Tag Archives: Thierry Henry

Memorable Matches: Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa (December 2001)

Goalscorers: Paul Merson 21, Steve Stone 34, Sylvain Wiltord 46, Thierry Henry 72, 90


Arsenal: Stuart Taylor, Lauren, Sol Campbell, Matthew Upson (Martin Keown 45), Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Ray Parlour, Freddie Ljungberg (Sylvain Wiltord 45), Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp (Kanu 68), Thierry Henry

Aston Villa: Peter Enckelman, Alan Wright, Olof Mellberg, Jlloyd Samuel, Steve Staunton, Gareth Barry (Darius Vassell 78), George Boateng, Lee Hendrie, Paul Merson, Steve Stone, Dion Dublin

Referee: Alan Wiley, Attendance: 38,074

With Manchester United having already lost six times in the 2001-2002 Premier League campaign by early December, the race for the title was wide open. Arsenal were one of the main contenders whilst Aston Villa had topped the table in late October, although they had slipped off the pace in recent weeks.

The sides met at Highbury and produced a contest which was a game of two halves. In the opening 45 minutes, the Villans put in a clinical, decisive counter-attacking display which meant they went into the dressing rooms 2-0 ahead at half-time. After 21 minutes, they took the lead through a former Arsenal title winner.

Peter Enckelman’s long goal-kick was flicked on by Dion Dublin who had the measure of Sol Campbell. Campbell’s centre-back partner Matthew Upson was caught out of position and Paul Merson held him off before chipping the onrushing Stuart Taylor to give John Gregory’s side a deserved lead.

11 minutes before half-time, their lead had been doubled. Veteran Steve Staunton launched a deep free-kick into the penalty box and it caused plenty of confusion in the Arsenal backline. Lauren and Freddie Ljungberg failed to clear their lines, allowing Alan Wright to drive the ball back into the danger zone. Campbell produced a vital block to deny Lee Hendrie but the ball fell neatly into the path of Steve Stone and the midfielder took the opportunity with panache. Arsene Wenger needed to make some tactical adjustments to change the course of the match.

The struggling Upson was replaced by Martin Keown at half-time and Sylvain Wiltord was introduced for Ljungberg. Just a minute after his half-time introduction, Wiltord had halved Villa’s advantage with virtually his first touch of the contest. From Ray Parlour’s cross, a deflection off a Villa defender allowed the Frenchman to score with a left-footed volley.

Arsenal were now bossing proceedings and as the second half wore on, Villa started to drop deeper and deeper. With 18 minutes left, the equaliser arrived. Jlloyd Samuel was robbed of possession by Patrick Vieira and Vieira picked out Thierry Henry who kept his composure to equalise.

The pressure continued and Wiltord was denied a second goal by an offside flag but as stoppage-time approached, the winning goal finally arrived for the Gunners. Enckelman’s sloppy goal-kick gave the hosts one final opportunity. Robert Pires was stronger in a 50:50 challenge against a tentative George Boateng and he played Henry through. He made no mistake and scored his 21st goal of the season in all competitions to complete the stirring second half comeback.

The result took Arsenal into second place in the table and they eventually ended up winning the title by seven points – losing just one more Premier League match between this game and the end of the campaign. Gregory left Aston Villa six weeks later and they faded away to eighth in the final table.


Memorable Matches: Arsenal 4-2 Wigan Athletic (May 2006)

Goalscorers: Robert Pires 8, Paul Scharner 10, David Thompson 33, Thierry Henry 35, 56, 76 PEN


Arsenal: Jens Lehmann, Ashley Cole, Emmanuel Eboue, Sol Campbell, Kolo Toure, Gilberto Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Aleksandar Hleb (Robin van Persie 79), Robert Pires (Freddie Ljungberg 74), Jose Antonio Reyes (Dennis Bergkamp 79), Thierry Henry

Wigan Athletic: Mike Pollitt, Leighton Baines, Pascal Chimbonda, Mat Jackson, Paul Scharner, Reto Ziegler (Damien Francis 66), Graham Kavanagh, David Thompson (Andreas Johansson 73 (SENT OFF), Lee McCulloch, Henri Camara (David Connolly 82), Jason Roberts

Referee: Uriah Rennie, Attendance: 38,359

After 93 years, football was about to say goodbye to Highbury as Arsenal prepared to play there for the very last time on the final day of the 2005-2006 season. The Gunners had to better the result of north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur to claim fourth position in the final table and a chance to qualify for the following season’s UEFA Champions League.

Wigan Athletic had nothing to play for as they arrived to complete their first top-flight campaign but they played their part in an entertaining final farewell to Highbury. Before the match, Thierry Henry collected some of his individual prizes, including the Golden Boot and the Football Writers’ Award. There was one more day for the Frenchman to produce another grand performance at the ground.

