Arsenal may be playing Thursday nights in Europa League right now but they were once the indomitable force in England and Europe. Strewn with history, the club fought tragedies and roadblocks to fight shoulder to shoulder with Manchester United and Liverpool through the Premiership era and before. We take a look at the Top 10 victories of the London club over the years.
10. Arsenal vs Everton, 1998 Premier League
The Gunners had appointed Arsene Wenger as head coach a year back and the French had made the big calls, singing the likes of Overmars and Petit. However, the moment of spotlight came for Wenger when a 24 game unbeaten run left Arsenal within sniffing distance of the Premiership, needing 3 points of 3 games.
And boy, they did it in style, becoming champions at Highbury against Everton with a thumping 4-0 win with two games to spare.
9. Arsenal v Manchester United, 1979 FA Cup Final
The London outfit had lost the Final a year earlier against Ipswich Town and this time they were squaring up against arch-rivals Manchester United for the FA Cup. The Gunners led 2-0 at halftime thanks to a couple of brilliant team goals, but United struck back through McQueen and McIlroy at the fag end of the game.
With minutes remaining on the clock, Sunderland scored from a delightful Brady cross to make it 3-2 in favor of Arsenal and lift the FA Cup. True drama!
8. Villareal vs Arsenal, 2006 UEFA Champions League SemiFinal 2nd Leg
While Arsenal only drew this game 0-0, they did advance to the Final of the Champions League for the first time in their long history thanks to Kolo Toure’s strike in the first leg in London. The hero of the match was Arsenal’s then backup goalkeeper Jens Lehmann who saved shots from Forlan and then a stoppage time penalty from Riquelme.
The final could have been better for the German though.
7. Arsenal v Inter Milan, 2003-04 UEFA Champions League
Thierry Henry had one of the games of his life at the iconic San Siro against Inter Milan. Imagine a backline of Materazzi, Cannavaro and Zanetti conceding 5 goals and you know how lethal Henry was on the night.
He made 2 and scored 2 as Arsenal overcame a 3-0 home victory to win 5-4 on aggregate.
6. Real Madrid v Arsenal, 2006-07 UEFA Champions League Quarter Final 1st Leg
Another Henry show, this time at the Santiago Bernabeu, where no English team had ever won before. The Gunners were carrying a list of injuries and their make-shift team did wonders as they came away with a vital away goal in their 1-0 victory over Los Blancos.
The star of the show, Thierry Henry scored a wonderful goal just after halftime, beating Sergio Ramos for speed and then Casillas for precision.
5. Manchester United v Arsenal, 2001-02 Premier League
Having already won the FA Cup against Chelsea at Wembley, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal headed to arch-rivals Manchester United looking for a club record 4th double. The goal came very early in the game, thanks to a brilliant interplay between Arsenal’s defense and attack, enabling French striker Slyvain Wiltord to smash home the rebound that Fabian Barthez had saved.
The game was a statement of what was cooking at Highbury and Arsene Wenger’s dominance on the English game.
4. Liverpool v Arsenal, 1970-71 FA Cup Final
Spurs were the only side to have won a double in the twentieth century in the English game. Arsenal changed that at the abode of English football, the Wembley stadium against a fearful Liverpool side that stood in their way of their first double in the history of the club.
After the match ended 0-0 in regulation time, Arsenal responded to Liverpool early goal in extra time, scoring twice to secure the famous old trophy and complete the much anticipated double.
3. Tottenham Hotspurs v Arsenal, 2003-04 Premier League
33 games unbeaten, the Invincibles of Arsenal arrived at White Hart Lane, the home of their cross town rivals Tottenham Hotspurs with the Premier League title on the line.
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The Spurs fans were desperate to avoid Arsenal winning the title at their ground, but that’s exactly what happened as Arsene Wenger’s team, the unstoppable force through the season, went on to score two and although Robbie Keane and Jamie Redknapp levelled twice,
Arsenal revelled in the joy of winning the league at the home of Spurs.
2. Liverpool v Arsenal, 1988-89 Premier League
Arsenal had led the title race for most of the season, but George Graham’s side lost the plot in the penultimate games of the season, with a draw and a defeat. Liverpool had caught up and the Gunners needed a miracle at Anfield to be champions after 18 years. The match was brilliantly poised and Arsenal took the lead right after halftime. Liverpool kept them at bay, knowing that a 1-0 defeat would mean they still end up champions.
However, it was Thomas who had the final say as he scored a late goal, one off a brilliant counter-attack to win Arsenal the Premiership at the home of the most successful English club in history, Liverpool.
1. Arsenal v Newcastle United, 1998 FA Cup Final
Arsene Wenger was chasing his first double and Arsenal’s third as they squared up against Kenny Danglish’s Newcastle United at Wembley. Having already secured the title weeks earlier, the Gunners were upbeat but knew that destiny awaited them as they got onto the pitch against Newcastle.
A goal in each half meant the Londoners were the champions again and were taking the Cup back to Highbury. The victory paved the way for future successes and more silverware as Arsene Wenger would compete for the biggest prizes in World football.