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  CM 00/01

The Championship race would soon be over when we take on second-placed West Ham at Upton Park. With 10 matches to go, we were 26 points clear of them and the fixtures had it that we were to face them for the Championship decider. This would be the earliest Premiership win by any team as it was held on the 4th of March. 2 months before the Premier League would end. No other team in history has ever won the title with so many more games to go. Even if we were to lose tonight, we would have to lose the next 9 matches in order for West Ham to wrest the title away from us. They would have to win all their remaining matches too.

32,000 were on hand to see the match. We had another 40,000 at Ashburton Grove tuning into the large TV screens we have in the stadium. Shops supporting Arsenal had the crest flying above their heads, as it would also be a local derby for us. West Ham got the better of us in the opening few minutes. They had opted to go on an all-out attack. We slowly regained lost grounds and soon had them defending inside their own half. It wasn't long before we scored our first. Greening lobbed the ball towards Calaio, who then passed it on for Cassano. GOAL! Cassano struck a beauty to score Arsenal's first. But West Ham tightened up their defence and we were held at bay until the 68th minute. A long clearance by Allaway found Calaio just outside the area, he side-footed the defender before shooting. GOAL! The title is within our sights! But we were soon letdown by some poor finishing. The match soon became more exciting in the last 10 minutes. Arsenal fans all over were chanting songs and congratulatory messages were beginning to pour into the office. In the 81st minute, Neil Alexander parried the first shot from Aimar but failed to save the second. GOAL! 5 minutes later, the carving on the base of the Championship trophy was finished as Cassano dribbled his way through the West Ham defence before scoring. GOAL! 4-0 to Arsenal and we were crowned champions for the sixth time in a row![ScreenShot]

The League Cup Final soon followed. Prior to this, Saviola scored his 200th career goal against Coventry City in the league. That's quite an astonishing achievement as he has just played in 245 matches. 90,000 people attended the match at Wembley Stadium. We were the favourites to lift up the League Cup and Aimar made no mistake to put us in front after 15 minutes. Barrett doubled the tally in the 21st minute to give us a 2-0 lead. Surprisingly, Huddersfield played well and had us defending for most of the first half and the early parts of the second. We even had Barrett being sent off after committing a cynical foul on Emmanuel Omoyinmi. Saviola made the match safe for us when he scored a brace in the 76th and 78th minute to give us a 4-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the League Cup Final. [ScreenShot]

Juventus came visiting for the Champions League Quarter Final match. Unfortunately, Ljungberg was injured and he won't be playing any part in the match. It was a seesaw battle in the midfield for most of the match. Matteo Brighi scored for Juventus in the 12th minute and goals before and after the break by Calaio and Barrett gave us a 2-1 lead. Juventus was down to 10 men after Marco Zanchi was sent off but that didn't stop them from snatching a draw in the 86th minute when David Trezeguet scored. The second leg was a one-sided affair. Cassano showed us why he was a star in Italy by scoring in the 14th minute. Two quick goals just before half time by Henry and Joe Cole soon followed after to give us a 3-0 lead. We had one foot in the Semi Finals already. Another goal by Van der Vaart just after the break confirmed the spot and we were cruising to a victory over Juventus. Filippo Inzaghi managed to reduce the deficit but it was restored by Henry's second goal in the 87th minute. End of the match, Arsenal 5 Juventus 1.[ScreenShot]

In between the Champions League Quarterfinal matches, Arsenal faced Leicester City at Vicarage Road for the FA Cup Semi Final match. Despite the fact that Leicester opened scoring in the 9th minute through Tomas Rosenqvist. Arsenal replied through a hat-trick by Calaio and a goal from Greening to give us a 4-2 victory and a place in the FA Cup against another London side - Fulham.