Arsenal led after just eight minutes. Wigan failed to deal with a corner and from Sol Campbell’s flick-on – Robert Pires scored at the second attempt, having been denied first time round by an instinctive save from Mike Pollitt. It was Pires’ last Premier League goal for the club. He was to be released at the end of the season.

Two minutes later though, the visitors were level. David Thompson’s well-measured free-kick was steered in by centre-back Paul Scharner. Scharner had scored his first Wigan goal earlier in the season in a League Cup semi-final between the teams so he was finding a real liking for playing the Gunners. 12 minutes before half-time, Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann left a gaping hole at a free-kick and Thompson exposed this flaw with a clever set-piece that ended up in the back of Lehmann’s net. Paul Jewell’s Latics were threatening to be the party poopers.

Their lead lasted just two minutes. Aleksandar Hleb won back possession and played Henry through to equalise for his 135th Highbury goal. It was 2-2 at half-time and with Tottenham’s game also level at 1-1 against West Ham United, it was Martin Jol’s side that were on-course to finish fourth.

Into the second half and on 56 minutes, Thompson’s dreadful backpass put Henry through. He evaded Pollitt’s dive, stayed on his feet and put Arsenal 3-2 infront. With 14 minutes left, Arsenal won a penalty. In his first involvement since arriving as a substitute, Freddie Ljungberg went down under a challenge from Andreas Johansson. Uriah Rennie gave the spot-kick and sent the Wigan forward off. Henry made no mistake from the spot, completing his hat-trick, kissing the turf after scoring.

Dennis Bergkamp arrived into the game for his final-ever league match as a professional footballer and on his arrival, cheers went around the ground as Arsenal fans discovered West Ham had taken the lead against Tottenham. The Hammers held on for a 2-1 victory meaning this win was good enough for Arsenal to secure fourth place in the final standings.

There was then a glorious closing ceremony with 90 former players and staff welcomed back for a lap of honour before Arsene Wenger counted down the clock to 00:00:00 with a spectacular fireworks display. Football had finished at Highbury but it had gone out in sensational style.

Shock Results: Bradford City 2-1 Arsenal (February 2000)

Goalscorers: Dean Windass 10, Thierry Henry 13, Dean Saunders 57


Bradford City: Aidan Davison, Gunnar Halle, Andy O’Brien, David Wetherall, Wayne Jacobs, Gareth Whalley, Jamie Lawrence, Stuart McCall, Peter Beagrie, Dean Saunders, Dean Windass (John Dreyer 90)

Arsenal: David Seaman, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Martin Keown, Gilles Grimandi, Stefan Malz (Dennis Bergkamp 67), Emmanuel Petit, Ray Parlour, Freddie Ljungberg, Thierry Henry, Davor Suker

Referee: Andy D’Urso, Attendance: 18,276

After achieving promotion to the Premier League in May 1999, Bradford City were among the favourites to be relegated back to Division One. Paul Jewell’s side were hard-working but struggling to get consistent results when high-flying Arsenal arrived at Valley Parade in February 2000.

The Gunners knew this was a must-win match. They’d played a game more than Manchester United and were trailing the Red Devils by six points. They couldn’t afford any slip-ups but came up against a Bantams side that were about to beat them at their own game.

In the 10th minute, Dean Windass was fouled by Gilles Grimandi on the edge of the penalty area. David Seaman was organising his wall but wasn’t ready for Andy D’Urso allowing Bradford to take a quick free-kick. Windass’ curling effort beat the hesitant England first-choice goalkeeper and scored the 100th league goal of his professional career.

It was a shock lead for the Yorkshire side but it didn’t last long. With Kanu absent through injury and Dennis Bergkamp left on the bench after a nine-week injury absence of his own, Thierry Henry was playing as a lone striker. The Frenchman was beginning to make his name at Arsenal and three minutes after Windass’ goal, he brought Arsenal back onto level terms. His low shot flew past Aidan Davison in the Bradford goal.

Back in the game, the Gunners should have taken the lead before half-time. Davor Suker was sent clean through on-goal but fired wide of the post when it looked easier for the Croatian superstar to find the back of the net. Davison was in great form too. Having denied Henry from point-blank range early on in the match, he then made a flying save 10 minutes into the second half to keep out a diving header from Freddie Ljungberg.

Moments later, Arsene Wenger’s side were stunned as Bradford went back infront. Gareth Whalley’s incisive pass spilt apart the Arsenal centre-backs and latching onto it was the evergreen Dean Saunders. The Welshman struck the ball underneath the advancing Seaman to score his sixth Premier League goal of the season and surely, his most important for the club.

