Tag Archives: Arsene Wenger

Premier League Rewind: 19th-20th August 2000

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

After France’s success at the 2000 European Championships which made them back-to-back major international winners, football fans only had to wait approximately six weeks before domestic action returned. The 2000-2001 Premier League season began in August sunshine with some great goals, impressive displays and stormy battles.

The stormy battle came at Sunderland where Arsenal came a cropper on the opening day. Niall Quinn scored the only goal of the game. His header – a typical trademark effort from the big striker after 53 minutes helped the Black Cats record an impressive 1-0 victory over the previous season’s runners-up. However, the flashpoint came towards the end of the match as referee Steve Dunn gave Patrick Vieira the latest red card in his English career. An altercation with Darren Williams saw the Frenchman receive his marching orders. Arsene Wenger defended his volatile midfielder, speaking afterwards: “Patrick Vieira has tried to play football today and some other players have not tried, and in the end, he is sent off because he had a bad reaction.”

Many people were tipping Chelsea to be Manchester United’s strongest challengers and the Blues had just beaten United comfortably in the Charity Shield curtain-raiser a week earlier. Chelsea continued the good form on day one with a spectacular 4-2 home victory over West Ham United. After a year in Spain with Atletico Madrid, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink returned to English football and made a goalscoring return but his efforts were overshadowed by a wonderful goal from fellow debutant Mario Stanic, who scored twice on the day. The positive vibes though wouldn’t last long for Chelsea and their manager Gianluca Vialli. He was sacked less than a month later.

After losing on the final day of the previous campaign to Bradford City which meant they missed out on UEFA Champions League football for 2000-2001, Liverpool FC extracted some form of revenge with a nervy 1-0 success against the Bantams at Anfield. Beginning his first full season after his £11 million move in March from Leicester City, Emile Heskey scored the only goal of the game as the Reds began their momentous season in winning fashion.

Reigning champions Manchester United made a business-like start to their title defence. The biggest surprise of their routine 2-0 home win against Newcastle United was the first goal of the Old Trafford season came from centre-back Ronny Johnsen. A more familiar scorer in the shape of Andy Cole got the second as he haunted his old club yet again. Cole had now scored seven goals in his last four appearances against the Magpies.

The top two from the previous season in the First Division met on day one at The Valley and the tone for their respective campaigns was set from the outset. Charlton Athletic brushed aside Manchester City 4-0 thanks to goals from Andy Hunt, John Robinson, Mark Kinsella and Graham Stuart. This was despite missing five first-choice attacking players. The Addicks were set for a campaign safely in mid-table whilst Joe Royle was given plenty to think about after seeing his side pulled apart convincingly in the capital.

Elsewhere, Mark Venus had the honour of scoring the first goal of the season after only nine minutes at White Hart Lane. However, it wasn’t enough for Ipswich to get anything at Tottenham, as they eventually lost 3-1 and Leeds United began their season with a 2-0 triumph over Everton. Both goals came in the first half from Alan Smith.

What else happened in August 2000?

  • The Queen Mother celebrates her 100th birthday.
  • English actor Sir Alec Guinness dies from liver cancer, aged 86.
  • The Democratic party in America nominate the current US vice-president, Al Gore, as their candidate for US president at the November election during their convention in Los Angeles.
  • In one of the largest Russian naval exercises since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian submarine Kursk sinks in the Barents Sea. All 118 men on-board drown.
  • Nintendo announce their plans for their latest games console to take on Sony with the GameCube set to come out by the end of 2002.
  • One of Nickelodeon’s most popular shows makes its debut on their TV channel with Dora the Explorer launching.

 

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Premier League Files: Hector Bellerin

Premier League Career: Arsenal (2014-PRESENT)

Injury in January 2019 in a 2-0 home victory over London rivals Chelsea curtailed Hector Bellerin’s 2018-2019 season. Still only 24, the Spaniard has more than enough time to make up for the setback he currently has which means he is very unlikely to return to the Arsenal first-team before October 2019. Bellerin is considered as one of the quickest players in the Premier League and is always among the best full-backs when it comes to creating chances and making assists for his teammates.

