Wenger, nine that define 900
Against Norwich today, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger marks a huge moment in his Gunners career by reaching the milestone of 900 games in charge. To commemorate this feat by the French coach, FIFA.com looks back over nine matches which will help define his legacy at the club.
Arsenal 4-0 Everton – Highbury, 3 May 1998
After narrowly missing out on UEFA Champions League in his debut campaign, Wenger’s first full season ended spectacularly as Arsenal blossomed during the second half of 1997/98. In the 14 games between 30 January and lifting the championship they conceded just two goals to overhaul Manchester United’s 12-point lead. They clinched their first title in seven years when captain Tony Adams capped off a 4-0 win over Everton to send the home fans into raptures.
Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United – Wembley, 16 May 1998
Having needed three replays and two penalty shoot-out wins, Arsenal failed to replicate their league form en route to the FA Cup final. Having just claimed the Premier League title though, Wenger’s side were full of confidence when they travelled to Wembley. Goals from Marc Overmars and a 19-year-old Nicolas Anelka secured the win to make Arsenal only the second side to do the double twice.
Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal – Old Trafford, 8 May 2002
Winning the league in the backyard of your title rivals is one thing, but end three years of frustration in doing so - following a period of Manchester United domination - was even sweeter. In a hard-fought game in the penultimate match of the season, coming just three days after their FA Cup triumph over Chelsea, Sylvain Wiltord scored the decisive goal. The win saw Wenger become only the second manager to claim two English league and cup doubles.
Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal – San Siro, 25 November 2003
With just a point from their first three games of the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League group stages, Arsenal’s hopes of reaching the knockout rounds hung by a thread. After an imperious 3-0 win for Inter Milan at Highbury, the Gunners' chances looked slim in Italy. Enter Thierry Henry. The French striker scored two and made two, his second a sensational solo effort, in a performance that reinvigorated Wenger's team's European hopes.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-2 Arsenal – White Hart Lane, 25 April 2004
Much like two years before, Arsenal got the chance to visit one of their biggest rivals and win the Premier League. A draw was all they needed against Tottenham Hotspur, but the Gunners were swiftly ahead inside three minutes, as the talismanic trio of Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and captain Patrick Vieira combined, before Robert Pires doubled the lead. While a second-half fight back prevented victory, the Gunners basked in championship glory.
Arsenal 2-1 Leicester City – Highbury, 15 May 2004
With the league already in the bag, Arsenal had the huge incentive of an unbeaten season on the line to keep them focused on the final day of the 2003/04 season. With Leicester City already relegated, most thought the day would be a relaxing procession into the history books, but Paul Dickov’s first-half goal shredded the fans’ nerves. Ashley Cole was clumsily felled in the penalty area to allow Henry to restore hope after half-time, before a Bergkamp through-ball saw Vieira skip round the keeper and slot home to end the record-breaking season in style.
Real Madrid 0-1 Arsenal – Bernabeu, 21 February 2006
Arsenal arrived at the Bernabeu with little hope given to them when they faced Real Madrid in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League last-16 first leg. They travelled with a makeshift backline, while being out of form, to take on the mighty Galacticos of Real, who had never lost on home soil to an English side. However, Wenger’s side were solid and controlled the game, before claiming victory with one of Henry’s all-time great goals. Picking up the ball on the edge of the centre-circle, the Frenchman drove past four Real challenges with strength and power before slotting a left-footed strike past Iker Casillas.
Villarreal 0-0 Arsenal – El Madrigal, 25 April 2006
Having made it past Real and Juventus, Arsenal were dealt their first UEFA Champions League knockout tie not as underdogs, as a plucky Villarreal had battled through the semi-final. After a tight 1-0 win for the Gunners at Highbury, the Spanish side were tough on home territory. Villarreal peppered the visitor’s goal looking for an equaliser, before Gael Clichy gave away a penalty minutes from time. Juan Roman Riquelme's penalty was spectacularly saved by Jens Lehmann though, taking Arsenal and Wenger to the final and the club to new heights.
Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur – The Emirates, 26 February 2012
Widely regarded as Arsenal’s greatest ever day at the Emirates, superseding last year’s 2-1 victory over Barcelona, this season’s 5-2 north-London derby win is cherished as much for its unexpectedness as its scoreline. With contrasting form going into the game, the Gunners were 2-0 down after 34 minutes and fearing the worst, but a monumental comeback left even the most optimistic fan speechless, with the five goals in 30 minutes providing the high-point of 2011/12.