Ljungberg almost equalised straightaway but he had a header cleared off the goal-line by Wayne Jacobs and although Bergkamp did make his return to first-team action in the 67th minute, the Dutchman couldn’t make the sufficient impact to drag Arsenal back into the contest.

With Manchester United beating Coventry City on the same afternoon, Arsenal fell nine points adrift after this embarrassing loss. By the end of the season, that gap between the two sides had doubled, although the Gunners still finished runners-up. On the final day, Bradford added Liverpool FC to their list of scalps and earned themselves a second successive top-flight season off the back of shock results like this triumph over Wenger’s expensively-assembled squad.

Great Goals: Thierry Henry – ARSENAL vs. Manchester United (October 2000)

Manchester United might have recorded a third successive Premier League title victory in 2000-2001 but they didn’t have it all their own way against their chief rivals from London in Arsenal. The Gunners beat them 1-0 at Highbury in the first league meeting of the season between the sides, spearheaded by a truly inspirational moment of sheer quality from Thierry Henry.

Henry was into his second season in north London. He was fast becoming one of the most feared opponents in world football. This was one of his finest Premier League moments. From a short Arsenal free-kick, he got infront of his marker, Denis Irwin. The Frenchman controlled the ball with his first touch, allowing him to half-spin past Irwin and with the ball now in the air; he hit a sweet volley which flew over the top of his international colleague Fabien Barthez and into the net.

Henry was almost off celebrating before the ball hit the back of the net. It was simply majestic and fitting to win a tight contest between these two great rivals.

Premier League Rewind: 26th December 2004

Results: Arsenal 2-0 Fulham, Chelsea 1-0 Aston Villa, Crystal Palace 0-1 Portsmouth, Southampton 0-0 Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers 2-2 Newcastle United, Everton 2-1 Manchester City, Manchester United 2-0 Bolton Wanderers, Norwich City 0-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Birmingham City 2-0 Middlesbrough, West Bromwich Albion 0-5 Liverpool FC

The festive period in the Premier League has always been a joyous period for fans and on Boxing Day 2004, the action was as intense as ever.

Chelsea were the league leaders and were looking to protect or even increase their five-point advantage over the defending champions Arsenal. The Blues beat Aston Villa 1-0 on a cold lunchtime afternoon at Stamford Bridge. Damien Duff’s strike after 30 minutes was enough to keep Jose Mourinho’s team clear at the top of the table. Villa had now lost four of their last five outings and slipped into the realms of mid-table after a promising start to the campaign.

Arsenal kept the pressure on, digging in after a tricky November which had seen them drop points against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion and lose at Anfield to Liverpool FC. Thierry Henry opened the scoring in the 12th minute of their 2-0 victory over Fulham and Robert Pires added a second with both goals being set-up by Freddie Ljungberg. Fulham had lost 11 of their 18 league matches and were just four points clear of the relegation zone.

Considered as one of the relegation favourites at the start of the season, Everton had already reached the usual magical safety mark of 40 points when they defeated Manchester City 2-1. Tim Cahill scored for the second time in the season against the Citizens and although Robbie Fowler equalised on his return to Merseyside, Marcus Bent’s 63rd minute strike settled the contest. City’s defeat was confirmed by Christian Negouai’s late red card.

The team with no form whatsoever at this stage in the season were Bolton Wanderers. Since drawing at Stamford Bridge, Bolton went on a six-game losing streak. The fifth of these came at Old Trafford where Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes both scored in a 2-0 victory for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side. The only negative on the afternoon for United was Wayne Rooney being caught on-camera striking out at Bolton defender Tal Ben-Haim. Whilst there was a clear overreaction to the contact from the Israeli defender, Rooney was charged with violent conduct and eventually banned for three matches. Ferguson was livid with the charge, even though the club accepted his fate. He said the FA’s disciplinary system was “completely flawed” and “immoral.”

If Ferguson was annoyed, his former skipper, Bryan Robson was having a very tough Christmas. West Bromwich Albion were bottom of the table and had lost their last four games. With just one win all season, Baggies supporters were getting the sense of déjà vu. Relegation was looking likely if you went with history and a 5-0 home battering from Liverpool FC on Boxing Day made the situation even worse. Liverpool had only won once all season away from Anfield but took full advantage of the situation to record their biggest victory since Rafa Benitez became manager. John Arne Riise was the star with two goals and Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored his first Premier League goal in a full calendar year.

What else happened in December 2004?