He started out in the youth academy at Barcelona but Arsenal has been his only senior club on a permanent basis, arriving in 2011. Two years later, he’d signed his first professional contract with the Gunners and his competitive debut came like many other Arsenal youngsters looking to try and make the grade, in the League Cup. In Bellerin’s case, it was a third round tie in September 2013 against West Bromwich Albion. An eight-game loan period during the 2013-2014 season at Championship club Watford was useful and meant he was more than ready for the breakthrough into the Arsenal first-team for the 2014-2015 campaign.

There was luck about his chance. Regular right-backs Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers were both unavailable through injury for the home match against Hull City in October 2014. Arsene Wenger’s hand had been forced but he put Bellerin into the team and he was one of the better players on the day in a disappointing 2-2 draw with the Tigers. With Debuchy a long-term injury absentee, Bellerin went on to make 20 appearances in the Premier League and his first goal was a popular one with his teammates to crown a 5-0 win over Aston Villa in February 2015. The same opponents met Arsenal in the 2015 FA Cup final and Bellerin was selected to start the showpiece event which they won 4-0.

He signed a new long-term contract ahead of the 2015-2016 season and was now one of the regulars in Wenger’s team selections. He was the sole Arsenal player to make the PFA Team of the Year and came in third place in the club’s Player of the Season voting. He missed just two league games, creating 28 chances and eight assists alongside his outstanding defending responsibilities.

The 2016-2017 campaign was less successful, despite featuring 33 times. Bellerin had a difficult night in a 3-3 draw away at Bournemouth, being caught horribly out of position for the Cherries opener scored by Charlie Daniels and also being bamboozled by some of the skills from Ryan Fraser. The season had a happy ending though with victory over Chelsea meaning a second FA Cup for Hector.

He was back on-song in Wenger’s last campaign as Arsenal manager, scoring a capital cracker in the 92nd minute to salvage a 2-2 draw against Chelsea in January 2018. Bellerin played a big role in the Gunners’ run to the UEFA Europa League semi-finals, scoring in the group stages against Bundesliga side 1. FC Köln.

19 league appearances had been achieved before the devastating rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee against Chelsea. Leaving in pain on a stretcher with 20 minutes left to play, it was clear that this would be a lengthy absence from the game. However, Bellerin has already received praise on his rehab from his new club boss, Unai Emery and is bound to still be a serious player for Arsenal when he returns to full fitness.

Iconic Moments: A 1000th game to forget for Wenger (March 2014)

Arsene Wenger’s achievements at Arsenal can’t be knocked, even if his final few seasons in-charge were ones of immense frustration and deep unhappiness from the supporters. In March 2014, he should been celebrating his 1000th game as Gunners manager – an extraordinary feat to achieve. However, it turned into his worst nightmare.

Arsenal travelled to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea. Wenger had never beaten his old adversary Jose Mourinho and he needed a win here to keep the club’s faltering title bid going. It evaporated in a horror show for the Frenchman and his side. Like at Anfield a month earlier, Arsenal completely collapsed in a Saturday lunchtime encounter. They fell behind early on to a goal from Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle quickly doubled the lead.

Then, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took drastic measures in stopping Eden Hazard’s goal-bound effort with his arm on the goal-line. Andre Marriner correctly awarded the penalty but then produced a piece of mistaken identity. Despite Oxlade-Chamberlain’s pleas, Marriner thought Kieran Gibbs had produced the flying block and sent him off instead. Hazard scored from the resultant penalty.

It got worse. Oscar made it 4-0 before half-time and further strikes from the Brazilian and substitute Mohamed Salah sealed a rampant win for Chelsea in their most convincing display of the season. The 6-0 defeat remains one of Arsenal and Wenger’s heaviest-ever losses. This is a milestone that won’t be remembered at all fondly.

