This Saturday will see Arsene Wenger take control of his 1000th Arsenal game. Throughout 18 years in charge we have seen momentous games and jaw dropping displays, but we have also had our hearts broken. In this blog we pay homage to Le Professor by asking fellow blogger to take us through their favorite Arsenal game as well as their all time Wenger XI.
Alex – @The_Beck_
Nothing captures your mind quite like a win against United in their prime, a United with Ronaldo, an in-form Rooney & Berbatov and a later subbed in Tevez.
On November 8th, 2008, we played United after losing and drawing quite a few games early on in the season, setting doubts deep within fans that our style of play was no longer worth watching, that it was a luxury with no end product and no Plan B.
We started the game with a French back four, Sagna, Gallas, Silvestre and Clichy, with Nasri. Cesc and Denilson in the middle. Bendtner started upfront and Walcott and Diaby were on the wings. The ferocious Almunia occupying the place between the sticks.
Our bench consisted of Ramsey, Wilshere, Vela, Djourou, Song, all of them were around 20 or under, all of them felt like products of our policy, as were most of those who were playing.
We dominated them from start until finish, tired them out and made them look average on the day, it was a flash of Wengerball at its finest, a flash of what its been like over the last 9 years, no illustrious trophy but memories that remind us that whilst we’ve been the underdog, we’ve still made memories to remind the world that we’re The Arsenal. We’ve taken our game to the biggest of the bunch even when we didn’t have the quality/squad to be consistent enough.
We earned so much respect that day from all over the world, playing our way, reminding the world once again that underneath the politics of the board room, the spending policies and sales, Wengerball will always find its way to shine eventually and in the future, I am confident it will shine again.
Favourite Arsene XI – Lehmann – Cole – Adams – Campbell – Sagna – Vieira – Cesc – Ozil – Henry – Bergkamp – Pires – 4-1-3-2
Dave – @goonerdave66 You can find Dave over at – 1nildown2oneup.net
When asked to pick highlights from the Wenger era it would be easy to select Cup Finals or matched at which titles were clinched but oddly these are not the games to came to the fore of my mind. The matches that are so often special for the fans are so often the last home games of a season for me and in the Wenger era so many of these have been memorable but I will select 3 in succession.
In 2004 there was understandable tension on the 15th May as Leicester came to Highbury. The title had been secured weeks earlier but history , real history, was just 90 minutes away. Arsenal were one last performance away from an unbeaten domestic season in the league. An Arsenal old boy Paul Dickow had the nerve to opening the scoring for the Foxes and we all had to endure the half time interval still behind. Appropriatley perhaps it was Henry from the spot and then Captain Marvel, Paddy,who scored. The party began and a day to say I was there when Wenger and his team made history.
In 2005 with a Cup Final waiting the visitors in the penultimate match and last home fixture were Everton. A crazy game in which we scored 7 to no response and bid a fond farewell to Edu, allowing him a penalty to sign off. However the day for me was all about one man and how we felt about him. Amid rumours at 36 Dennis Bergkamp might be ready to hang up his magic boots, he made 3 scored one and the whole of Highbury rocked to 35000 Gunners singing ‘One more year!’ again and again and again. The Iceman did put pen to paper on one last year and I am sure all of us there that May day helped his decision.
In 2006 the last every game at Highbury saw the visit of Wigan and they were never going to spoil our party and nor did they want to. To their eternal credit in fact they stayed after the match and joined in. To be there 30 years after my first visit with my 10 years old son was special. To win with an Henry hatrick, to see Thierry kiss the hallowed turf, to hear Spurs had fluffed their lines at Upton Park and to be in the North Bank upper and feel it actually vibrate, all will live with me forever. Even the post match players parade and Roger Daltry’s one off rendition of an anthem, he had written just for the occasion were fabulous but of course there was the sadness mixed with the celebratory mood of Champions League qualification. My son probably did not quite grasp the magnitude of the occasion or why when the party was dying I shed a tear of two. If it is possible to have a private moment in amongst 38000 I had mine and then my thoughts turned to a trip to Paris……
I am awaiting for the truly memorable moments at the Emirates under Wenger but up until now the 2-1 victory over Barca and the Thierry Henry come back goal against Leeds sit glistening a top a small pile of gems.
Favourite Arsene XI – Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Keown, Winterburn, Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Overmars, Bergkamp, Henry
Steve – @oaf12
Oh there are so many memories!! Press conferences, arms up to the crowd, etc. but my best memory has to be a recent one that nobody knew was coming.