  • The world is left stunned by the devastating Asian tsunami that strikes coastal areas of Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand and the Maldives. This was triggered by an earthquake within the Indian Ocean. Over 200,000 people are killed.
  • After nearly four years in the role, David Blunkett resigns as Home Secretary.
  • £26.5 million is stolen from a Northern Bank in Belfast after one of the biggest robberies in modern day Britain.
  • Double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes is named as the 2004 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
  • The first series of ‘The X-Factor’ concludes with victory for Steve Brookstein.
  • 194 people are killed after a fire in a nightclub in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • France shows off the world’s tallest bridge. The Millau Viaduct is officially opened.

Iconic Moments: Pires’ penalty mishap (October 2005)

In October 2005, Arsenal were playing host to Manchester City at Highbury. Early in the second half, they won a penalty which was routinely converted by Robert Pires to put the home side infront. Ultimately, his spot-kick would be the only goal in the contest. However, this was not the penalty that is remembered from this match.

The Gunners got a second penalty when Stephen Jordan fouled Dennis Bergkamp. It was at this stage when Pires and his French teammate Thierry Henry attempted to copy a move that had been done by Dutch master Johan Cruyff in 1982.

Back then, Cruyff passed to on-running Ajax teammate Jesper Olsen, who drew the goalkeeper before passing back to Cruyff to score.

However, this attempt from Pires and Henry turned into an almighty mishap. It appeared the midfielder was attempted to roll the ball forwards to Henry to finish what should have been a clever move off. Instead, Pires scuffed the attempted pass and referee Mike Riley gave a free-kick to Manchester City.

It was a comic moment and one which is a common feature on blooper DVDs today.

Seasonal Records: 2005-2006

For all the statistical fans out there, here are some of the season’s records from the 2005-2006 Premier League campaign. Chelsea became only the second side in Premier League history to successfully defend the Premier League title as they threatened to dominate the first decade of the new millennium under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.


Position Team P W D L F A GD PTS
1 Chelsea 38 29 4 5 72 22 +50 91
2 Manchester United 38 25 8 5 72 34 +38 83
3 Liverpool FC 38 25 7 6 57 25 +32 82
4 Arsenal 38 20 7 11 68 31 +37 67
5 Tottenham Hotspur 38 18 11 9 53 38 +15 65
6 Blackburn Rovers 38 19 6 13 51 42 +9 63
7 Newcastle United 38 17 7 14 47 42 +5 58
8 Bolton Wanderers 38 15 11 12 49 41 +8 56
9 West Ham United 38 16 7 15 52 55 -3 55
10 Wigan Athletic 38 15 6 17 45 52 -7 51
11 Everton 38 14 8 16 34 49 -15 50
12 Fulham 38 14 6 18 48 58 -10 48
13 Charlton Athletic 38 13 8 17 41 55 -14 47
14 Middlesbrough 38 12 9 17 48 58 -10 45
15 Manchester City 38 13 4 21 43 48 -5 43
16 Aston Villa 38 10 12 16 42 55 -13 42
17 Portsmouth 38 10 8 20 37 62 -25 38
18 Birmingham City 38 8 10 20 28 50 -22 34
19 West Bromwich Albion 38 7 9 22 31 58 -27 30
20 Sunderland 38 3 6 29 26 69 -43 15



Goals Scored 944
European qualifiers Chelsea (UEFA Champions League)

Manchester United (UEFA Champions League)

Liverpool FC (UEFA Champions League)

Arsenal (UEFA Champions League)

Tottenham Hotspur (UEFA Cup)

Blackburn Rovers (UEFA Cup)

West Ham United (UEFA Cup)

Newcastle United (UEFA Intertoto Cup)

Longest winning run 10 games (Chelsea & Liverpool FC)
Longest unbeaten run 13 games (Chelsea)
Longest winless run 14 games (Sunderland)
Longest losing run 9 games (Sunderland)
Highest attendance 73,006 (Manchester United vs. Charlton Athletic)
Lowest attendance 16,550 (Fulham vs. Birmingham City)



PFA Players’ Player of the Year Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC)
PFA Young Player of the Year Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
Football Writers’ Award Thierry Henry (Arsenal)
PFA Team of the Year Shay Given, Jamie Carragher, Pascal Chimbonda, William Gallas, John Terry, Joe Cole, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Cristiano Ronaldo, Thierry Henry, Wayne Rooney
Manager of the Year Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)
Premier League Goal of the Season Matt Taylor (Sunderland vs. PORTSMOUTH)



Player Teams Score Date
Marlon Harewood West Ham United vs. Aston Villa 4-0 12th September 2005
Henri Camara Wigan Athletic vs. Charlton Athletic 3-0 17th December 2005
Michael Owen West Ham United vs. Newcastle United 2-4 17th December 2005
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Middlesbrough 7-0 14th January 2006
David Bentley Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United 4-3 1st February 2006
Luke Moore Middlesbrough vs. Aston Villa 0-4 4th February 2006
Thierry Henry Arsenal vs. Wigan Athletic 4-2 7th May 2006