Premier League Rewind: 28th-30th April 2018

Results: Liverpool FC 0-0 Stoke City, Burnley 0-0 Brighton & Hove Albion, Crystal Palace 5-0 Leicester City, Huddersfield Town 0-2 Everton, Newcastle United 0-1 West Bromwich Albion, Southampton 2-1 AFC Bournemouth, Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea, West Ham United 1-4 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Watford

The 2017-2018 season was drifting towards its conclusion and with the championship already settled in favour of Manchester City, attention was starting to turn towards the bottom of the table. With three games left to play, only AFC Bournemouth and Watford came into the weekend virtually safe in the bottom half of the table. There was still plenty to play for.

West Bromwich Albion still had a mountain to climb but Darren Moore’s side were showing some resolve and steel that had been missing for much of the campaign. Matt Phillips’ goal after 29 minutes steered them to a fantastic 1-0 away victory at Newcastle United. In four games in caretaker charge, Moore had now amassed eight points and kept Albion still with a slender chance of beating the drop. Newcastle remained 10th but this was their first home loss in 2018.

Time was starting to run out for Stoke City. Paul Lambert had failed to muster a single victory since his first match in-charge and that run increased to 12 games despite a battling 0-0 draw away at Anfield against Liverpool FC. Mohamed Salah missed a great opportunity after just six minutes and a well-drilled Stoke side kept the home side quiet who were in-between their two legs of the UEFA Champions League semi-final against AS Roma.

Southampton had won just one match in the Premier League throughout 2018 but they kept themselves in with a shout of beating the drop after overcoming AFC Bournemouth 2-1 in a tense South Coast Derby. Dusan Tadic’s final parting gift to Southampton fans before his summer departure for Ajax saw the Serbian international score twice to help Mark Hughes to his first victory in the league as Southampton boss. It would ultimately turn out to be an imperative three points for the club.

Going in the wrong direction were Swansea City. The Swans had failed to win a game in the Premier League since early March and that run stretched to five matches after losing 1-0 at home to Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal of the game after just four minutes. It was the Spaniard’s 50th Premier League goal.

One team who had nothing to worry about now were Crystal Palace. Safety was virtually guaranteed after the Eagles recorded their biggest-ever victory in the Premier League, dismantling Leicester City 5-0. The Foxes had Marc Albrighton sent off in the second half but never looked at the races at Selhurst Park with Wilfried Zaha in scintillating form. Six points clear of safety, Palace were heading towards the comfortable reaches of mid-table.

Before the game at Old Trafford between Manchester United and Arsenal, Arsene Wenger was given a special presentation to celebrate his 22-year stint as Gunners boss pre-match by current Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho and his old adversary, Sir Alex Ferguson. On-the-pitch, Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored on his first visit back to The Theatre of Dreams since his January departure but Arsenal were denied a point by Marouane Fellaini’s stoppage-time header.

A 4-1 win at The London Stadium over West Ham United saw Manchester City achieve another landmark. Thanks to an own goal from Declan Rice, Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering superstars had now achieved the milestone of 100 goals in the season and saw them equal Chelsea’s record of 30 wins in a Premier League season achieved in 2016-2017.

What else happened in April 2018?

  • Another of Theresa May’s closest allies in the Conservative government resigns, as Amber Rudd forfeits her position as Home Secretary following the revelations in the Windrush scandal.
  • The United States, the United Kingdom and France order the bombing of Syrian military bases, in response to the sarin chemical attack in Douma.
  • The Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to a baby boy. Louis Arthur Charles become fifth in-line to the throne.
  • 10 people are killed in a vehicle-ramming attack in Toronto, Canada. A 25-year-old suspect is arrested.
  • The Gold Coast in Australia hosts the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
  • Cinemas open in Saudi Arabia for the first time since 1983.
  • Miguel Díaz-Canel is sworn in as President of Cuba. It is the first time in 59 years that the surname Castro hasn’t occupied office in Cuba.

