Tag Archives: Arsenal

Iconic Moments: Enter Wayne Rooney (October 2002)

The opening day of the 2002-2003 season saw a young teenager make his debut for Everton by the name of Wayne Rooney. Considered “Once a blue, always a blue,” the young lad from the Croxteth area of Liverpool made an early impression against Tottenham Hotspur on his debut, setting up the club’s first goal of the campaign for Mark Pembridge. The game finished 2-2 and a star was born.

However, it was Tottenham’s north London rivals, Arsenal who would feel the firm punch of Rooney a couple of months later. The Gunners arrived at Goodison Park on a 30-match unbeaten run in the Premier League and it looked like that run would extend when Freddie Ljungberg put the visitors ahead inside eight minutes. This was a stronger Everton team though and they equalised midway through the first half through Tomasz Radzinski.

Rooney was brought on in the second half by manager David Moyes and entered the national conscience in stoppage time. He collected the ball from just past the halfway line and with Arsenal defenders backing off, fancied his chances. His shot flew past David Seaman, off the underside of his crossbar and into the net. ITV commentator Clive Tydlesey commented: “Oh a brilliant goal, a brilliant goal. Remember the name, Wayne Rooney!”

Arsene Wenger was quick to praise him afterwards too, saying: “Rooney is the biggest England talent I’ve seen since I arrived in England. There has certainly not been a player under 20 as good as him since I became a manager here.”

Rooney was crowned BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year in 2002, was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award and soon earned himself his first professional contract. He moved on to Manchester United in August 2004 and became the club’s all-time record goalscorer, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton in the early weeks of 2017.

His career went full circle in 2017 when he returned to Everton on a free transfer and scored his 200th Premier League goal in a draw with Manchester City in August 2017.

It wasn’t just the Premier League that was introduced to Wayne Rooney in October 2002; it was the football world as a whole.

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Shock Results: Arsenal 1-2 Watford (January 2017)

Goalscorers: Younes Kaboul 10, Troy Deeney 13, Alex Iwobi 58

Teams:

Arsenal: Petr Cech, Nacho Monreal, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Gabriel, Francis Coquelin (Lucas Perez 67), Aaron Ramsey (Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 20), Alex Iwobi, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud (Theo Walcott 45), Alexis Sanchez

Watford: Heurelho Gomes, Daryl Janmaat, Craig Cathcart, Miguel Britos, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl, Tom Cleverley, Valon Behrami (Abdoulaye Doucoure 63), Etienne Capoue, Troy Deeney (Stefano Okaka 85), M’Baye Niang (Isaac Success 70)

Referee: Andre Marriner, Attendance: 60,035

At the end of January 2017, Arsenal were still holding onto faint title hopes when Watford came calling to the Emirates Stadium. Nine days earlier, the Gunners’ had beaten Burnley in dramatic circumstances due to a late penalty from the inspirational Alexis Sanchez. They were second in the table and looked to be the only side who might give Chelsea a few headaches in the closing months.

By contrast, Watford’s form was wretched ahead of this London derby. Walter Mazzarri’s side had just been dumped out of the FA Cup by League One outfit Millwall and were on a seven-game winless streak in the Premier League that stretched back to a 3-2 win over Everton in mid-December. As far as home bankers went before kick-off, you would have got long odds on a Hornets’ win in this midweek match.

However, they made a stunning start, catching Arsenal completely cold. The home side put in a shambolic first half display and were brutally punished for their slack opening. Only 10 minutes had elapsed when they went a goal behind. Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Younes Kaboul tried his luck from distance. The centre-back’s strike took a deflection off Aaron Ramsey and the ball flew past a stranded Petr Cech.

Three minutes later and Watford incredibly doubled their lead. Frenchman Etienne Capoue ghosted through an Arsenal backline that seemed happily content to allow him to try his luck. Cech denied him but the ball fell perfectly to the Watford skipper Troy Deeney. He couldn’t miss from just a few yards out and the scoreline was 2-0 to the visitors. It could have got worse. Only Cech’s acrobatics stopped Sebastian Prodl from making it 3-0. Arsenal failed to have a single shot on target in the first half. Manager Arsene Wenger, who was serving a touchline ban and watching in the stands, seemed absolutely powerless.

As expected, Arsenal improved in the second half. They had to and hard work from Sanchez in the 57th minute allowed Nigerian Alex Iwobi to halve the deficit. Arsenal went onto half four more shots on target but none of them burst Heurelho Gomes’ net. The closest they came was through substitute Lucas Perez, who struck the woodwork in the closing moments. It was a frustrating evening for the home faithful.

Watford’s first win in the top-flight at Arsenal’s home since 1988 was a special night in a tricky season which would end with another change in management come the season’s conclusion. This result saw Arsenal drop nine points off the pace and began a calamitous run of form that not only buried any outside title hopes but would ultimately cost them a place in the top-four finishing positions for the first time in Wenger’s reign. Wenger told the BBC afterwards: “It was obvious we lost duels and were not sharp enough. It looked more mentally that we were not ready for the challenges.”