The match against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League Semi Finals was an easy one. Within 30 minutes Arsenal had scored 3 goals through Saviola (2) and Henry. PSV finally replied through Arnold Bruggink in the 82nd minute. Giving them a much needed away goal. The second leg in the Phillips Stadium was a tight affair. Kevin Bobson reduced the deficit with a goal in the 23rd minute but 2 goals from Calaio in each half gave us a 2-1 win and the ticket to face Barcelona in the European Cup Final. Surprisingly, Barcelona beat AC Milan 3-1 at home and 2-1 away. The exact same score line that we had against PSV.

The Premier League saw us trying to break last season's goal-scoring and points record. The match against Tottenham Hotspurs ended 4-0 in our favour. Saviola scoring goal No. 100 and 101. Thus bringing his tally to 28 goals in the league and winning the Golden Boot Award. On the other hand, I won the Manager of the month awards for the month of January, February and March. We secured a marvelous comeback against Crystal Palace when we were 2-0 down with 3 minutes to go. Two quick goals in succession by Barrett and Greening gave us a 2-2 draw. Craig Flynn scored goal No. 104 that broke the record against Newcastle United in a 3-1 win. The match also gave us the points needed as we chalked up 99 points with 2 matches to go. The final league standings for 2005/06 : Arsenal(103), West Ham United(73), Chelsea(73), Bristol City(71) and Southampton(69).

In the end, it was a tight race for the runners-up spot. Before the final game, West Ham, Chelsea and Bristol City were tied with 70 points each. But 2 late goals conceded by Bristol City in the final match against Tranmere cost them the chance and they placed fourth overall. A 5-0 win by Chelsea over Wigan Athletic was not enough for them to overhaul West Ham United. The 30-point gap was also the largest winning margin by a team, even better than the 27-point gap we had a few years ago.

Next up, the FA Cup Final match against Fulham. This will be the third all-London affair in the past 6 years and we have a good record against London sides, especially Tottenham and Chelsea. 89,000 people were on hand to witness this event. The Wembley Stadium has become our 'other' home ground for the past 4 years where the Millenium Stadium was, for my first 2 years in charge. Both teams appeared charged for the match especially Fulham. They came at us right from the whistle and the crowd was entertained with fast flowing football. It didn't took us long to score the first. A great team play by Arsenal allowed Cole to seek out Saviola in the area. GOAL! Fulham equalised in the 57th minute when Kinkladze flicked the ball towards Michael Mifsud. GOAL! 2 minutes later, Arsenal went ahead again. This time around a long pass by Upson was well controlled by Aimar before he struck. GOAL! Just when Fulham was getting into the match again, Joe Cole applied the killer blow in the 77th minute leaving them with a mountain to climb. Final score, Arsenal 3 Fulham 1. Hooray! We have won the FA Cup for the sixth time in a row and that's the 13th FA Cup title.[ScreenShot]

We were facing Barcelona again after a one-year hiatus from them in the European Cup Finals. They hadn't change much from the team that we beat two seasons ago. 80,000 people gathered at the Stade de France for the match of the season. It took us just 9 minutes to open the scoring via Henry. Barcelona had a bad record of losing to us whenever we score an early goal. I just hope that it would come true again. Kluivert equalised in the 25th minute of a set-piece corner. Our defence was in tatters each time Barcelona attacked, luckily Frey produced one of his best performances in an Arsenal shirt. The second half was just 4 minutes old when Joe Cole scored from 35-yards out. What a goal! 10 minutes later, Kluivert scored again to give his team a lifeline. Our aim to defend the title was not helped by much when Alan Quinn got himself sent off for a harsh challenge against Ortega. We had to play the last 10 minutes with just 10 men. But the sending off soon became a catalyst as Joe Cole scored his second goal in the 74th minute. And before Barcelona could equalise, Saviola's goal 3 minutes later saw Buffon rooted to the spot. In the end, Barcelona did not have what it takes to overcome 10 men Arsenal, gifting us with the European Cup. We've finally broken Real Madrid's record of 5 straight wins by winning it 6 times in a row.[ScreenShot]

Our European record stands at 16 wins and 1 draw. Scoring 56 goals in the process while conceding 12.

  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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