Iconic Moments: Wenger bids farewell (May 2018)

On Friday 20th April 2018, Arsenal announced that Arsene Wenger was to step down as the club’s longest-serving manager after 22 years at the helm.

Wenger was a revolutionary for the English game, changing the way managers approach training regimes, player diets and data analysis. It was his dream to complete an entire Premier League season unbeaten and that feat was achieved with ‘The Invincibles’ side of 2003-2004. The likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell and Dennis Bergkamp playing a crucial role in the Gunners going through a season undefeated. They eventually went 49 league matches without losing.

In recent seasons, success had given way to frustration and protests which included banners, aeroplanes calling for his departure and eventually, supporters deciding not to turn up to home matches. This was despite keeping Arsenal in the top four for 19 successive seasons and becoming the most successful foreign manager in the history of the FA Cup. The end was near and it was time for a change as Arsenal started to slip further away from the other prime Premier League challengers.

In his final home match as the club’s manager, Arsenal put in a splendid display of attacking football, beating Burnley 5-0 with goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasinac, Alex Iwobi and two from his final-ever signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A final day victory at Huddersfield meant Wenger finished with three titles and 476 Premier League wins. He has been succeeded by Unai Emery.

Although there were some very awkward moments in the closing years of his reign, Wenger’s legacy should never be tarnished. He has to be considered as one of the most influential figures the Premier League has ever seen.

Shock Results: Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Arsenal (March 2018)

Goalscorers: Lewis Dunk 7, Glenn Murray 26, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 43

Teams:

Brighton & Hove Albion: Mat Ryan, Gaetan Bong, Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy, Ezequiel Schelotto (Bruno 69), Dale Stephens, Davy Propper, Anthony Knockaert (Solly March 77), Pascal Gross (Beram Kayal 87, Jose Izquierdo, Glenn Murray

Arsenal: Petr Cech, Calum Chambers (Eddie Nketiah 83), Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Mesut Ozil, Jack Wilshere, Alex Iwobi (Danny Welbeck 74), Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Hector Bellerin 83), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Referee: Stuart Attwell, Attendance: 30,620

Arsenal were in one of their annual late winter ruts when they travelled to The AMEX Stadium to face Brighton & Hove Albion in March 2018. The Gunners had been beaten at home by Swedish outsiders Östersunds in the second leg of their UEFA Europa League round-of-32 tie and followed that with back-to-back 3-0 losses to Manchester City in the League Cup final and Premier League.

Arsene Wenger was a man under severe pressure with many supporters calling for the Frenchman to leave the club. Seven minutes gone and they went a goal down. From a Pascal Gross corner, Shane Duffy won the first header against Petr Cech and his centre-back partner Lewis Dunk slammed the ball into the back of the net from point-blank range. Dunk, who had an unfortunate habit of being credited with own goals in the season so far, now had his first goal for the Seagulls in the 2017-2018 season.

Brighton were hungrier and more motivated for the bulk of the first half. Cech had to be at full stretch to deny Gross and then blocked Anthony Knockaert’s tame shot in the penalty area after more fine work from Gross. The German playmaker was dominating the midfield battle and on 26 minutes, he had a major part to play in the second Brighton goal. After Laurent Koscielny squandered possession, Gross produced a delicious, deep cross into the penalty area. Glenn Murray won his aerial confrontation against Shkodran Mustafi and his header somehow evaded Cech’s grasp. The Czech goalkeeper admitted on social media after the game he should have kept out the attempt. Brighton were two-goals clear and richly deserved the advantage.

Arsenal barely produced anything of note from an attacking sense for 40 minutes but two minutes before half-time, they clawed their way back into the contest. The home defence failed to clear their lines and Granit Xhaka picked out Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang found the net to score his second goal for the club since joining from Borussia Dortmund for a club-record fee in the January transfer window. Moments later, it was almost 2-2 but the post denied Koscielny with his header.