Position Player Teams No of Goals
1 Thierry Henry Arsenal 27
2 Ruud van Nistelrooy Manchester United 21
3 Darren Bent Charlton Athletic 18
4= Frank Lampard Chelsea 16
4= Wayne Rooney Manchester United 16
4= Robbie Keane Tottenham Hotspur 16
7 Marlon Harewood West Ham United 14
8 Craig Bellamy Blackburn Rovers 13
9= Didier Drogba Chelsea 12
9= Henri Camara Wigan Athletic 12
9= Yakubu Middlesbrough 12
12= Mido Tottenham Hotspur 11
12= Collins John Fulham 11
14= Hernan Crespo Chelsea 10
14= Steven Gerrard Liverpool FC 10
14= Alan Shearer Newcastle United 10
14= James Beattie Everton 10
14= Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink Middlesbrough 10
19= Cristiano Ronaldo Manchester United 9
19= Djibril Cisse Liverpool FC 9
19= Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 9
19= Morten Gamst Pedersen Blackburn Rovers 9
19= Shola Ameobi Newcastle United 9
19= Stelios Giannakopoulos Bolton Wanderers 9
19= Brian McBride Fulham 9


Arsenal 7-0 Middlesbrough 14th January 2006
Fulham 6-1 West Bromwich Albion 11th February 2006
Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa 1st April 2006
Birmingham City 5-0 Portsmouth 21st January 2006
Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 15th October 2005
Liverpool FC 5-1 Fulham 15th March 2006
Chelsea 4-0 West Bromwich Albion 24th August 2005
Manchester United 4-0 Wigan Athletic 14th December 2005
Arsenal 4-0 Portsmouth 28th December 2005
Everton 0-4 Bolton Wanderers 17th December 2005



No of Goals Teams Date
7 Arsenal 7-0 Middlesbrough 14th January 2006
7 Fulham 6-1 West Bromwich Albion 11th February 2006
7 Charlton Athletic 2-5 Manchester City 4th December 2005
7 Blackburn Rovers 4-3 Manchester United 1st February 2006
7 Wigan Athletic 4-3 Manchester City 26th December 2005
7 Middlesbrough 4-3 Bolton Wanderers 26th March 2006
6 Chelsea 5-1 Bolton Wanderers 15th October 2005
6 Liverpool FC 5-1 Fulham 15th March 2006
6 Chelsea 4-2 Blackburn Rovers 29th October 2005
6 Manchester United 4-2 Fulham 4th February 2006
6 Arsenal 4-2 Wigan Athletic 7th May 2006
6 West Ham United 2-4 Newcastle United 17th December 2005
6 West Ham United 2-4 Portsmouth 18th March 2006
6 Middlesbrough 3-3 Tottenham Hotspur 18th December 2005
6 Fulham 3-3 Aston Villa 28th December 2005
5 Arsenal 5-0 Aston Villa 1st April 2006
5 Birmingham City 5-0 Portsmouth 21st January 2006
5 Liverpool FC 1-4 Chelsea 2nd October 2005
5 Manchester United 4-1 Bolton Wanderers 31st December 2005
5 Arsenal 4-1 Fulham 24th August 2005



Player Teams Age at the time Date
James Vaughan Fulham 1-0 Everton 17 years, 1 month, 13 days 27th August 2005
Josh Walker Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough 17 years, 2 months, 16 days 7th May 2006
Micah Richards Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City 17 years, 3 months, 28 days 22nd October 2005
Lee Cattermole Newcastle United 2-2 Middlesbrough 17 years, 9 months, 12 days 2nd January 2006
Victor Anichebe Everton 0-0 Birmingham City 17 years, 11 months, 30 days 22nd April 2006
Alex Song Arsenal 2-0 Everton 18 years, 10 days 19th September 2005
Adam Johnson Middlesbrough 2-1 Arsenal 18 years, 1 month, 27 days 10th September 2005
Mark Noble West Ham United 3-1 Blackburn Rovers 18 years, 3 months, 5 days 13th August 2005
Cesc Fabregas Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United 18 years, 3 months, 10 days 14th August 2005
Jaroslaw Fojut Portsmouth 1-1 Bolton Wanderers 18 years, 3 months, 14 days 31st January 2006