This however was a night that belonged to Watford for their ruthless finishing in one of the biggest shocks of the 2016-2017 season.

Premier League Rewind: 11th May 2002

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

Although the destiny of the championship had been settled a few days earlier, there was still some issues to address on the final day of the 2001-2002 season. The main factor at stake was the final relegation spot. Who would be joining Derby County and Leicester City on a one-way ticket to the First Division?

The favourites to join them in the second-tier were Ipswich Town. George Burley’s side had finished fifth the previous campaign but apart from a brief revival early in 2002, they had failed to find the form that took them so close to UEFA Champions League qualification in 2000-2001. They went to Anfield and had to win to stand any chance of survival.

Liverpool FC were in no mood to be easy either. Midweek results meant a victory here would guarantee their best-ever finishing position in the Premier League of runners-up. They had beaten Ipswich 6-0 at Portman Road in February and another thrashing was on the cards when John Arne Riise fired Liverpool into an 11th minute lead. Ipswich did hit the bar and the Reds’ lost Steven Gerrard to a groin injury which would destroy his World Cup hopes. However, as soon as Riise doubled his tally just before the half-hour mark, the Tractor Boys’ fate was sealed. A mistake from Titus Bramble allowed Michael Owen to score a third seconds into the restart and further goals from substitute Vladimir Smicer and Nicolas Anelka put the seal on the 5-0 final scoreline. Ipswich went down and Liverpool FC had beaten Manchester United in a final league standings table for the first time since 1990.

Ipswich’s nightmare on Merseyside meant Sunderland would survive, regardless of their result at home to Derby County. Kevin Phillips scored the opening goal and although Derby equalised, these sides would be playing in different divisions in 2002-2003. It was a worrying drop for Peter Reid’s side though – a fall of 10 positions on their previous two seasons.

It was a day of parties and celebration at Highbury. Arsenal’s midweek magic at Old Trafford had meant they’d won the double for the second time in four years. Thierry Henry scored twice in an entertaining 4-3 final day victory over Everton to pip Alan Shearer and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to the Golden Boot award. It was the first of four occasions that the Frenchman would come out on top in this race. At the end of the match, Tony Adams lifted aloft the Barclaycard Premiership title which confirmed Arsenal were back at the summit of English football. Adams and Lee Dixon would announce their retirements from professional football shortly after the celebrations had concluded.

Another player saying farewell was Matt Le Tissier. ‘Saint Le Tiss’ had struggled with injuries for the past couple of seasons and had already played his last game for the club. However, he received a guard of honour and presentations on-field before Southampton’s final match of the season which was a 3-1 victory over Newcastle United.

At Old Trafford, there were no trophies to lift at the end of an unsuccessful season but David Beckham did sign a new contract on the eve of a sterile goalless draw between the former champions and Charlton Athletic. Beckham would only feature in one more Premier League season before joining Real Madrid in the summer of 2003.

After 111 years, Leicester City played their final match at Filbert Street before moving to the Walkers’ Stadium (later known as the King Power Stadium). They ended on a high – beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-1. The ground was demolished a year later. Elsewhere, Leeds United overtook Chelsea on the final day to finish fifth after beating Middlesbrough 1-0. David O’Leary was sacked though in June and Blackburn’s 3-0 triumph against Fulham ensured a top-10 finish on their return to the top-flight.

What else happened in May 2002?

  • Tragedy hits the rail industry with the fatal accident at Potters Bar railway station. A points’ failure was to blame, leaving seven dead and 76 injured.
  • After 21 years, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical “Cats” appears for the last time of its original run at London’s West End. It is revived in 2014.
  • Star Wars Episode II – Attack of the Clones debuts at cinemas.
  • Latvia wins the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest, held in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • African newcomers Senegal stun holders France to win 1-0 in the opening match of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
  • After 26 years of occupation by Indonesia, East Timor regains its independence.
  • McLaren’s David Coulthard wins the Monaco Grand Prix for the second time in his career. It is the last time a team other than Ferrari will win a Formula One event for 10 months.

Memorable Matches: Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal (March 1998)

Goalscorer: Marc Overmars 79

Teams:

Manchester United: Peter Schmeichel, John Curtis (Ben Thornley 52), Denis Irwin, Henning Berg, Gary Neville, Phil Neville (Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 77), Ronny Johnsen (David May 79), David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole

Arsenal: Alex Manninger, Nigel Winterburn, Lee Dixon, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour (Remi Garde 70), Marc Overmars, Christopher Wreh (Nicolas Anelka 66), Dennis Bergkamp

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 55,174

It wasn’t quite a title decider but this match between Manchester United and Arsenal in March 1998 was a pivotal one in deciding who would claim the advantage in the season. Two weeks earlier, United had beaten Chelsea 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. Most bookmakers’ stopped taking bets and some even started paying out on another title for the men from Old Trafford.

