Arsenal are recognised as one of the giants of English football and a consistent challenger for top honours. Arsenal, under the leadership of enigmatic Frenchman Arsene Wenger, shook off their ‘boring’ image and began to serve up some of the most attractive football in the league.
Thanks in the early days to the immense influence of Tony Adams and the astute signings of players such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira – now departed for Juventus – and Freddie Ljungberg, Arsenal climbed back to the top of the pile. Their rise culminated in a second Premier League and FA Cup double in 2002, to add to their 1998 achievement.
Three runners-up finishes in the intervening years displays how the north London giants have lived up to their high standards over the last decade.
The famous old Arsenal defence has a new look these days, but the replacements, and the recruits to midfield and atack – including talented young Spaniard Jose Reyes- have done enough to assure fans that they can live up to achievements of their predecessors.
The Gunners added a third Premiership crown to Wenger’s reign as their astonishing and unprecedented unbeaten run throughout the entire 2003/04 season saw them lift the title.
The 2006/07 season saw the Gunners move away from Highbury – their home for the prevous 93 years – to the plush new Emirates Stadium.
London’s most successful Premier League club was formed by workers at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich and was initially known as Dial Square before adopting the name Royal Arsenal in 1886.
Renamed Woolwich Arsenal in 1891, they moved to Highbury in 1913 and dropped the prefix. They had to wait until the 1930s for their first period of sustained success when five Division One championships were won under Herbert Chapman and George Allison.
Another pair of league throphies were lifted soon after the Second World War before further success arrived with the league and F A Cup Double in 1971. More near misses came before George Graham, a hero of 1971, was named manager in 1986 and the glory days returned.
Two league titles, two league cups and the European Cup Winner’s Cup were garnered during his nine-year reign.
Frenchman Arsene Wenger wa named Gunners boss in1996 and the roll of honour continued. A first Premier League title made uo half of the club’s second double in 1998. Their second Premier League title in 2002 – when they ended the season on a 28- game domestic unbeaten run – was also coupled with victory in the F A Cup final.
Wenger guided the Gunners to the Champions League final in 2006. Their hopes were dented by the early dismissal of goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, but Sol Campbell’s header gave the north London side a half-time advantage. However, Barcelona hit back with two late goals to clinch the title in Paris.
- Arsenal has the longest unbroken run in the English top division, having been there since 1919. They were last relegated in season 1912/13 when they finished in 20th position.
- Thierry Henry has twice been named Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year and the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in the same season, and is the only player ever to retain the awards.
- For two of the last three years Thierry Henry has finished second in the FIFA World Player of the Year award – behind compatriot Zinedine Zidane in 2003 and Ronaldinho in 2004. He finished third behind Ronaldinho and Frank Lampard in 2005.
- Arsenal share the record (with Man Utd) for most appearances in the FA Cup Final with 17, of which they have won ten.
- The 2001 FA Youth Cup victory was Arsenal’s sixth in all, only Manchester United have won more.
- Arsenal have twice clinched the league title at White Hart Lane (1971 and 2004). In addition the Gunners have won the league at Old Trafford, Anfield and Stamford Bridge (twice).
- In the 2001/2002 season 22 Arsenal players earned a Championship medal, including three different goalkeepers.
- Freddie Ljungberg scored in both the 2001 and 2002 FA Cup Finals, the first player to score in consecutive finals for 40 years.
- Gael Clichy is the youngest player ever to win a Premiership medal, at 18 years and ten months.
- Thierry Henry was named in the PFA Premiership All-Star team last season.
- Francesc Fabregas is Arsenal’s youngest ever player, making his debut at 16 years and 177 days against Rotherham in the Carling Cup Third Round on October 28, 2003. The Spaniard is also the Club’s youngest scorer, netting against Wolves in the Carling Cup Fourth Round aged 16 years and 212 days.
- Arsène Wenger was the first foreign manager to lead a team to the English League Championship.
- Arsenal are the only team to score in every game in a Premiership season, achieving the feat in the 2001/02 championship campaign.
- Arsenal’s league record during the 2003/04 season was played 38, won 26, drawn 12, lost 0 – the only time in the modern era a side has remained unbeaten for the duration of a league season.
