Our excellent run in the league was carried on by 2 magnificent wins
over Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspurs. Both teams were sent packing
after identical 4-1 wins. With Saviola scoring a brace in the former match
and Henry hitting a hat-trick in the latter. This saw Henry picking up
the Player of the Month award for November. I was voted Manager of the
Month for October.
In the Champions League, we finished as group leaders after wins over
Servette FC (2-0), Feyenoord (2-0) with Ljungberg scoring his 50th Arsenal
goal and a 3-0 win over Monaco. The shock of the Champions League came
when Real Madrid were dumped out of the Cup and also a place in the UEFA
Cup by Panathinaikos, who thrashed them 7-0, Nikos Liberopoulos scored
6 of them. The Phase 2 groupings saw us being drawn with AC Milan, Celtic
and Premiership rivals Huddersfield. The first match saw us visiting San
Siro. 67,000 fans were at the historical stadium watching the match. No
one would have guessed the score line after the match. Both teams started
strongly and were held to a 1-1 draw in the first half. Arsenal came out
of the second half a changed side. On the hour, Saviola scored his 100th
goal for Arsenal and his second of the match. Calaio added another in
the 71st minute before Greening scored in the 86th minute to condemn Milan
to their heaviest defeat. Saviola wrapped up his hat-trick and Arsenal's
fifth in the 87th minute. Milan fans were gutted and started to vent their
anger by throwing firecrackers into the pitch. They were later fined 500,000
Lira for the havoc. We went home with 3 points and a 5-1 victory.
The match against Celtic was tougher but we managed to hold on to a slim 2-1
We suffered our first defeat of the season at the hands of Leeds United.
We failed to overcome an early 2-goal deficit resulting in a 2-1 loss.
Bristol City rubbed salt into our wounds when they beat us fair and square
by 2 goals to none. Both goals coming in the last 10 minutes of the match.
Between these 2 defeats, Arsenal captured the World Club Cup. We were
up against Flamengo of Brazil. We had faced them before in the World Club
Cup 3 years ago where we won 4-0. This time around, their manager Mauricio
promised not to surrender without a fight. I had other plans of course.
The National Stadium in Tokyo was packed to the brim. The organizers put
up an excellent firework show for the audience. Arsenal started the match
much better than their counterparts and within 5 minutes we had the ball
in the net courtesy of Ljungberg. Just before half time, the score line
became 2-0 thanks to Ljungberg again. The second half clearly showed that
we were in control of the match as the Brazilians failed to find a way
through our tough defence. They had also failed to get themselves acclimatised
to the rainy weather on the day. Saviola and Henry rubbed salt into their
wounds by scoring in quick succession. In the end, we went home with the
Cup and also the record of winning it 4 times in a row. [ScreenShot]
The newly assembled Arsenal Youth team was having an enjoyable time in
the domestic cup runs. The League Cup 3rd Round tie was at home against
Everton, they won the match 2-0, with new boy Craig Flynn scoring the
opening goal. The 4th Round match was against First Division Reading.
Former Gunner Mendez was in the team but he got himself injured in the
24th minute. Still, Reading took the lead and we had to wait until the
74th minute before Junior Elliott equalised. The match was heading towards
extra time before 2 quick goals by Pennant and Benson gave the score line
a much respectable look. Tranmere Rovers came to Ashburton Grove for the
Quarterfinal match. Arsenal took the lead but was soon down to 10 men
after David Hunt was sent off. John Spicer increased the lead but Tranmere
caught up and equalised in the 85th minute. Super sub Cassano applied
the winning goal in the 99th minute and we had booked ourselves for the
Semi Finals against Derby County.
After the 4-0 thrashing we endured during our encounter with Manchester
United last season, I decided it was time we showed them. The league schedule
put us in a position where we will be facing them twice within 2 weeks.
First up, away at Old Trafford. Last season's defeat was still fresh in
our minds and we had a lot to do to make sure it doesn't repeat itself
again this year. Banners with the 4-0 defeat greeted us as the team made
their way to the pitch. The fans were chanting that we would lose to them
again this time. On the pitch, it was a different story altogether. It
took us 7 minutes to open the scoring. Vieira headed in a cross from a
Joe Cole corner. GOAL! In the 21st minute, Van der Vaart picked out Barthez's
weak goal kick, before threading the ball towards Henry. GOAL! Just before
half time, Saviola received a pass from Greening before making his way
through United's defence. GOAL! 3-0 for Arsenal and the United fans were
silent whereas our fans were erupting with joy. 2 minutes into the second
half, Joe Cole struck from outside the box for his 50th Arsenal goal.
And Henry finally nailed United's coffin with a goal in the 86th minute.
5-0 to Arsenal and it was our biggest ever win over Manchester United.
Prior to the match at Ashburton Grove against Manchester United, we drew
2 league matches against Leicester City and Everton. But with half of
the season gone, Arsenal is 7 points clear of Southampton with 2 games
in hand. So we come to the match against Manchester United. Both sets
of fans were chanting and cheering their team on. We didn't had a fast
opener but we took the lead in the 20th minute through Saviola. 15 minutes
later, Diego knocked Joe Cole to the floor in the box. Penalty! Saviola
stood up and sent the keeper the wrong way. GOAL! Rio Ferdinand left the
pitch for further treatment after he injured his groin. Just before half
time, Saviola bore down at goal after being put through by Van der Vaart.
GOAL! His hat-trick complete and that was his 25th goal of the season.
The second half was an easy stroll for us and we added another goal via
Henry. Manchester United had to play the last 20 minutes with 10 men after
Wes Brown was sent off. In the end, we won 4-0 and United had lost both
encounters with us this season.[ScreenShot]