Player Teams Age at the time Date
Teddy Sheringham West Ham United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 40 years, 1 month, 5 days 7th May 2006
Nigel Martyn Everton 1-0 Arsenal 39 years, 5 months, 10 days 21st January 2006
Colin Cooper Fulham 1-0 Middlesbrough 39 years, 2 months, 9 days 7th May 2006
Shaka Hislop West Ham United 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur 37 years, 2 months, 15 days 7th May 2006
Dennis Bergkamp Arsenal 4-2 Wigan Athletic 36 years, 11 months, 27 days 7th May 2006
Mark Crossley Sunderland 2-1 Fulham 36 years, 10 months, 18 days 4th May 2006
Gary Speed Bolton Wanderers 1-0 Birmingham City 36 years, 7 months, 29 days 7th May 2006
Chris Powell Manchester United 4-0 Charlton Athletic 36 years, 7 months, 29 days 7th May 2006
Jens Lehmann Arsenal 4-2 Wigan Athletic 36 years, 5 months, 27 days 7th May 2006
Nico Vaesen Manchester City 4-1 Birmingham City 36 years, 2 months, 19 days 17th December 2005



Position Player Teams No of Clean Sheets
1 Pepe Reina Liverpool FC 20
2 Edwin van der Sar Manchester United 19
3 Petr Cech Chelsea 18
4= Jens Lehmann Arsenal 16
4= Brad Friedel Blackburn Rovers 16
6 Jussi Jaaskelainen Bolton Wanderers 15
7= Paul Robinson Tottenham Hotspur 13
7= Shay Given Newcastle United 13
9 Thomas Sorensen Aston Villa 11
10 Thomas Myhre Charlton Athletic 9

The Managers: Jean Tigana

Premier League Clubs Managed: Fulham (2001-2003)

During the 1980s, Jean Tigana was widely considered as one of the game’s most gifted midfielders. He was a box-to-box midfielder who had endless amounts of stamina, pace and the ability to get forward and create goalscoring opportunities for his teammates.

Management took him to clubs in Turkey, China and his homeland in France. In the Premier League, he spent nearly two seasons with Fulham. They were tempestuous times but he did keep the Cottagers comfortably away from any significant relegation danger before his abrupt departure from west London in April 2003.

Semi-final pain became a regular theme

Management might have taken him globetrotting but Jean Tigana’s entire playing days were spent in just one country – France. He started his professional career as a player at Toulon, making his debut aged 20. At the time, Toulon were only a part-time team so he had to earn his keep elsewhere too, with jobs including working as a postman and in a spaghetti factory!

Those days well and truly ended when Lyon signed him in 1978, where he spent three years of his career, before giving his prime days to Bordeaux. In the 1980s, Bordeaux were the main side in French football. Having joined them for £4 million in 1981, Tigana won three league titles with the wine-region city and three domestic cups. Bordeaux didn’t quite reach the promise land of success in continental competition. They lost in the 1985 European Cup semi-finals to eventual winners Juventus and were also beaten in the 1987 Cup Winners’ Cup semis by Lokomotive Leipzig who were one of the stronger German sides until the country’s reunification.

Losing semi-finals was nothing new to Tigana. It was the same at the World Cup as France came up short in 1982 and 1986, losing semi-finals in Spain and Mexico to that old adversary in West Germany. He was part of “The Magic Square” alongside Michel Platini, Luis Fernandez and Alain Giresse in what was considered one of the greatest midfield quadruples the game has ever seen. The World Cup eluded him but Tigana was part of the squad that won the 1984 European Championships on home soil which was easily his biggest honour as a player.

He retired from international duty in 1988 and ended his playing career completely at the end of the 1990-1991 campaign, ending his days with Marseille.

Surprising Fergie and United

After taking a couple of years away from football, Tigana returned to the game in a management capacity in 1993, starting out with Lyon. After two seasons with the French side where he missed out on any major honours, he took the job at AS Monaco which turned out to be a qualified success.

Monaco became French champions in 1997 and a year later, Jean pulled off one of his finest results as a manager as the club from the principality beat Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United on away goals in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. It was at this time where he started to mould the greatness of Thierry Henry, who made his first impacts on football with Monaco before getting bigger moves to Juventus and then, Arsenal. It was Juve who crushed Monaco’s Champions League dream in 1997-1998, beating them 6-4 on aggregate in two absorbing semi-final encounters. In total, he won 92 of his 170 matches’ in-charge of Monaco.

In April 2000, he stepped out of his comfort zone of managing in his home country and took up the post at Fulham after Kevin Keegan had quit, taking the England job on a full-time basis. In his first full season, Tigana guided Fulham to the First Division title and therefore, a first top-flight campaign beckoned in 30 years.

His first match in the Premier League with Fulham was away at Old Trafford and he nearly surprised Fergie and United again, with Louis Saha giving the visitors the lead twice before two Ruud van Nistelrooy goals saw the reigning champions home to a nervy 3-2 victory. He managed to acquire Edwin van der Sar from Juventus and Fulham played some attractive football in their first season at this level. They finished a creditable 13th in the table and reached the FA Cup semi-finals before being beaten by west London rivals Chelsea.