- Gilberto scored the fastest ever Champions League goal after just 20.07 seconds against PSV Eindhoven on September 25, 2002.
- Tony Adams lifted more trophies than any other Arsenal Captain – nine (four Championships, three FA Cups, one League Cup and the Cup Winners’ Cup).
- Arsenal have appeared in a record 25 FA Cup Semi-Finals, one more than Manchester United.
- Thierry Henry and Gilberto have World Cup winner’s medals.
- Ashley Cole’s superb performances earned him selection to Euro 2004’s All Star Team of the Tournament.
- Midfielder Gilberto played in every minute of Brazil’s successful World Cup tournament in 2002.
- During 2003/04 Arsenal were unbeaten away from home in league fixtures, the second time in the space of three years that they managed this feat.
- Dennis Bergkamp has won the Cup Winners’ Cup with Ajax and the UEFA Cup twice, once with Ajax and once with Inter Milan.
- Lauren is an Olympic gold medallist, he helped Cameroon to the title at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
- Arsenal’s first ever game at Highbury was a 2-1 victory over Leicester Fosse in a Division Two fixture in September 1913.
- Current head of youth development, Liam Brady, was voted Arsenal’s ‘Player of the Season’ three times before his move to Juventus.
- Former head youth coach and Under-19s coach, Don Howe, played for (1964-67), coached and managed (1983-86) Arsenal during his association with the Club.
- Assistant manager Pat Rice has been involved in all of Arsenal’s ‘double’ successes, playing in 1971 and assisting Arsène Wenger in 1998 and 2002.
- Arsène Wenger was awarded France’s highest civil medal, the Legion of Honour, in the summer of 2002. Thierry Henry also picked up the honour after the 1998 World Cup. Mr Wenger was also awarded the O.B.E for his services to British football in 2003 and was given the Freedom of Islington in 2004.
- Arsenal’s home UEFA Champions League fixtures in seasons 1998/99 and 1999/00 were held at Wembley. The Club’s fixture against RC Lens at Wembley on November 25, 1998 was attended by 73,707 – a record crowd for an Arsenal ‘home’ game.
- Former captain Tony Adams made 669 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners, scoring 48 goals. He was at the Club for 22 years. Only David O’Leary, with 722 appearances, played more times for Arsenal.
- Lauren has twice won the African Nations Cup with Cameroon, in 2000 and 2002.
- Arsenal beat Manchester United 3-1 to win the FA Community Shield in August 2004. Arsenal have won the trophy outright a record equalling 11 times, and have also shared it once.
- The Arsenal Ladies won the league title last season, for the eighth time in their history.
- The Arsenal Ladies will once again be representing England in European competition this year.
- In August 2002 Arsenal registered their 14th straight league win, breaking the all-time record in top flight football. The Club record for consecutive home victories in the Premiership (10) was set against Manchester City on September 10, 2002.
- Dennis Bergkamp’s goal against Newcastle at St James’ Park in the 2002/2003 season was named ITV’s ‘The Premiership’ Goal of the Season and the second best Premiership goal ever.
- In January 2003 Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry both scored their 100th goals for the Club – taking the number of players who have reached three figures for Arsenal to 16.
- When Arsenal beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 on August 25, 2004, they set a new English record for consecutive unbeaten league matches, breaking Nottingham Forest’s sequence of 42 from 1978. The run was eventually stretched to 49 matches.
- Thierry Henry won the European Golden Shoe in 2004 and 2005 as top scorer in European league football. He became the first player to win the award back-to-back.
- Arsenal’s biggest ever league victory was a 12-0 win over Loughborough Town on March 12, 1900. Coincidentally, the Club’s biggest league defeat was also against Loughborough Town — 8-0 in 1896.
- Arsenal’s record for most league goals in a season is 127, set in the championship winning season of 1930/31. The least league goals Arsenal have conceded in a season is 18, in the 1990/91 season — another championship year.
- On December 14, 1935 Ted Drake scored all seven goals in Arsenal’s 7-1 win over Aston Villa at Villa Park — it remains a record. Ted Drake also holds the record for most goals in a season for Arsenal with 42.
- The highest ever attendance at Highbury is 73,295, set against Sunderland on March 9, 1935.