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  CM 00/01

SEASON 2005/06

The first match of the season saw us entertaining Wigan Athletic at home. We came out 2-1 winners but lost Alan Quinn and Jonathan Greening to injuries. The next match was a tough one against Chelsea at Ashburton Grove. They have promised to give us a challenge this season after a disastrous outing last season.

70,000 people were at the grounds to see an early clash of the titans. Last season's humiliating defeat at our hands is still fresh in their minds. Arsenal started well and Van der Vaart gave us the lead after 7 minutes. It seems like there will be a repeat of last season's score line. Chelsea's concentration seemed to wane after the early goal, allowing Saviola to score our second in the 27th minute. But they rebounded back and scored through Wilfried Bouma 2 minutes later. The start of the second half totally blew them away, Saviola took 3 minutes from the restart to restore our 2-goal advantage. Then, Vernazza rubbed salt into their wound by scoring from a long pass by Upson. Van der Vaart sealed Chelsea's fate for this season by scoring his second and Arsenal's fifth goal of the night in the 78th minute. So much for the challenge. Final score Arsenal beat Chelsea 5-1. [ScreenShot]

Saviola was on fire for the next few matches as he scored a brace against Everton before adding a hat-trick against Leicester City. Arsenal won both matches 3-1. He was subsequently awarded the Player of the Month award for September and I won the Manager of the Month award for the same month too.

We were in the same group as Feyenoord, Besiktas and Anderlecht for the Champions League Phase 1 group matches. Easy wins over Besiktas (2-0), Anderlecht (2-0) and Feyenoord (3-0) confirmed our place in the Phase 2 draw. The papers had already started to talk about our potential victory in the European Cup Finals and I told them that we would try our best to win it.

Back in the league, we had two tough matches being lined up, away matches against Southampton and Manchester United. St Mary's came first and we were prepared for them. Calaio opened the scoring in the 20th minute and Saviola doubled that 7 minutes later. Their challenge was nearly in flames. The start of the second half saw them dominating the match and they scored through Byron Bubb in the 48th minute. A frantic 10-minute blitz right on the hour saw Saviola completing his hat-trick, while Brett Poate scored for Southampton and David Noble scoring for us. Final score, Arsenal 5 Southampton 2. One down, one to go.[ScreenShot]

The match against Manchester United was tougher. Pablo Aimar got his work permit a few days prior to the match and will be making his debut. Manchester United struck first with just 5 minutes being played. Diego intercepted a loose ball from Van der Vaart before dribbling his way into the area. GOAL! Aimar waited until the 43rd minute before scoring on his debut. The start of the second half saw us finally clawing our way into the match. A harsh challenge on Aimar in the area by David Wright gave us a penalty. Henry made no mistake from the spot to give us the lead for the first time in the match. It nearly would have ended 2-1 in favour of us if not for Barthez's silly mistake in injury time, allowing Henry to slip the ball past him. GOAL! 3-1 to Arsenal and we had regained the top spot.[ScreenShot]

With a quarter of the matches being played, we were ahead with 27 points. 4 more than Chelsea and surprise package Fulham but we had two games in hand. Another transfer was in the making as Paolo Vernazza expressed his feelings to play in the Serie A publicly. I had no choice but to accept his decision. Inter Milan were delighted to hear the news and promptly bid £5 million for the player who had played 132 games and scoring 13 goals. On the other hand, the departure of Vernazza created a chance for me to pry Mark Tobin away from Fulham. He would join the club next season for £2.4 million.

In the Champions League group matches, we beat Anderlecht 4-1 before whitewashing Besiktas 6-0 at Ashburton Grove. 70,000 spectators watched the match and we had an early lead in the 5th minute through Henry. But we were to wait until the 55th minute before a 15-minute blitz saw us scoring 4 goals through Cassano, Van der Vaart, Noble and Joe Cole. Henry added a 90th minute penalty to seal the 6-0 win.[ScreenShot] Feyenoord were lucky to get away with only a 3-1 defeat as we had most of the possession and had 15 shots on target. The Phase 2 group saw us teaming up with Spartak Moscow, Bayern Munich and Inter Milan. Alex Manninger and Paolo Vernazza would be glad to see us.

The opening group match saw us hosting Spartak Moscow, last season's semi finalist at Ashburton Grove. They weren't ready for us and we swept to a 4-0 lead inside the first half courtesy of a brace from Henry, while Joe Cole and Calaio scored one apiece. The second half saw David Noble scoring to give us a comprehensive 5-0 win over the Russian champions. [ScreenShot] Bayern Munich was next and we won via a solitary goal from transfer-listed Vernazza.

Back in the Premier League, I was voted as Manager of the Month for both October and November. While Emmanuel Calaio was the Player of the Month for October and Saviola was voted Player of the Month for December.

  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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