However, Arsenal dug in and were starting to be rewarded. Three days earlier, they had won at Wimbledon to close the gap at the top to nine points with three games in-hand. Defeat at the Theatre of Dreams would all but end their aspirations for a title tilt. Victory would put them within striking distance of their opponents, who still had European action on their minds.

Alex Ferguson’s options were restricted by injuries. Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane and Nicky Butt were among those on the treatment table whilst Alex Manninger passed a late fitness test to keep his spot in-goal for the Gunners’ with David Seaman still absent through injury.

After early pressure from the home side, it was Arsenal who looked the more energised. Marc Overmars was the most threatening player to Manchester United. His best chance of the first half was a shot into the side netting after splitting the defence. Gary Neville and youngster John Curtis were struggling to handle the pace of Overmars throughout. United’s best opening came seven minutes before the interval. Andy Cole looked in an offside position but the flag stayed down. This meant Cole was played through but he was to be thwarted by Manninger.

There was little change in terms of the momentum in the second half. Arsenal were the more likely side to score but were passing up opportunities to inflict the damage. Finally, they broke the deadlock 11 minutes from full-time. Substitute Nicolas Anelka flicked the ball onto Overmars, who once again ran beyond Gary Neville. His header gave him the advantage to run onto the ball and saw him beat Peter Schmeichel as the Dane started to close down his angles. It was the first goal Arsenal had scored at Old Trafford since 1991 and what a crucial one it was.

As they tried to rescue the game, there was worse to come for Manchester United. Schmeichel decided to make a run into the Arsenal penalty area for a corner but when the move broke down and he tried to sprint back, he pulled his hamstring, ruling him out of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg with French side AS Monaco.

Arsenal had done it and became just the second side to double Manchester United in a season in Premier League history. They wouldn’t drop another point before wrapping up the title in early May. Arsene Wenger became the first foreign manager to win the Premier League and the platform for this success was this result at Old Trafford.

Shock Results: Arsenal 0-3 Coventry City (August 1993)

Goalscorers: Mick Quinn 34 PEN, 62, 65

Teams:

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Andy Linighan, Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn, Paul Davis, John Jensen, Paul Merson (Eddie McGoldrick 67), Anders Limpar (Martin Keown 73), Ian Wright, Kevin Campbell

Coventry City: Jonathan Gould, Phil Babb, Peter Atherton, Tony Sheridan, Stewart Robson (Steve Morgan 10), David Rennie, Sean Flynn, Roy Wegerle, John Williams, Mick Quinn, Peter Ndlovu

Referee: Alan Wilkie, Attendance: 33,016

Optimism was high at Arsenal ahead of the start of the 1993-1994 season. The Gunners’ might have finished a distant 10th in the first Premier League campaign but were the reigning holders of both the FA Cup and League Cup. Manager George Graham had won the league championship twice before so expectations of a title tilt were well-considered.

Although beaten via a penalty shootout in the curtain-raising Charity Shield against Manchester United, Arsenal had performed very well. They were expected to brush aside a Coventry City side that had been beaten in both head-to-head encounters the previous season without scoring. Coventry were among the favourites with the bookies’ to be relegated but they also loved to prove the punters wrong and they did so spectacularly on the opening day at Highbury.

Arsenal started brightly but if there was one criticism of Graham’s management, it was he had a perfect Plan A, but no back-up solution if his side got into trouble. Within 10 minutes, they had slipped back into their comfort zone. David Seaman was the playmaker with long punts up the park towards Ian Wright and Kevin Campbell. However, David Rennie and Phil Babb had a comfortable afternoon, dealing with anything the Gunners’ frontline had to offer.

In Mick Quinn, Coventry had an unpredictable presence upfront but someone who knew where the back of the net was. He put the Sky Blues’ infront on 34 minutes from the penalty spot and from that moment on, Bobby Gould’s side were always in control. Only the injected pace of Anders Limpar gave them the odd concern. When he was replaced by defender Martin Keown in the 73rd minute, you knew that Graham simply had no clue with what to do.

Arsenal had been linked seriously with the England international Andy Sinton who was destined to leave Queens Park Rangers. On this evidence, Sinton made the right call to join Sheffield Wednesday instead because this brand of football would have simply bypassed him. Quinn, nicknamed “Sumo,” doubled his tally on 62 minutes, firing a shot into the top corner after the tricky Roy Wegerle had bamboozled Tony Adams with his skill and flair. Three minutes later, almost a carbon-copy move occurred with Wegerle the provider and Quinn producing the perfect finish. The ball went through Seaman’s defences. Graham said afterwards: “Football is about more than ability. It is about application and it’s about winners. Coventry seemed to have more desire than us.”

Arsenal bounced back from this opening day setback to finish fourth and beat Italian giants Parma to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in Gothenburg. Gould resigned from his Coventry position two months later but ex-Liverpool FC defender Phil Neal comfortably steered them to a top-half finish. This was a day where underestimating the opposition was the fable. Arsenal did and paid a heavy price.

