Tag Archives: Marc Overmars

Memorable Matches: Arsenal 4-0 Everton (May 1998)

Goalscorers: Slaven Bilic 6 OG, Marc Overmars 28, 57, Tony Adams 89

Teams:

Arsenal: David Seaman, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Emmanuel Petit (David Platt 44), Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour, Marc Overmars, Nicolas Anelka (Ian Wright 72), Christopher Wreh (Steve Bould 80)

Everton: Thomas Myhre, Slaven Bilic (John Oster 46), John O’Kane (Gareth Farrelly 46), Craig Short, Carl Tiler, Dave Watson, Michael Ball, Don Hutchinson, Peter Beagrie (Mickael Madar 46), Nick Barmby, Duncan Ferguson

Referee: Gerald Ashby, Attendance: 38,269

At the end of February 1998, most bookmakers stopped taking bets on the title after Manchester United won at Chelsea to establish a 13-point lead on the chasing pack. However, Arsenal had games in hand and had been plugging away at United’s lead. A 1-0 win at Old Trafford in March had really got their fans believing and they were now cantering towards their first Premier League crown.

Arsene Wenger’s side hosted Everton who were desperate for points at the wrong end of the table. Bolton’s victory over Crystal Palace 24 hours earlier had put Howard Kendall’s Toffees into the bottom three. Arsenal knew that a 10th successive Premier League victory would hand them their first top-flight title since 1991. However, they were missing the influential Dennis Bergkamp whose season had been ended by a hamstring injury five nights earlier against Derby County.

It was set to be a party at Highbury and playing in gorgeous sunshine, Everton were simply no more than bystanders to a day of immense celebrations in the capital. Just six minutes had been played when Arsenal went into the lead. From a free-kick on the right-hand side, Slaven Bilic headed the ball into his own net, under pressure from Arsenal skipper Tony Adams. The Gunners were getting closer and closer to the main prize in English football.

Everton didn’t even manage an attempt on-goal in the first half and went 2-0 down before the half-hour mark. Peter Beagrie lost possession and Marc Overmars ran at a frightened backline. His shot had too much power for Norwegian goalkeeper Thomas Myhre, who got a decent hand on the effort but saw the ball squirm over the line. Had it not been for a couple more decent saves from Myhre to deny Christopher Wreh and Ray Parlour, the scoreline could have been even worse at half-time for the visitors. The only minor negative for Wenger was an injury to Emmanuel Petit which meant he was withdrawn before half-time, to be replaced by David Platt.

Kendall made a triple substitution at half-time but it simply didn’t make any difference to the match. The championship was heading to Arsenal Football Club and they were going to do it in style. The outstanding Overmars burst past Everton captain Watson on 57 minutes, leaving him in his wake before stroking a shot across Myhre’s bows to make it 3-0. The fitting finale was still to come though. Substitute Steve Bould played a wonderful ball over the top of the defence and his centre-back partner Adams had made a surge forward. Picked out by Bould, he delivered an emphatic finish to produce the perfect ending to a sensational afternoon for the Arsenal faithful.

Everton did avoid relegation on the final day of the season on goal difference but this was Arsenal’s day as Adams hoisted the Premier League trophy aloft around half an hour after the final whistle. Their long summer party could now begin as they became only the third team to win the Premier League.

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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.