The visitors dominated possession in the second half but still created little. Goalkeeper Mat Ryan parried a Mesut Ozil effort around the post and Aubameyang had a late chance to equalise but he could only shoot straight at Ryan.

Brighton held on for a famous victory and their first against Arsenal in any competition since 1982. It was the first time Arsenal had lost four matches in a row since October 2002 and Wenger would end his 22-year reign as manager at the end of the season, replaced for the 2018-2019 campaign by Unai Emery.

Premier League Files: Steve Bould

Premier League Career: Arsenal (1992-1999), Sunderland (1999-2000)

Steve Bould spent two decades as one of the game’s most challenging and uncompromising defenders. His partnership at the heart of the Arsenal backline alongside skipper Tony Adams is one of the best pairings the English game has ever seen. Arsenal has been a huge part of his career and he remains an integral member of the club today, now in his sixth season as Arsene Wenger’s assistant manager.

Born in Stoke-on-Trent, Bould signed for his hometown club Stoke City as a schoolboy in 1978 and turned professional in November 1980. He would spend the next eight years with the Potters, although he did have a nine-game loan period with Torquay United in 1982 to enhance his playing experience. Initially training as a right-back, it was Mick Mills who converted him into a centre-back. Not only was this a shrewd decision, it ensured Bould would excel in this position for the remainder of the 20th century. Despite his rapid improvements, Stoke were still a Second Division club and in 1988, the time came for him to move onto pastures new with a higher reputed side. Both Arsenal and Everton registered an interest and for £390,000, Steve moved to Highbury in the summer of 1988 and started a relationship with the club that has largely held together over the next 30 years.

He became part of the much-talked about ‘Arsenal back four,’ together with Adams, his former Stoke teammate Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn. There was instant success in his new surroundings. Bould won the English Division One title in his maiden season with the Londoners as Arsenal recorded a dramatic victory on the final evening of the campaign against Liverpool FC to snare title glory away from the Merseysiders.

A second league title followed in 1991 and a year later, he was voted the club’s Player of the Season despite a slightly underwhelming campaign for the team which included an embarrassing FA Cup exit at the hands of lowly Wrexham. In August 1992, Steve Bould ensured his name with be in Arsenal’s Premier League record books forever. After 28 minutes of the club’s first match of the new era, he headed home the opening goal at home to Norwich City. Norwich stormed back from 2-0 down to claim a very surprising 4-2 victory but no-one could take this feat away from the centre-back. Fittingly, it was another centre-back in Shkodran Mustafi who recently scored the Gunners’ 1000th home Premier League goal against Watford in March 2018.

Injury ruled him out of Arsenal’s double domestic cup success of 1993 and it was his deputy, Andy Linighan, who scored the winner in the FA Cup final replay victory over Sheffield Wednesday. However, he returned to the first-team fold in time for the second Premier League season, winning the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994. By now, Martin Keown had arrived from Everton and was a serious challenger to Bould’s regular place in the team. When Adams was fully fit, the pair would often alternate roles and initially on his arrival at the club in 1996, Wenger seemed to prefer using Keown. Bould saw this as an extra challenge and his desire to prove his use was never greater than in Arsenal’s double-winning 1997-1998 season. He featured 24 times and famously set-up his central defensive partner Adams for the fourth goal against Everton that sealed Arsenal’s first league championship in seven seasons.

After one further season in north London, Bould briefly severed his ties with the club to continue his playing days at Sunderland. When Kevin Ball departed in December 1999, Black Cats boss Peter Reid made Bould the club captain and he played 20 times as Sunderland finished an excellent seventh in their first season back in the top-flight. However, he was forced to retire from the game in September 2000 due to arthritis.

In June 2001, he returned to Arsenal and began working with the club’s youth teams, whilst studying for his UEFA coaching qualifications. He was head coach of Arsenal’s Under-18 Academy side that won back-to-back Premier Academy League titles as well as the 2009 FA Youth Cup.

