, Swansea City 2-2 Liverpool FC

The 2013-2014 Premier League campaign was a year where plenty of change was happening at the top clubs. This was the first season since 1986 that Manchester United were experiencing a campaign without Sir Alex Ferguson as their manager. Manchester City also had a new boss with Manuel Pellegrini in charge and Jose Mourinho was back at Chelsea for his second spell.

The leaders going into this weekend were Liverpool FC. Brendan Rodgers’ side had won their first three matches by a scoreline of 1-0. They would remain top at the end of the weekend but forfeited their 100% record in the process. The Reds travelled to Swansea City on a night in the Sky studios when Jamie Carragher revealed in a tactical discussion about full-backs that “no-one wants to grow up to be a Gary Neville” right infront of his fellow pundit!

In the match itself, Jonjo Shelvey had an eventful night. Playing in his first game against the Merseysiders since leaving them for the Welsh club in the summer, Shelvey put Swansea ahead inside the opening two minutes, before making two careless mistakes to allow Liverpool FC to take the lead, through Daniel Sturridge and new on-loan arrival, Victor Moses. The midfielder made amends with a neat header to tee-up Michu for the equaliser in the second half. The match finished 2-2.

After losing on the opening day to Aston Villa, Arsenal fans had lost patience with Arsene Wenger, urging him to spend some money in the transfer window on new players. On deadline day, he broke their club-record fee to sign Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid. He made his debut at The Stadium of Light against Sunderland and immediately set-up the opening goal of the game for Olivier Giroud. Arsenal won 3-1 to go just a point behind Liverpool. Sunderland had boss Paolo di Canio sent to the stands as they tumbled to a third defeat in four games.

Manchester United bounced back from their recent loss at Anfield. David Moyes’ side won 2-0 in the lunchtime kick-off against newly-promoted Crystal Palace. Robin van Persie’s penalty and a Wayne Rooney free-kick helped United to three points but it was a match overshadowed by accusations that were made about diving from winger Ashley Young. Even Moyes had to warn his midfielder on his future conduct afterwards.

Chelsea suffered their first defeat in the second Mourinho reign, going down 1-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. Steven Naismith’s header in first half injury-time was enough to give Roberto Martinez his first win since being appointed Everton boss in the summer. It was a frustrating afternoon also for Manchester City as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium.

Elsewhere, Gareth McAuley’s injury-time equaliser earned West Bromwich Albion a late point in a 1-1 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage. It was West Brom’s first goal of the 2013-2014 season. Also, Newcastle United recorded an excellent 2-1 away win at Aston Villa.

What else happened in September 2013?

  • The Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya is attacked by Islamic militants. At least 62 people are killed and 170 others injured.
  • The IOC awards the 2020 Summer Olympics to the Japanese capital, Tokyo.
  • Following a trial in Manchester, Coronation Street actor Michael Le Vell, who plays Kevin Webster in the ITV soap, is cleared of child sex allegations.
  • The Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons, Nigel Evans resigns after being charged with sexual offences.
  • Prime Minister David Cameron rejects an invitation for a head-to-head TV debate on Scottish independence with Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond.
  • The UK’s largest public library is opened in Birmingham.
  • The founder of Dolby Laboratories, Ray Dolby, dies from leukaemia at the age of 80.

Iconic Moments: Arsenal’s awful day at St Andrew’s (February 2008)

Arsenal arrived at St Andrew’s in February 2008 as favourites to win the Premier League title. Arsene Wenger’s side were playing some swashbuckling football and had established a handy seven-point lead over Manchester United. They had lost just once all season and were facing a Birmingham side that looked like a team who would be scrapping for survival right until the end of the campaign. They left a broken side and it was a psychological blow they wouldn’t recover from.

The game was just over a minute old when Arsenal forward Eduardo was tackled by Birmingham defender Martin Taylor. It wasn’t a good challenge and a red card was immediately brandished by Mike Dean. As Taylor received his marching orders, Arsenal players and experienced physio Gary Lewin immediately called for the stretcher. Eduardo had suffered a dreadful double leg fracture in the tackle and it was so gruesome, none of the TV companies broadcasting the match live could show what had happened. Although Eduardo would go onto play professionally again, he never looked the same after these events.