Great Goals: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL vs. Tottenham Hotspur (November 2002)

Voted as Goal of the Season by viewers of ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ during the 2002-2003 season, this was Thierry Henry at his absolute best as Tottenham couldn’t live with him in the North London Derby.

Just over 15 minutes had been played when Henry controlled the ball inside his own half and turned past Matthew Etherington. The Frenchman started running away from Etherington and burst past the centre circle. He had options in Dennis Bergkamp and Sylvain Wiltord but Henry only had one thing on his mind and that was to score.

Drifting away from Stephen Carr and Ledley King, Henry found the space to shoot and beat Kasey Keller to complete one of the greatest solo goals we’ve seen in this classic rivalry. He promptly completed his long-distance run with a long-distance celebration back to his own half to celebrate with the Gunners’ supporters.

Arsenal won 3-0 in a period when they were the class of north London.

Referees in the Middle: Keith Hackett

Premier League Career: 1992-1994

First Premier League Match: Ipswich Town 1-1 Tottenham Hotspur (30 August 1992)

Final Premier League Match: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool FC (30 March 1994)

The majority of Keith Hackett’s career was before the introduction of the FA Premier League but even though he had reached the planned retirement age before the reformation in English football, his exemption onto the list for the inaugural season showed how well-respected he was.

Hackett’s record is right up there with the best in the business. In a list maintained by the IFFHS (International Federation of Football History and Statistics), Hackett is within the top 100 referees. When he retired in April 1994, he had been refereeing for over 34 years.

Like many of his peers, Hackett began in the local leagues in 1960, taking charge of games across Yorkshire. He became a Football League linesman in 1972 and four years later, had progressed to the full list of officials. He was just 32 years old when this milestone was achieved.

His best period was the 1980s. He was one of the youngest referees to ever have the privilege of officiating at the FA Cup final which was in those days, the ultimate domestic honour in English club football. Hackett’s year for the showpiece was the 1981 classic between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City which finished 1-1 before the Ricky Villa magic in the replay days later.

Three years later, he was back at Wembley to do the all-Merseyside Charity Shield when a Bruce Grobbelaar own goal meant Everton beat Liverpool FC. The domestic set was complete when he got the 1986 League Cup final as Oxford United won their only knockout trophy, defeating Queens Park Rangers 3-0.

In 1988, Hackett was the English choice of official at the 1988 European Championships in West Germany. He took control of the hosts’ 1-1 draw with Italy during the group stages which was played in Cologne. Later that summer, he went to the Olympic Games to officiate in the football competition in Seoul, South Korea. Again, he looked after a West German match, this time the semi-final with Brazil which ended 1-1 but saw the South Americans win on penalties.

In October 1990, he had to deal with one of the toughest incidents of his or anyone’s career when a 21-man brawl broke out at Old Trafford during a league clash involving Manchester United and Arsenal. Hackett and his match officials handled a tricky situation with stern punishments for both clubs. After consultations between them and the FA, Manchester United were docked one point and deducted two points from Arsenal’s total. The Gunners’ still won the league championship.

When the Premier League began, the new league could trust on Keith Hackett’s judgement and control. He took charge of 36 Premier League matches, handed out just 38 yellow cards and didn’t dismiss a single player. In that period, he only awarded three penalties and two of those were in one match when Oldham Athletic lost 4-1 to Tottenham in the inaugural season. He retired just short of his 50th birthday in 1994 with his last match in the middle being a blockbuster encounter between Manchester United and Liverpool FC. United won the midweek match 1-0 with Paul Ince scoring the only goal.

After retiring from officiating, Hackett became a referees’ assessor and in March 2004, he replaced Philip Don to be appointed General Manager of the PGMOB (Professional Game Match Officials Board). His knowledge has also come through in publishing through books, cartoon quizzes and columns for the Observer and the Daily Telegraph.

He is honest enough in his assessments too. At the end of the 2016-2017 campaign, he stated in a strong article that the likes of Jon Moss, Kevin Friend and Roger East shouldn’t be retained on the current elite list.

Keith Hackett is still a strong voice in the game and he won’t hold back either. People listen to his frank and honest assessments nowadays, just like they did when he was controlling football matches in the middle.

Premier League Rewind: 18th-20th September 1993

Results: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 West Ham United, Coventry City 1-1 Chelsea, Everton 2-0 Liverpool FC, Ipswich Town 1-2 Aston Villa, Leeds United 2-1 Sheffield United, Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City, Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Southampton, Swindon Town 2-2 Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic, Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal, Wimbledon 1-0 Manchester City

The 1993-1994 Premier League season was starting to slowly take shape in September 1993. There were some big games on the weekend of 18th-20th September which produced some interesting stories.