In May 2012, long-serving senior assistant manager Pat Rice decided to retire and Wenger promoted Bould to the role as Rice’s replacement. On appointing him, Wenger said: “His qualities are that he has the experience of the top-level game. He has managed here. He knows our football philosophy and therefore there will be continuity.” It is a role he has held since then and therefore, has experienced being part of the coaching staff to win three FA Cups in the last five seasons.

A stalwart of the Arsenal defence for over a decade, Steve Bould has shown his desire as a highly-rated coach since being forced to retire 18 years ago. Whilst his name is never linked as a long-term successor to Arsene Wenger, he should be a figure that remains at the club for many years to come, due to his outstanding knowledge of the DNA within Arsenal and their excellent youth system.

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.

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.

Seasonal Records: 2001-2002

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2001-2002 Premier League campaign, as Arsenal scored in every single game to end Manchester United’s three-year stranglehold on the prize.

FINAL TABLE

Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Arsenal 38 26 9 3 79 36 +43 87
2 Liverpool FC 38 24 8 6 67 30 +37 80
3 Manchester United 38 24 5 9 87 45 +42 77
4 Newcastle United 38 21 8 9 74 52 +22 71
5 Leeds United 38 18 12 8 53 37 +16 66
6 Chelsea 38 17 13 8 66 38 +28 64
7 West Ham United 38 15 8 15 48 57 -9 53
8 Aston Villa 38 12 14 12 46 47 -1 50
9 Tottenham Hotspur 38 14 8 16 49 53 -4 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 38 12 10 16 55 51 +4 46
11 Middlesbrough 38 12 9 17 46 54 -8 45
12 Southampton 38 10 9 17 35 47 -12 45
13 Fulham 38 10 14 14 36 44 -8 44
14 Charlton Athletic 38 10 14 14 38 49 -11 44
15 Everton 38 11 10 17 45 57 -12 43
16 Bolton Wanderers 38 9 13 16 44 62 -18 40
17 Sunderland 38 10 10 18 29 51 -22 40
18 Ipswich Town 38 9 9 20 41 64 -23 36
19 Derby County 38 8 6 24 33 63 -30 30
20 Leicester City 38 5 13 20 30 64 -34 28

 

THE BASIC STATS

Goals Scored 1001
European qualifiers Manchester United (UEFA Champions League), Arsenal (UEFA Champions League), Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League), Newcastle United (UEFA Champions League), Leeds United (UEFA Cup), Chelsea (UEFA Cup), Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup), Ipswich Town (UEFA Cup), Aston Villa (UEFA Intertoto Cup), Fulham (UEFA Intertoto Cup)
Longest winning run 13 games (Arsenal)
Longest unbeaten run 21 games (Arsenal)
Longest winless run 16 games (Leicester City)
Longest losing run 7 games (Derby County)
Highest attendance 67,638 (Manchester United vs. Middlesbrough)
Lowest attendance 15,415 (Leicester City vs. Middlesbrough)

 

AWARDS

PFA Players’ Player of the Year Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United)
PFA Young Player of the Year Craig Bellamy (Newcastle United)
Football Writers’ Award Robert Pires (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Shay Given, Wayne Bridge, Steve Finnan, Rio Ferdinand, Sami Hyypia, Roy Keane, Patrick Vieira, Ryan Giggs, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry, Ruud van Nistelrooy
Manager of the Year Arsene Wenger (Arsenal)
Premier League Goal of the Season Dennis Bergkamp (Newcastle United vs. ARSENAL)

 

HAT-TRICK HEROES

Player Teams Score Date
Robbie Fowler Leicester City vs. Liverpool FC 1-4 20th October 2001
Paul Kitson Charlton Athletic vs. West Ham United 4-4 19th November 2001
Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United vs. Southampton 6-1 22nd December 2001
Robbie Fowler Bolton Wanderers vs. Leeds United 0-3 26th December 2001
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Bolton Wanderers vs. Manchester United 0-4 29th January 2002
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea vs. Tottenham Hotspur 4-0 13th March 2002
Fredi Bobic Bolton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town 4-1 6th April 2002

