Five years without a trophy. It can be tough to be an Arsenal fan sometimes. However, the last decade has had a number of highpoints. Of particular prominence are a masterful Frenchmen, unforgettable European nights, and Premier League and FA Cup glory. Do away with all the doom and gloom and let’s countdown the top 10 greatest Arsenal related moments of the decade.
10. Henry inspires 5-1 win over Inter Milan
On November 25, 2003 Arsenal inflicted upon Inter Milan their heaviest home defeat in 47 years of European football. Had Arsenal lost, they would have been eliminated from the Champion’s League. But far from losing, they tore Inter Milan apart in one of the most memorable European performances of the decade. At the centre of the rout was Thierry Henry who grabbed a hat-trick.
9. Arsenal beat Real Madrid at the Bernabau
The Gunners became the first side to beat Real Madrid at the Bernabau on February 21, 2006. Despite being crippled by injuries, Arséne Wenger’s side often had Real Madrid on the ropes. In the end it was Thierry Henry’s astonishing solo goal two minutes after half time that decided the game. The belief that this result brought with it was enough to take the Gunners through to the Champion’s League Final.
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8. Henry becomes the club’s record scorer
Thierry arrived at Highbury from Juventus in 1999. Back then he was just another talented winger – who was to know he would become one of the greatest players to ever grace the Premier League? Not only was he an extraordinarily gifted and graceful player, but he also had a remarkable eye for goal. On October 18th when Arsenal played Sparta Prague, Henry beat Ian Wright’s (who scored 185 goals for Arsenal) goal scoring record to become the club’s top scorer. Henry went on to scored 226 Arsenal goals.
7. The 2005 FA Cup Triumph
Who can forget the 2005 FA Cup Final penalty shoot-out? If Arsenal fans are honest, they were lucky to have made it into extra time with the score even. Arsenal’s opponents, Manchester United looked like they wanted it more. All the more disappointing for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, then, that Arsenal were able to triumph in the resulting Penalty shoot-out. Scholes missed his penalty kick which was enough to ensure that United rued all their missed chances.
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6. Invincibles clinch title at White Hart Lane
It was inevitable that Arsenal would win the Premier League in the 2003/4 season. A remarkable run of form saw them go the whole season unbeaten. Towards the close of the season, it wasn’t so much a case of whether Arsenal would win the Premiership, but when and where. A 2-2 draw with Spurs at White Hart Lane was enough to clinch the title on April 25th 2004. Spurs fans will remember and loathe the chant “we won the League at White Hart Lane” for a long time.
5. Wiltord goal clinches the double
The Gunners pulled off a remarkable feat by winning their final thirteen Premiership fixtures in the 2001/2 season to clinch the title. Arsenal were beginning to play the quick, fluid, dynamic passing game that they would become renowned for. It’s a testament to their attacking spirit that the Gunners scored in every single league game that season. Even better for Arsenal, they made it to the FA Cup Final, where a single goal was enough to see off Manchester United and seal the double.
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4. Arsenal wave goodbye to Highbury
For 93 years Arsenal were at home at Highbury. This all changed on May 7th, 2006, when Arsenal waved goodbye to their old stadium. The 2005/6 season wasn’t a great one for Arsenal in the Premier League, who were left to scrap it out with Spurs for the fourth and final Champion’s League place. Arsenal’s last game at Highbury was a scintillating 4-2 victory over Wigan Athletic who were undone by a Thierry Henry hat-trick. It was enough to secure the coveted fourth place in the Premier League table – what a way to say goodbye.
3. The Start of a new era at the Emirates
With Highbury consigned to the memory, it was time for Arsenal to move into their new home. On July 22, 2006, The Emirates stadium was host to its first game – Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial. The Emirates stadium is without doubt one of the best football stadiums in the world and Arsenal are now begining to reap the financial benefits that come with the Emirates increased capacity.
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2. Arsenal make it to the Champions League Final
2006 was the year that Arsenal made it through to the Final of the Champion’s League for the first time in their history. This was mainly a result of good defending – the Gunners kept 10 successive clean sheets in that Champion’s League campaign – and good counter-attacking football. The final itself probably isn’t such a great memory for Arsenal fans. Arsenal were thirteen minutes away from winning the European cup, but they gave away two goals towards the end of the game.
1. Arsenal are ‘The Invincibles’
Between May 2003 and October 2004 Arsenal went unbeaten in the Premier League – that’s a total of 49 games without a single loss. That’s the kind of record that’s going to remain in people’s memories for a long time. This was a free-scoring, uninhibited team who played some of the best football in the game’s history. The run ended at Old Trafford in a 2-0 loss. By that stage Arsenal had played 49 games, won 36 and drawn 13. Here’s a commemorative video of the Gunner’s amazing feat set to overly heroic music.
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