The biggest match-up was the latest in the rivalry of the Merseyside derby between Everton and Liverpool FC. Both sides had made positive starts to the campaign and were in the chasing pack behind early season pacesetters Manchester United and Arsenal. In the 27th minute, the home side took the lead which led to some extraordinary scenes afterwards. Andy Hinchcliffe’s corner was cleared at the near post by Steve McManaman. It only managed to find Mark Ward, who rifled a shot into the bottom corner of the net. As he went off celebrating, Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar got into a heated confrontation with McManaman which saw handbags thrown and luckily no more than that. Tony Cottee’s goal five minutes from time ensured Howard Kendall’s men would finish the weekend inside the top four.

With Manchester United and Arsenal playing each other on the Sunday afternoon, Blackburn Rovers had the opportunity to take top spot briefly. They missed their chance at home to newly-promoted West Ham United. A goal in each half from Lee Chapman and Trevor Morley spearheaded the Hammers’ to an unlikely 2-0 victory at Ewood Park. It was already Blackburn’s second home loss of the campaign.

It was a miserable weekend for Oldham Athletic, who took a pasting at free-flowing Tottenham Hotspur. Ossie Ardiles loved his sides to attack and they did this at White Hart Lane to devastating effect. Inside nine minutes, Oldham were 3-0 down and ended up losing 5-0. Teddy Sheringham continued his fine start to the season, scoring twice. Sheringham’s goals kept Tottenham in the early season mix. Unfortunately, injury would strike a month later which seriously hurt his side’s form afterwards.

Fresh from scoring the winning goal a week earlier to beat the reigning champions, Gavin Peacock was at it again at Highfield Road. He opened the scoring in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Coventry City. Steve Morgan equalised for a share of the spoils. The points were also shared in games involving Swindon Town and Newcastle United at the County Ground and Queens Park Rangers vs. Norwich City at Loftus Road. Les Ferdinand rescued a point for QPR in their 2-2 draw with the Canaries. His 83rd minute goal denied Norwich another impressive success away from home.

On Super Sunday, the top two met at Old Trafford. Manchester United bounced back to winning ways with a stunning free-kick from Eric Cantona good enough to beat Arsenal 1-0. It took the Red Devils’ three points clear at the top of the table. The action ended with Wimbledon beating Manchester City by the same scoreline on Monday Night Football. Robbie Earle scored the only goal to inflict a first defeat on Brian Horton as City manager.

What else happened in September 1993?

  • The 1,000th Boeing 747 jumbo jet is produced.
  • Sci-Fi drama “The X-Files” makes its debut on American television, launching the careers of Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
  • Pete Sampras and Steffi Graf are the men’s and women’s singles champions at the US Open at Flushing Meadows.
  • The USA beat Europe 15-13 to win the 30th Ryder Cup at The Belfry.
  • Nearly 10,000 people are killed when an earthquake strikes the region of Latur, India which measures 6.4 on the Richter scale.
  • In Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Leader Yasser Arafat famously shake hands after signing the Oslo I Accord; temporarily bringing peace to the Middle East.

Great Goals: Jack Wilshere – ARSENAL vs. Norwich City (October 2013)

This will go down as one of the best team goals as Arsenal toyed with their opponents in a 4-1 victory.

The move begins with Jack Wilshere taking possession from inside his own half. The move continues at fast speed with Santi Cazorla driving at the frightened Norwich defenders. Cazorla, Wilshere and Olivier Giroud then combine with some incisive and clever one-touch play before Giroud plays Wilshere in. To complete the move, he provides the one-touch finish past John Ruddy. It was a joy to watch and winner of the BBC Goal of the Season Award for the 2013-2014 season.

Wilshere’s career has been dogged by injury but when fit; this is what he is capable of.

Iconic Moments: Wenger marks two decades (October 2016)

In September 1996, Arsenal confirmed the appointment of the relatively unknown Frenchman Arsene Wenger as their new manager. Wenger had guided AS Monaco to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 1994 but had most recently spent time coaching in the Japanese J-League.

It is fair to say there were plenty of sceptics about the appointment but he is still going strong two decades on. Possibly slightly less fresh-faced when he took the dugout for the first time at Ewood Park on 12 October 1996 but Wenger’s legacy at Arsenal and the Premier League should not be tarnished.

He revolutionised the Gunners. Training methods improved, stricter and better diet regimes were brought in under his guidance and the way football was played by the club even changed. Gone was the ‘1-0 to the Arsenal tag.’ In his first full season with the club (1997-1998), they won the league and cup double. In the process, Wenger became the first foreign manager to lift the Premier League prize.

Another double followed four seasons later when Arsenal scored in every single Premier League game and went through the entire campaign undefeated away from Highbury. Even better came in 2003-2004 when they went through the whole season unbeaten. ‘The Invincibles’ of 2004 has to be considered as one of the greatest teams to have played the English game.

