The Arsenal

May 1, 2008


The Arsenal

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.

The Club

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.

Read the rest of this entry »