The troll face that Wenger has when he obviously knew we were going to land Mesut Ozil. it’s up there with Sol Campbell turning up when everyone was expecting Richard Wright.
In terms of games, my favourite moment was when Henry returned to score that goal against Leeds. The Emirates erupted. It was just about the game, the cup or the the result, it was about the man. That moment will live with me forever and I feel privileged to have been there, so many people (mainly other supporters) doubted that bringing Thierry back was a good move, but Arsene knows!
Favourite Arsene XI – Seaman – Sagna Adams Campbell Cole – Pires Vieira Fabregas Ozil – Bergkamp Henry
Chris – @SuburbanGooner
When choosing my favourite game of all time, I’ve plumped for a match in which I was there live in the flesh, able to soak up the atmosphere and live the noises, smell the smells and savour the victory.
Of course, it has to be in that glorious old stadium with which we used to reside – Highbury – and it has to be a victory of which at the time was our hammer blow towards a fellow Premier League juggernaught.
I didn’t go to many games at Highbury, simply because I wasn’t a season ticket holder and my only source of getting tickets back in those days was through my Godfather, who had two. When he took me to The Arsenal I’d spend all week thinking about it, so when he told me one afternoon that he couldn’t make the upcoming game against none other than United, I was beside myself with glee.
It was the game in which Thierry, with the deftest of touches, flicked up the ball with his back to goal and swivelled to lift the ball over his touch-tight marker and above Barthez’s head. A majestic finish from a majestic player and do you know what made it all the more amazing? I was there, in a direct line of site in the East Upper watching it float into the corner. I knew it was in before it hit the net and that memory of seeing him wheel away and us getting the result will stay with me forever.
Whatever anyone thinks of Arsene now, however you feel about his current situation and the greyness that surrounds the contractual situation, we should all not forget that he has been instrumental in so many happy and successful memories bought to the club. I thank him for it.
Favourite Arsene XI – Seaman – Dixon Adams Campbell Cole – Ljungberg Vieria Fabregas Pires – Henry Bergkamp
Gareth – @Gareth_Stringer You can also find Gareth at 89th Minute.
Pick your favourite game, they said. That’ll be easy, I said.
Maybe not. The 4-4 at Anfield, the win over Bacelona at The Emirates, any number of games from The Invincibles campaign, especially Liverpool at home, winning the title at Old Trafford, winning the title at White Hart Lane….it’s not easy at all, it’s almost impossible.
Wenger’s Arsenal has given us so much, surely no one would disagree with that? Highs, lows, elation and heartbreak, the full scope of emotions and never a dull moment. It’s certainly never been boring and, as we approach his 1000th landmark in charge, it’s only right that we are challenging for the title and favourites for the FA Cup.
Favourite Arsene XI – Seaman, Sagna, Campbell, Koscielny, Cole, Vieira, Fabregas, Overmars, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry.
Mean Lean – @Arsenalvision You can find Mean over at Arsenalvision.co.uk
So you are asking me to choose my favourite Arsène, Arsenal match? How is that even fair? It’s like asking me to choose which one of my kids I prefer the most. I love them all. Well apart from that 8-2 kid who I am looking forward to the day when he moves out.
Anyway while essentially it didn’t mean much in the end there was something about the AC Milan 0 Arsenal 2 match that sticks with me. I remember half way through the game feeling a wave of pride rush across my body. No English side had beaten Milan in Italy during that time. It was a time when they had real quality. They had players such as Pirlo, Gattuso, Maldini, Nesta, Inzaghi and Kaka before he was Kak etc. They were one of the best teams yet we went there without a care in the world and made Milan look very average.
We played triangles around them from start to finish and they could not get near us. Hleb, Adebayor, Cesc and Flamini were immense that day. I am convinced that it was the reason why Flamini left us. Milan must have been very impressed by what they saw.
I have to say as much as I am enjoying this season, I miss the days when we were less pragmatic, when we would go anywhere and play our game. Yes it stung us badly sometimes but sometimes like at Milan we produced a performance that sticks in the memory and fills you with pride. So that is my match.
Best Wenger Team: Seaman, Sagna, Adams, Koscielny, Cole, Fabregas, Vieira, Pires, Overmars, Bergkamp, Henry
Sorry Patrick mate, you got your work cut out defensively. I couldn’t leave another flair player out. But good luck to the opposition dealing with those going forward though.
Cheers for reading,