Trophies have dried out since and criticism is often aimed in Wenger’s direction over his reluctance to sign players in the transfer market but he also oversaw the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium. Before finishing fifth in 2016-2017, he managed to get the Londoners into the top four for the previous 20 seasons. It was a remarkable achievement in a period where Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool FC all had spells outside the top six, let alone top four.

In October 2016, Wenger celebrated 20 years as Arsenal manager with a scrappy 1-0 away win at Burnley, courtesy of a stoppage-time goal from Laurent Koscielny. He left Turf Moor with a huge smile on his face and at the end of the season, ended with a record seventh FA Cup victory, defeating champions Chelsea in the final. Four days later, it was confirmed that he has signed a two-year contract extension to remain Arsenal manager after a season where supporters’ loyalty towards the Frenchman was definitely split.

Supporters of the club have to step back and think where they would be if Arsene Wenger hadn’t taken over. His time will eventually end at some point but we will never see the likes of this unflappable Frenchman again – nor his longevity in the game.

Seasonal Records: 1993-1994

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the second season of top-flight – the 1993-1994 FA Carling Premiership.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Manchester United 42 27 11 4 80 38 +42 92
2 Blackburn Rovers 42 25 9 8 63 36 +27 84
3 Newcastle United 42 23 8 11 82 41 +41 77
4 Arsenal 42 18 17 7 53 28 +25 71
5 Leeds United 42 18 16 8 65 39 +26 70
6 Wimbledon 42 18 11 13 56 53 +3 65
7 Sheffield Wednesday 42 16 16 10 76 54 +22 64
8 Liverpool FC 42 17 9 16 59 55 +4 60
9 Queens Park Rangers 42 16 12 14 62 61 +1 60
10 Aston Villa 42 15 12 15 46 50 -4 57
11 Coventry City 42 14 14 14 43 45 -2 56
12 Norwich City 42 12 17 13 65 61 +4 53
13 West Ham United 42 13 13 16 47 58 -11 52
14 Chelsea 42 13 12 17 49 53 -4 51
15 Tottenham Hotspur 42 11 12 19 54 59 -5 45
16 Manchester City 42 9 18 15 38 49 -11 45
17 Everton 42 12 8 22 42 63 -21 44
18 Southampton 42 12 7 23 49 66 -17 43
19 Ipswich Town 42 9 16 17 35 58 -23 43
20 Sheffield United 42 8 18 16 42 60 -18 42
21 Oldham Athletic 42 9 13 20 42 68 -26 40
22 Swindon Town 42 5 15 22 47 100 -53 30

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1,195
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Aston Villa (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Newcastle United (UEFA Cup), Arsenal (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup)
Longest winning run 8 games (Manchester United)
Longest unbeaten run 22 games (Manchester United)
Longest winless run 15 games (Swindon Town)
Longest losing run 7 games (Tottenham Hotspur)
Highest attendance 45,347 (Aston Villa vs. Liverpool FC)
Lowest attendance 4,739 (Wimbledon vs. Coventry City)

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Eric Cantona (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Andy Cole (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Alan Shearer (Blackburn Rovers)
PFA Team of the Year Tim Flowers, Gary Kelly, Denis Irwin, Tony Adams, Gary Pallister, David Batty, Gary McAllister, Paul Ince, Peter Beardsley, Eric Cantona, Alan Shearer
Manager of the Year Alex Ferguson (Manchester United)
LMA Manager of the Year Joe Kinnear (Wimbledon)
Goal of the Season Rod Wallace (LEEDS UNITED vs. Tottenham Hotspur)

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Mick Quinn Arsenal vs. Coventry City 0-3 14th August 1993
Tony Cottee Everton vs. Sheffield United 4-2 21st August 1993
Kevin Campbell Arsenal vs. Ipswich Town 4-0 11th September 1993
Efan Ekoku (4 goals) Everton vs. Norwich City 1-5 25th September 1993
Alan Shearer Leeds United vs. Blackburn Rovers 3-3 23rd October 1993
Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC vs. Southampton 4-2 30th October 1993
Peter Beardsley Newcastle United vs. Wimbledon 4-0 30th October 1993
Bradley Allen Everton vs. Queens Park Rangers 0-3 20th November 1993
Andy Cole Newcastle United vs. Liverpool FC 3-0 21st November 1993
Kevin Campbell Swindon Town vs. Arsenal 0-4 27th December 1993
Tony Cottee Everton vs. Swindon Town 6-2 15th January 1994
Jan-Aage Fjortoft Swindon Town vs. Coventry City 3-1 5th February 1994
Dean Saunders Aston Villa vs. Swindon Town 5-0 12th February 1994
Matt Le Tissier Southampton vs. Liverpool FC 4-2 14th February 1994
Andy Cole Newcastle United vs. Coventry City 4-0 23rd February 1994
Ian Wright Ipswich Town vs. Arsenal 1-5 5th March 1994
Ian Wright Southampton vs. Arsenal 0-4 19th March 1994
Matt Le Tissier Norwich City vs. Southampton 4-5 9th April 1994
Dean Holdsworth Wimbledon vs. Oldham Athletic 3-0 26th April 1994

