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  CM 00/01

Pre-Season

Things are looking great ever since our record-breaking season last year. The departure of a few stalwarts was imminent. Arsenal's youth policy and my tendency to buy future stars have increased the demand for places in the first team. First to go was Arsenal's most prominent left-back in recent years - Silvinho (176/9). The Brazilian has had a wonderful time with us and he has decided to seek for newer challenges elsewhere with Lazio. At £22.5 million, he became Arsenal's third highest sale after the £25 million Barcelona paid for Marc Overmars plus Emmanuel Petit and the £24 million Real Madrid paid for Nicolas Anelka. Next up, 30-somethings Robert Pires (136/44) and Ray Parlour (367/55) left for Tyneside where both of them joined Newcastle for £9.25 million and £6 million respectively. Bergkamp went on to become coach at IFK Goteborg.

With the extra cash generated from these sales, I bought in 10 players. Pires's replacement, Van der Vaart joined from Ajax Amsterdam on a free transfer. Antonio Cassano, a highly rated striker came from Bari at the back of a £7.5 million transfer. Other notable purchases were defenders David Hunt (Huddersfield), Mike Poole (Sheffield Wednesday) and Simon McGowan (Notts County). Midfielders Ian Reed (Tottenham), Peter Smith (Sheffield United) and Junior Elliot (Lancaster). As for the strikers department, Craig Flynn (Rangers) and Adam Cook (Havant & Waterlooville). These transfers cost a total of £15 million. My last transfer bid was for Sean Allaway of Leeds United, it would turn out to be quite a wait.

Transfer news over the course of the season, Michael Owen joined AS Roma for £36 million together with Francesco Totti, who return to his former club for £29 million. Christian Vieri joined Ajax Amsterdam for £13.25 million. Bayern Munich bought Claudio Lopez and Vicenzo Montella for £15.5 million and £22 million respectively. Barcelona bought Stefano Fiore for £24.5 million. Celtic bought big too, with David Beckham and Michael Bridges joining them for £16.75 million and £10.75 million. Our title challengers Chelsea bought Francis Jeffers for £9.25 million while selling Tore Andre Flo to Borussia Dortmund for £10.25 million. Fiorentina bought Robson Pnte for £16 million and Alvaro Recoba for £10 million. Figo and Ryan Giggs joined Inter Milan. Milan equalised the transfer record by buying Raul for £42.5 million, they also added £15.25 million for Gaizka Mandieta.

This season would be a tough one since a few of the more experienced first team players had left for greener pastures. The players that I've promoted to the first team will have to perform their best to ensure that we retain the trophies this time around. I had arranged a trip to South Africa for our pre-season friendlies. It wasn't the best start that I've wanted, we came face-to-face with Orlando Pirates (2-1), Kaizer Chiefs (1-1) and Manning Rangers (0-0). The youth team didn't do much better when they drew with Telford 1-1. The poor run of form stopped when we thrashed Halifax Town 4-1, with Barrett scoring a hat-trick. Then came the annual meeting with Tottenham, who had just got promoted after 1 season in Division One.

35,000 fans gathered at White Hart Lane for a match which have become a traditional fixture ever since I took over at Arsenal. Arsenal started well, threatening the Tottenham goal a couple of times but Hugo Tavares kept his team alive. It took us 21 minutes before finding the net, when Van der Vaart's exquisite lob was well controlled by Henry who laid it into the path of Ljungberg. GOAL! Then in the 35th minute, Saviola produced one of his many mazy runs into the heart of the Spurs defence. GOAL! We came out in the second half with a pretty much-relaxed team and still had full control of the match. Ashley Cole added to the tally in the 69th minute by scoring from outside the box. The match ended 3-0 and we were victors once more. [ScreenShot]

The Charity Shield match pitted us against Chelsea who had been league runners-up for 4 straight seasons. The match will be a good indicator of whether Chelsea would be able to usurp us from the Premiership throne. Nearly 90,000 spectators gathered at Wembley for the match. It wasn't a good start from us and within 10 minutes, we lost Henry to an injury, which will sideline him for 3 weeks. Barrett came on to replace him and soon got on the score sheet in the 20th minute after good work by Ljungberg. Arsenal then took control of the match but found much resistance in the Chelsea's defence. Second half started in the same fashion as the first half. Right on the hour, Zenoni failed to retrieve a pass allowing Greening to send the ball into the area. Barrett unselfishly passed the ball for Saviola. GOAL! 10 minutes later, Bowyer failed to control the ball outside the penalty area, Saviola came in and put the ball into the back of the net. GOAL! 3-0 to Arsenal and we are quite certain that Chelsea would not be in the run for the championship title. [ScreenShot]

We were in for a record breaking 4 European Super Cup titles if we were able to beat Real Madrid in Monaco. 20,000 spectators were there for the match. The stadium was divided into red and white halves. Arsenal started the match positively and had Madrid pinned inside their own half. The first goal came when Ljungberg's clearance found Saviola 25-yards ahead of goal. Saviola unleashed an unstoppable shot. GOAL! 7 minutes later, Raul managed to shrug off the attentions of Michael Clegg before scoring. But on the half-hour, Ljungberg became the provider again, this time into the path of Calaio. GOAL! Real Madrid found it hard to penetrate our defences. Then right before half time, Joe Cole latched onto Vieira's pass before dribbling his way into the area. GOAL! 3-1 to Arsenal in the first 45 minutes. The second half was a relaxed affair as Arsenal kept hold of the possession and forced Real Madrid to fight for the ball. We had the upper hand and during one swift counter attack in the 77th minute, Calaio scored from long range. GOAL! We had the Cup and the record was ours! Arsenal 4 Real Madrid 1.[ScreenShot]

Pre-season Statistics : Played 6 Won 3 Drew 3 Scored 11 Conceded 4

  ARSENAL FC
  Season 03/04 :
  Pre-Season
  Part 1
  Part 2
  Part 3
  Part 4
  Post-Season

  Season 04/05 :
  Pre-Season
  Part 1
  Part 2
  Part 3
  Part 4
  Post-Season

  Season 05/06 :
  Pre-Season
  Part 1
  Part 2
  Part 3
  Part 4
  Post-Season




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