 

TOP SCORERS

Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Thierry Henry Arsenal 24
2= Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 23
2= Alan Shearer Newcastle United 23
2= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Chelsea 23
5 Michael Owen Liverpool FC 19
6 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United 17
7 Robbie Fowler Liverpool FC & Leeds United 15
8= Eidur Gudjohnsen Chelsea 14
8= Marian Pahars Southampton 14
10= Andy Cole Manchester United & Blackburn Rovers 13
10= Michael Ricketts Bolton Wanderers 13
12= Freddie Ljungberg Arsenal 12
12= Darius Vassell Aston Villa 12
12= James Beattie Southampton 12
12= Juan Pablo Angel Aston Villa 12
16= David Beckham Manchester United 11
16= Mark Viduka Leeds United 11
16= Freddie Kanoute West Ham United 11
16= Jason Euell Charlton Athletic 11
16= Kevin Phillips Sunderland 11
21= Gus Poyet Tottenham Hotspur 10
21= Jermain Defoe West Ham United 10
21= Teddy Sheringham Tottenham Hotspur 10
21= Matt Jansen Blackburn Rovers 10
25 Robert Pires Arsenal 9

BIGGEST VICTORIES

Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham United 14th October 2001
Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002
Manchester United 6-1 Southampton 22nd December 2001
Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town 11th May 2002
Manchester United 5-0 Derby County 12th December 2001
Everton 5-0 West Ham United 29th September 2001
Leicester City 0-5 Bolton Wanderers 18th August 2001
Ipswich Town 5-0 Sunderland 29th December 2001
Newcastle United 6-2 Everton 29th March 2002
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 23rd December 2001

 

HIGHEST SCORING GAMES

No of Goals Teams Date
8 Blackburn Rovers 7-1 West Ham United 14th October 2001
8 Newcastle United 6-2 Everton 29th March 2002
8 Tottenham Hotspur 3-5 Manchester United 29th September 2001
8 West Ham United 3-5 Manchester United 16th March 2002
8 Charlton Athletic 4-4 West Ham United 19th November 2001
7 Manchester United 6-1 Southampton 22nd December 2001
7 Arsenal 4-3 Everton 11th May 2002
7 Liverpool FC 4-3 Blackburn Rovers 8th May 2002
7 Leeds United 3-4 Manchester United 30th March 2002
7 Newcastle United 4-3 Manchester United 15th September 2001
7 Leeds United 3-4 Newcastle United 22nd December 2001
7 Derby County 3-4 Everton 23rd March 2002
6 Ipswich Town 0-6 Liverpool FC 9th February 2002
6 Chelsea 5-1 West Ham United 20th January 2002
6 Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 23rd December 2001
6 Middlesbrough 5-1 Derby County 3rd November 2001
6 Arsenal 2-4 Charlton Athletic 4th November 2001
6 Chelsea 2-4 Southampton 1st January 2002
6 Arsenal 3-3 Blackburn Rovers 20th October 2001
6 Southampton 3-3 Ipswich Town 24th October 2001

 

YOUNGEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Tommy Williamson Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 17 years, 4 months, 17 days 11th May 2002
Tommy Wright Leicester City 0-2 Leeds United 17 years, 5 months, 23 days 23rd March 2002
Robert Huth Chelsea 1-3 Aston Villa 17 years, 8 months, 23 days 11th May 2002
Stewart Downing Ipswich Town 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 9 months, 2 days 24th April 2002
Darren Bent Ipswich Town 1-2 Bolton Wanderers 17 years, 9 months, 12 days 18th November 2001
David Murphy Middlesbrough 2-1 Fulham 17 years, 11 months, 20 days 19th February 2002
Scott McDonald Southampton 1-3 Aston Villa 18 years, 1 month, 3 days 24th September 2001
Darren Ambrose Arsenal 2-0 Ipswich Town 18 years, 1 month, 23 days 21st April 2002
Gary Twigg Sunderland 1-1 Derby County 18 years, 1 month, 22 days 11th May 2002
Carlton Cole Chelsea 3-0 Everton 18 years, 5 months, 25 days 6th April 2002