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Andy Cole Newcastle United 34
2 Alan Shearer Blackburn Rovers 31
3= Chris Sutton Norwich City 25
3= Matt Le Tissier Southampton 25
5 Ian Wright Arsenal 23
6 Peter Beardsley Newcastle United 21
7 Mark Bright Sheffield Wednesday 19
8 Eric Cantona Manchester United 18
9= Rod Wallace Leeds United 17
9= Dean Holdsworth Wimbledon 17
11 Les Ferdinand Queens Park Rangers 16
11= Tony Cottee Everton 16
13 Kevin Campbell Arsenal 14
13= Ian Rush Liverpool FC 14
13= Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 14
16 Ryan Giggs Manchester United 13
16= Trevor Morley West Ham United 13
16= Mark Stein Chelsea 13
17= Mark Hughes Manchester United 12
17= Gordon Watson Sheffield Wednesday 12
17= Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC 12
17= Efan Ekoku Norwich City 12
17= Jan-Aage Fjortoft Swindon Town 12
24= Brian Deane Leeds United 11
24= John Fashanu Wimbledon 11

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Newcastle United 7-1 Swindon Town 12th March 1994
Manchester United 5-0 Sheffield Wednesday 16th March 1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United 7th May 1994
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 West Ham United 18th December 1993
Sheffield Wednesday 5-0 Ipswich Town 23rd April 1994
Swindon Town 0-5 Liverpool FC 22nd August 1993
Aston Villa 5-0 Swindon Town 12th February 1994
Tottenham Hotspur 5-0 Oldham Athletic 18th September 1993
Everton 6-2 Swindon Town 15th January 1994
Newcastle United 5-1 Aston Villa 27th April 1994

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
9 Norwich City 4-5 Southampton 9th April 1994
8 Newcastle United 7-1 Swindon Town 12th March 1994
8 Everton 6-2 Swindon Town 15th January 1994
7 Oldham Athletic 2-5 Manchester United 29th December 1993
7 Norwich City 3-4 Queens Park Rangers 12th March 1994
7 Chelsea 4-3 Tottenham Hotspur 27th February 1994
6 Wimbledon 4-2 Newcastle United 12th February 1994
6 Newcastle United 5-1 Aston Villa 27th April 1994
6 Queens Park Rangers 5-1 Coventry City 23rd October 1993
6 Chelsea 4-2 Everton 3rd January 1994
6 Southampton 4-2 Liverpool FC 14th February 1994
6 Ipswich Town 1-5 Arsenal 5th March 1994
6 Everton 1-5 Norwich City 25th September 1993
6 Tottenham Hotspur 3-3 Liverpool FC 18th December 1993
6 Sheffield Wednesday 3-3 Swindon Town 29th December 1993
6 Liverpool FC 4-2 Southampton 30th October 1993
6 Liverpool FC 3-3 Manchester United 4th January 1994
6 Leeds United 3-3 Blackburn Rovers 23rd October 1993
6 Everton 4-2 Chelsea 5th February 1994
6 Sheffield Wednesday 3-3 Norwich City 1st September 1993

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
David Beresford Sheffield Wednesday 3-0 Oldham Athletic 17 years, 13 days 24th November 1993
Stephen Carr Ipswich Town 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 28 days 26th September 1993
Willie Boland Coventry City 1-1 West Ham United 18 years, 15 days 21st August 1993
Darren Eadie Queens Park Rangers 2-2 Norwich City 18 years, 3 months, 8 days 18th September 1993
Lee Briscoe Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Sheffield Wednesday 18 years, 4 months, 6 days 5th February 1994
Neal Bartlett Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Southampton 18 years, 4 months, 14 days 21st August 1993
Andy Turner Newcastle United 0-1 Tottenham Hotspur 18 years, 4 months, 22 days 14th August 1993
Robbie Fowler Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool FC 18 years, 5 months, 16 days 25th September 1993
Chris Holland Newcastle United 2-0 Ipswich Town 18 years, 6 months, 11 days 22nd March 1994
Michael Duberry Chelsea 1-2 Coventry City 18 years, 6 months, 20 days 4th May 1994

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Trevor Francis Sheffield Wednesday 0-0 Coventry City 39 years, 7 months, 1 day 20th November 1993
Kevin Moran Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Ipswich Town 38 years, 8 days 7th May 1994
Ray Wilkins Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Queens Park Rangers 37 years, 7 months, 23 days 7th May 1994
Peter Reid Southampton 3-1 Chelsea 37 years, 6 months, 7 days 27th December 1993
Bryan Robson Manchester United 0-0 Coventry City 37 years, 3 months, 27 days 8th May 1994
Gordon Strachan Swindon Town 0-5 Leeds United 37 years, 2 months, 28 days 7th May 1994
John Wark Blackburn Rovers 0-0 Ipswich Town 36 years, 9 months, 3 days 7th May 1994
Steve Ogrizovic Manchester United 0-0 Coventry City 36 years, 7 months, 26 days 8th May 1994
Mal Donaghy Chelsea 1-2 Coventry City 36 years, 7 months, 21 days 4th May 1994
Glenn Hoddle Chelsea 3-2 Sheffield United 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 7th May 1994