The Arsenal players looked haunted by what they had just witnessed and there was more to come. A double from Theo Walcott meant they’d battled into a 2-1 lead but then, they conceded a penalty in injury-time. Captain William Gallas was so disgusted with the decision; he threw a petty strop, walking to the other side of the pitch. James McFadden would convert the spot-kick to earn a share of the spoils for Birmingham. Afterwards, Wenger couldn’t hide his anger at the Eduardo injury, saying: “That is a joke. The tackle was horrendous and I don’t think that Taylor should play again. When these tackles happen, they always say that he is not that sort of player. But you only have to kill someone once and you have a dead person.”

He would later retract those comments on an awful day for Arsenal. They wouldn’t win any of their next four matches and ultimately finished third, four points behind champions Manchester United.

Shock Results: Arsenal 1-2 Hull City (September 2008)

Goalscorers: Paul McShane 51 OG, Geovanni 62, Daniel Cousin 66

Teams:

Arsenal: Manuel Alumina, Gael Clichy, William Gallas, Kolo Toure, Bacary Sagna, Denilson, Cesc Fabregas, Emmanuel Eboue (Nicklas Bendtner 69), Theo Walcott (Carlos Vela 77), Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie

Hull City: Boaz Myhill, Andy Dawson, Paul McShane, Michael Turner, Kamil Zayatte, George Boateng (Richard Garcia 76), Ian Ashbee, Geovanni (Bryan Hughes 72), Marlon King, Daniel Cousin (Bernard Mendy 80)

Referee: Alan Wiley, Attendance: 60,037

Although they had made a promising start to their debut Premier League campaign in 2008-2009, few gave Hull City much hope of turning over Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium. Phil Brown’s side had won twice already but a third victory on their first trip in successive weekends to north London was seen as a long shot. However, the Tigers would tear up the formbook, producing a stunning performance and a wonderful victory.

Brown made two changes to the side that had drawn 2-2 with Everton six days earlier, recalling the maverick attacking midfielder Geovanni and experience at the heart of the midfield in George Boateng. Both selections turned out to be inspired decisions.

They had to stay in the game against an Arsenal side which on their day could overpower any team in the Premier League. In the first 30 minutes, it looked like the game was going to go to the planned formbook. Emmanuel Adebayor had the ball in the back of the net but the Togolese striker was denied after referee Alan Wiley adjudged he had fouled Paul McShane when climbing to meet a Cesc Fabregas cross.

Despite their possession dominance, goalscoring chances were at a premium for the home side, kept out by a well-drilled offside trap and some last-ditch defending from Hull defenders. They deserved to be level at half-time. However, five minutes into the second half, the Gunners did take the lead. Theo Walcott’s cross was diverted into the path of Cesc Fabregas. He struck the ball into the net but it was eventually credited as an own goal off the luckless McShane who fought valiantly but couldn’t prevent the ball crossing the goal-line. Surely, this was the end of the Hull resistance?

Not so. In fact, Arsenal’s lead lasted just 11 minutes. Geovanni was given plenty of space on the edge of the penalty area and elected to go for goal. His right-foot shot flew into the top corner of the net. Manuel Almunia in the Arsenal goal had no chance of keeping it out. Brown did a dancing jig as he celebrated one of the most spectacular goals of the season and now, his side had a genuine chance of leaving with at least a point.

The away supporters began to dream further when Andy Dawson’s corner was met by a towering header from Daniel Cousin just four minutes later. Incredibly, Hull were ahead and now had something mighty to protect. Arsene Wenger threw on Nicklas Bendtner and Carlos Vela to try and revive his team but it was to no avail. The closest they came was a William Gallas header that hit the crossbar.

This was Hull’s night and a crucial win too. They would stay up by just a single point come the end of the season. Arsenal finished fourth but it was a fourth successive season without a trophy for them.

Great Goals: Robin van Persie – Charlton Athletic vs. ARSENAL (September 2006)

Robin van Persie has scored some special goals in his career and many of them were in the Premier League. This was probably his best strike in the colours of Arsenal.

Arsenal had made the trip across London to face Charlton Athletic and the score was 1-1. It looked like it was going to take something special to settle the stalemate between the two sides and Van Persie most definitely produced it.

It was a nice build-up from the Gunners, involving Justin Hoyte, Gilberto and Emmanuel Eboue. Eboue produced the cross but there was still plenty for Van Persie to do. His volley was magnificent and it was fitting to win the match for Arsene Wenger’s side.