 

OLDEST PLAYERS USED

Player Teams Age at the time Date
Raimond van der Gouw Manchester United 0-0 Charlton Athletic 39 years, 1 month, 17 days 11th May 2002
Kevin Poole Everton 3-1 Bolton Wanderers 38 years, 8 months, 11 days 1st April 2002
David Seaman Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal 38 years, 7 months, 19 days 8th May 2002
Mark Hughes Blackburn Rovers 3-0 Fulham 38 years, 6 months, 9 days 11th May 2002
Nigel Winterburn West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 38 years, 5 months 11th May 2002
Peter Schmeichel Middlesbrough 2-1 Aston Villa 38 years, 4 months, 19 days 6th April 2002
Lee Dixon Arsenal 4-3 Everton 38 years, 1 month, 24 days 11th May 2002
Gary McAllister Liverpool FC 5-0 Ipswich Town 37 years, 4 months, 16 days 11th May 2002
Gudni Bergsson West Ham United 2-1 Bolton Wanderers 36 years, 9 months, 20 days 11th May 2002
Denis Irwin Manchester United 0-0 Charlton Athletic 36 years, 6 months, 10 days 11th May 2002

 

CLEAN SHEETS

Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Jerzy Dudek Liverpool FC 18
1= Nigel Martyn Leeds United 18
3 Edwin van der Sar Fulham 15
4 Carlo Cudicini Chelsea 13
5 Dean Kiely Charlton Athletic 12
6= David Seaman Arsenal 10
6= Thomas Sorensen Sunderland 10
8= Fabien Barthez Manchester United 9
8= Shay Given Newcastle United 9
8= David James West Ham United 9

Referees in the Middle: Lee Probert

Premier League Career: 2007-PRESENT

First Premier League Match: Sheffield United 1-1 Portsmouth (13 January 2007)

As of Boxing Day 2017, Lee Probert has taken charge of 157 Premier League matches and been a top-flight referee for a decade. He has shown nearly 30 red cards in that time but his first dismissal wasn’t until his fourth season at this level when two players were dismissed in a bruising encounter between Everton and Aston Villa in October 2009. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Carlos Cuellar were both shown red in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw that afternoon at Goodison Park.

Probert was born in South Gloucestershire but he is associated with the Wiltshire Football Association and is based there nowadays. He started refereeing in the local leagues and south tier of the Conference in 1986 and it was a slow start in terms of progress. Lee didn’t become a Football League referee until 2003.

His first Premier League appointment was in January 2007 as Sheffield United and Portsmouth played out a 1-1 draw. He did very well in the match and in the summer of 2007, Probert was promoted to the Select Group, meaning he would take control of more games in the Premier League.

One of his most controversial incidents occurred as a fourth official in 2009 when Manchester United played Arsenal at Old Trafford. The Gunners’ were denied a late goal by an offside flag which would have earned them a point. In his sheer frustration, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger kicked a water bottle and Probert reported the incident to the referee on the day, Mike Dean. Dean sent Wenger to the stands.

LMA Chief Richard Bevan was unimpressed, saying two days later: “Lee Probert totally failed to manage the situation and created a needless pressure point taking the focus away from the pitch in a big event with only a minute to go.”

Probert was censured and an apology was sent to Wenger by the Premier League.

Five years later, he was given the FA Cup final between the Gunners’ and Hull City which Arsenal won 3-2 after extra-time to end their nine-year trophy famine.

A leg injury meant he missed the entire 2015-2016 season and despite returning to the middle in August 2016, he didn’t take charge of another game in the top-flight until Watford’s 1-0 victory over Sunderland in April 2017. That was his first Premier League appointment in nearly two years.

He has been more of a regular figure this season and as he is 45 at the moment, Lee Probert should remain a top-flight referee for many more campaigns going forwards.