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 David Seaman Arsenal 20
2 Peter Schmeichel Manchester United 15
3 Ludek Miklosko West Ham United 14
4 Tim Flowers Southampton & Blackburn Rovers 13
5 Hans Segers Wimbledon 12
6= Steve Ogrizovic Coventry City 11
6= Dimitri Kharine Chelsea 11
6= Neville Southall Wimbledon 11
9= Mark Bosnich Aston Villa 10
9= Bryan Gunn Norwich City 10

Memorable Matches: Newcastle United 4-4 Arsenal (February 2011)

Goalscorers: Theo Walcott 1, Johan Djourou 3, Robin van Persie 10, 26, Joey Barton 68 PEN, 83 PEN, Leon Best 75, Cheick Tiote 87

Teams:

Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Jose Enrique, Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson, Danny Simpson, Joey Barton, Cheick Tiote, Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best (Danny Guthrie 89), Peter Lovenkrands (Nile Ranger 73)

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny, Bacary Sagna, Johan Djourou (Sebastien Squillaci 48), Laurent Koscielny, Gael Clichy, Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby (SENT OFF), Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin (Tomas Rosicky 69), Theo Walcott (Emmanuel Eboue 79), Robin van Persie

Referee: Phil Dowd, Attendance: 51,561

Title-chasing Arsenal arrived on Tyneside for a fixture in February 2011 in confident mood. The Gunners’ were unbeaten at the start of the year and this looked like the perfect time to play their opposition. Newcastle were reeling from the sudden departure of top scorer and star player Andy Carroll on a crazy transfer deadline day.

Whilst they’d received £35million from Liverpool FC for Carroll’s services, fans were upset that the star asset could be sold and no replacement come in. Carroll had scored the winning goal when the teams’ met in November 2010 so at least Arsene Wenger didn’t have to worry about his physical prowess in the air. By full-time, he had to worry about the fragility of his side which was brutally exposed in the second half.

It had started so well in the first 45 minutes for the visitors’. They had simply blitzed their opponents. In fact, it looked like it could end up a cricket scoreline, such was the one-sided dominance. Theo Walcott stormed through the middle, outpaced Fabricio Coloccini and beat Steve Harper inside 44 seconds.

Three minutes later, it was 2-0. Andrey Arshavin’s free-kick was connected by the head of Johan Djourou. It was Djourou’s first-ever goal for Arsenal. Robin van Persie then added a quick-fire brace and Arsenal were 4-0 ahead inside 26 minutes. A combination of stylish attacking football from the Gunners’ and woeful Newcastle defending meant this was a scoreline that didn’t flatter either side.

Alan Pardew had to rouse his troops at half-time but they did get an early boost in the second half. Midfielder Abou Diaby lost control of his temperament. He pushed Joey Barton to the floor and also shoved Kevin Nolan right infront of the referee Phil Dowd. Dowd had no option but to give Diaby a straight red card.

Newcastle were lifted by this and they got on the scoreboard shortly afterwards. Laurent Koscielny’s clumsy tackle on Leon Best saw the home side given a penalty. Barton held his nerve to send goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny the wrong way. The Pole’s refusal to give the ball back resulted in his own yellow card and suggested Arsenal nerves – despite still possessing a three-goal advantage.

Best had scored a hat-trick a month earlier against West Ham United and was giving Koscielny and Sebastien Squillaci who had replaced Djourou early in the second half some major problems. He had a goal incorrectly ruled out for offside, before beating Gael Clichy at the back post and squeezing a shot past Szczesny from eight yards out after fine work by Jose Enrique. Suddenly, Newcastle supporters really started to believe.

Hope turned to expectation when Barton scored his second penalty seven minutes from time. Koscielny was adjudged to have impeded Mike Williamson in an aerial contest. It looked a soft spot-kick but the home players and supporters were not complaining.

Arsenal had simply gone to pieces. They couldn’t cope with the barrage of attacks that the Magpies’ were throwing at them. Yet, it had to take something special to complete the comeback. Barton’s free-kick was cleared away but only to the path of Tiote who produced one of the most iconic moments in Premier League history.

His volley was sublime and it nestled into the bottom corner, giving Szczesny little chance of saving his shot. The whole place went berserk. Pardew’s passion clear to see; players chased Tiote down the field and started jumping on him. Meanwhile, Arsenal simply looked dazed and confused. How had they managed to let this advantage slip away?

We will see many great comebacks in years to come in the Premier League but they will do well to match Newcastle United’s incredible recovery in this match of February 2011.