Season two with Fulham was a tougher experience. With Craven Cottage being redeveloped into an all-seater stadium, the club had to play their home matches at Loftus Road, ground sharing with Queens Park Rangers. They did reach the dizzy heights of fourth place in early October and beat Liverpool FC a month later but the relationship between Tigana and the board was beginning to breakdown.

He was accused of overpaying on transfer fees, with the acquisition of Steve Marlet coming under particular scrutiny. Contract negotiations stalled and eventually broke down and after a limp 4-0 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers, Fulham elected to dispense with his services in April 2003. Former club captain Chris Coleman would steer the club through the rest of the season and beyond.

Tigana would later take Fulham to court for wrongful dismissal and won £2.5 million in damages. It was a sad end to a chapter that started so rosy between the Frenchman and the Premier League newcomers.

After two years away, Jean returned to the managerial circle with Besiktas, taking them to back-to-back successes in the Turkish Cup for the first time in eight years. They were his last managerial honours. Less successful spells followed with Bordeaux in 2010-2011 and more recently, in China with Shanghai Shenhua where he lasted just five matches in 2012.

He was sometimes difficult to please but Jean Tigana enjoyed a relatively successful playing career and has enjoyed great moments in management too. However, six years have now passed since his last managerial experience so it is highly unlikely we will see him in the coaching limelight in the future.

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.


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



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)



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)



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



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


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



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



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



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



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

Seasonal Records: 2002-2003

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


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



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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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



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

Premier League Rewind: 19th-20th November 2005

Results: Wigan Athletic 2-3 Arsenal, Charlton Athletic 1-3 Manchester United, Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle United, Liverpool FC 3-0 Portsmouth, Manchester City 0-0 Blackburn Rovers, Sunderland 1-3 Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion 4-0 Everton, Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Ham United, Middlesbrough 3-2 Fulham, Birmingham City P-P Bolton Wanderers

After an international break, the Premier League resumed on the 19th-20th November 2005 with Chelsea threatening to run away with the title. However, Jose Mourinho’s side had been beaten for the first time in 40 top-flight matches last time out by Manchester United, so that gave some flickering hopes to the challengers.

If there was going to be any let-up from the reigning champions, they didn’t show it at home to Newcastle United. Second half goals from Joe Cole, Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff set the Blues’ up for an easy 3-0 victory over the Magpies.

Going into the weekend, newly-promoted Wigan Athletic were Chelsea’s nearest challengers. Paul Jewell’s side had strung together a stunning nine-game unbeaten sequence which included eight victories. However, they were about to face some of the Premier League’s big-hitters. First up was Arsenal who were struggling to sparkle away from Highbury. However, they prevailed in an entertaining Saturday lunchtime kick-off. Thierry Henry scored twice as the Gunners won this match 3-2 and Wigan would go onto lose their next four matches.

That result pushed Arsenal into the top four and they were joined there by Manchester United, who won 3-1 at Charlton Athletic. Ruud van Nistelrooy continued his excellent season so far, scoring twice. The win at The Valley came 24 hours after United had confirmed they had parted company with skipper Roy Keane, releasing him from his contract by mutual consent. Keane would sign for Celtic a month later.

Bolton Wanderers started the weekend in the top three but would drop down to fifth spot through no fault of their own. Their Monday Night Football trip to Birmingham City was postponed by referee Phil Dowd just an hour before kick-off. Although the pitch was playable at St Andrews, heavy fog had set in and visibility was considered to be too dangerous for the game to be played.

After a slow start to the season, Liverpool FC were beginning to find their form. They recorded a third successive victory with a 3-0 win at home to struggling Portsmouth. Peter Crouch’s goalscoring drought continued as he had a penalty saved but Bolo Zenden scored the rebound effort in his final Premier League match of the campaign before a knee injury curtailed his debut season at Anfield. It was also the final match in charge for Alain Perrin. He was sacked a few days later and became the first managerial casualty of the 2005-2006 season.

If things were going better for Liverpool, they didn’t improve for David Moyes at Everton. After last season’s fine fourth-place finish, they were finding the going much more difficult this time around. Everton lost 4-0 in the Saturday teatime kick-off to West Bromwich Albion which kept them in the bottom three on goal difference, along with Birmingham and Sunderland who lost again – 3-1 at home to Aston Villa.

What else happened in November 2005?

