The team paraded the Premiership title at Highbury where we were about to entertain
Newcastle United. Cheers and roars greeted us. I fielded a youthful side due to
injuries and the fact that we have already won, there was nothing more to lose.
We promptly drew 1-1 and Barrett scored our 100th league goal this season. Liverpool
immediately tabled a bid of £2.7 million for him, which I rejected. Our
last match was away to West Ham and my defensive woes were highlighted again.
We lost 4-1 to them.
It was not the best Championship-winning season ever but we still had the title.
I promised the fans that I would beef up the defense next season and to reduce
the number of draws we had this season. All in all, the top 5 league standings
at the end of the 2000/01 season:- Arsenal(85), Chelsea(81), Liverpool(68), Aston Villa(61) and Manchester United(60).
FA Cup glory awaits us at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Wembley
was going through a massive uplifting project, which saw the traditional venue
being shifted here. Manchester City was our opponent and according to past meetings,
Arsenal held a slight upper hand.
35,000 Arsenal fans made the journey to support us on a wet Saturday afternoon.
We started offensively after the kick-off and were awarded a corner. Pires's
in-swinging cross found the head of Stepanovs. GOAL! Applause and roars broke
out. Manchester City replied by taking an offensive mode, creating havoc for
our fragile defense. 9 minutes before half time, Silvinho cleared the ball towards
Quinn. Quinn evaded 2 players before sending the ball to Vieira, 20 yards in
front of goal. GOAL! Vieira's rocket shot hit the back of the net with the awestruck
Weaver rooted to the spot. In the second half, City doubled their attack and
the pulled one back through Stojkovic. But before they could celebrate, Ljungberg
found Pires in the area. GOAL! It turned out to be the killer blow. Arsenal
held on defensively afterwards.
Arsenal has finally completed an unprecedented domestic treble. Neither the
mighty Liverpool of the 70s and 80s nor the unstoppable Manchester United of
the 90s had or could have achieved it. This called from an impromptu celebration
around Highbury. Thousands of fans turned up to watch the team parading through
the streets of North London. There was a massive sea of red and yellow all around
the bus. Fans were chanting the names to the players and singing our championship-winning
anthem. The celebration continued throughout the day.
The next day, the squad was back to business. The European Cup Final match against
AC Milan is just a few days away. A handful of the regulars were still in sick
bay and I don't think I will risk them for fear of losing them next season.
Aston Villa had shown us that British football is fast gaining recognition when
they beat Real Zaragoza 3-0 in the UEFA Cup Final. I handpicked the best starting
11 possible under these dire conditions. All eyes were on me as I walk onto
the hollowed turf at the Delle Alpi Stadium. Half of the stadium was decked
out in red and white, while the other half in red and black.
This is the second successive season that Arsenal had qualified for a major
European Final. Last season's UEFA Cup defeat at the hands of Galatasary via
penalties was hard to digest and the fans was hoping for a better show today.
The day of reckoning has arrived. Who will claim the prize? Both teams have
battled long and hard to reach here and there can only be one winner. Milan
started out offensively and was immediately awarded when a Comandini cross found
Shevchenko unmarked in the area. GOAL! The goal sparked off an amazing comeback
by my boys. Play went from one end to the other, both teams had their chances
but were kept at bay by the defenders. In the 21st minute, Maldini's weak clearance
was intercepted by Lauren and was passed towards Pires. Pires ran into the area
and had a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. GOAL! The equalizer! In the 42nd minute,
another pass found Pires in the same situation again. GOAL! Arsenal came out
for the restart, a rejuvenated side. My pep talk spurred wonders in them. Pires
started the move, found Kanu who then pass it towards Henry in the area. GOAL!
3-1 to Arsenal, the title is within our grasp. In the 67th minute, Seaman's
long goal kick found Cole who crossed it to Ljungberg outside the penalty box.
Ljungberg shoots. GOAL! The Cup is ours for sure! The Arsenal fans were singing
their lungs out, Milan was not going to give up so easily and scored their second
goal, 4 minutes later. They gave us a scare or two in the final minute but we
came through unscathed.
We've finally clinched it! We are now officially the best team in Europe. No
more languishing in the shadows of our more illustrious counterparts. Arsenal
has finally made it to the top and we intend to stay there for as long as possible.
By winning the European Cup, we became the first British team to sweep all 3
European titles. We won the UEFA Cup way back in 1970 and the now-defunct Cup
Winners Cup in 1994. We also joined the elite group of clubs that has completed
the European treble, namely Juventus, Ajax Amsterdam, Bayern Munich and Barcelona.
Our European record this season, having played 17 matches, we won 12, drew 4
and lost once. We scored 38 goals and gave away 14 in return.