  • The footballing world mourns the death of one of Britain’s finest players as George Best passes away in hospital, aged 59 after a long battle with illness.
  • Angela Merkel becomes the first female Chancellor of Germany.
  • Former British World Rally champion Richard Burns dies at the age of 34 from a brain tumour. Burns had won the championship with Subaru just four years earlier.
  • Digital channel ITV4 is launched.
  • The Safeway supermarket brand disappears after 43 years on the high street as Morrisons completes its conversion programme. The two companies had merged in March 2004.
  • New licensing laws come into effect which allows pubs and clubs in England and Wales to open 24 hours for the first time.

Premier League Rewind: 23rd-24th August 2002

Results: Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United, Manchester City 1-0 Newcastle United, Birmingham City 0-1 Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers 1-2 Charlton Athletic, Liverpool FC 3-0 Southampton, Middlesbrough 2-2 Fulham, Sunderland 0-1 Everton, Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Aston Villa, West Ham United 2-2 Arsenal, West Bromwich Albion 1-3 Leeds United

The second weekend of the 2002-2003 season was a strange one in terms of days when matches were played. It might have been a traditional weekend, but by Saturday evening, all 20 teams had featured and there were no Sunday/Monday matches. There were still 26 goals though in the 10 games.

The programme began with a Friday night match between two of the Premier League’s big heavyweights as Chelsea and Manchester United battled it out at Stamford Bridge. The Blues’ made the quicker start and William Gallas headed them ahead inside of three minutes. David Beckham produced a brilliant equaliser in a match where the goals scored were of the highest quality. Bolo Zenden scored a tremendous individual effort of his own on the stroke of half-time to put Chelsea back ahead. The points would ultimately be shared as Ryan Giggs scored in the second half after a thunderous United counter-attack.

Reigning champions Arsenal had an almighty scare away to West Ham United. West Ham were coming off the back of a humbling 4-0 defeat to Newcastle United in their first match of the season but looked on-track to send the Gunners’ tumbling to their first league defeat of 2002. Goals from Joe Cole and Freddie Kanoute had the Hammers’ 2-0 up and it could have been 3-0 – only for David Seaman to save Kanoute’s very weak penalty. Arsenal showed their fighting spirit to recover the deficit and leave with a draw. Thierry Henry and Sylvain Wiltord both scored powerful efforts that nearly burst the Upton Park goal nets.

Another 2-2 game took place at the Riverside Stadium where Middlesbrough threw their game away at home to Fulham. Summer signing Massimo Maccarone scored twice on his home debut to have Steve McClaren’s side cruising to victory. Unbelievably, they gave this away in stoppage-time. Sean Davis and Facundo Sava scored to salvage an unlikely point for the Londoners. This game also got fans to see Sava’s traditional celebration for the first time – ‘The man with the mask!’

It looked like Anfield was about to welcome a new hero in the form of El-Hadji Diouf. Gerard Houllier had spent big money (£11million) to take one of the stars of the World Cup finals that summer to Merseyside. It initially looked like being a sound investment, especially after Diouf scored twice on his home debut in a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton. Danny Murphy got the third from the penalty spot. Little did LFC fans know that day that this double act from Diouf would turn out to be his most meaningful contribution in a Liverpool FC shirt.

Kevin Keegan was facing former foes in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off and beating them too. Ex-Newcastle United forward Darren Huckerby scored the only goal as Keegan’s Manchester City beat Newcastle 1-0 at Maine Road. Newcastle would have another excellent season under Sir Bobby Robson’s guidance but a terrible away record early season scuppered their title challenge. The Magpies’ won just once away from home from August to early December.

Premier League newcomers Birmingham City and West Bromwich Albion were finding life tough at this level. Both lost their first home matches on this particular weekend. Birmingham fell 1-0 to Blackburn Rovers with Dwight Yorke scoring the only goal. West Brom were taken apart by a ruthless Leeds United side at The Hawthorns. The Baggies’ lost 3-1, with Lee Bowyer scoring the pick of the visitors’ goals.

Elsewhere, Charlton Athletic came from a goal down to beat Bolton Wanderers 2-1 and there were 1-0 victories for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur over Sunderland and Aston Villa respectively. It said a lot for the competiveness of the Premier League that after two matches, only Liverpool FC and Leeds United could boast 100% records. Neither would play a part in the title outcome come May, so this was another example of early days where the table wasn’t taking any detailed shape.

What else happened in August 2002?

  • The UK is left shocked after the disappearance of 10-year-old Soham schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman.
  • 118 soldiers are killed when a Chechen missile outside of Grozny strikes down a Russian Mi-26 helicopter.
  • Johannesburg in South Africa hosts Earth Summit 2002 with the main aim – discussing sustainable development by the UN.
  • The first series of “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me out of Here!” begins on ITV. Radio DJ Tony Blackburn will end as the winner.
  • The 2002 Commonwealth Games close in Manchester.