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Top 5s

Top 5s

The last two weeks have been rather unremarkable for us Gooners, exiting three competitions at once as the Football Association continue to flaunt their hypocrisy like a strugglong actress flashes her knickers. This article really emanates with yet another slurry conversation with my mates as I manfully attempted to drown out Arsenal's problems in a sea of stupidly named ales. (Didn't work, but it's worth a go nonetheless!) Given the fact that my social clique almost exclusively comprises Millwall fans, it was a conversation I felt a little left out of. (Fortunately, being relegated to Division Two having been top of the league in December does not appear in my Arsenal hall of shame). I thought I would lubricate the wheels of conversation by proposing my own choices. Starting with my five worse games in living memory in reverse order (suspending your disbelief see).

5) 2001 F.A Cup Final. Arsenal 1 Liverpool 2.
A gloriously sunny day in Cardiff, the women were wearing yellow ribbons, the temperature was in the 90s and my first visit to the Welsh capital. 2000/01 had been a pretty inauspicious season, with United wrapping up the league on Easter Monday and John Carew knocking us out of the Champions League Quarter Finals. The Cup was a shining beacon of hope to rescue a mediocre season by our standards (beating Spurs in the semis was a nice touch too!) What transpired still beggars belief, as Arsenal battered Liverpool, missing a host of glorious chances (sound familiar?). Cole, Henry (twice) and Wiltord all missing one on ones, a Hyypia handball on the line which your writer could see from the back row of the upper tier was missed by the ref. After finally going a goal ahead, Liverpool stole victory with their only two shots of the game. Having lost two consecutive Cup Finals, questions were asked about the winning mentality and Wenger's vision for the future (sound familiar?) Equilibrium was however restored when we fluked it against the Mancs four years later.

4) F.A Cup Semi Final Replay. Arsenal 1 Manchester United 2.
A great spectacle it was, but one of those numbing defeats that scars you. I still have the feeling I will be relaying the sight of Ryan Giggs' insanely hairy chest to a psychiatrist some day. Having fought back from a brilliant Beckham effort with Bergkamp's deflected goal, we suffered the ignomity of wildly celebrating a disallowed goal as Anelka was ajudged offside, a decision which took an age to register with the Gooner ranks. Then, a last minute penalty put Wembley on a plate for DB10, who suffered the heartbreak of missing the Final the year before. It was a most undeserving miss from a player who deserved more than the cruel hand fate dealt him, it was the defining moment in United's treble glory. Of course, we all know about Giggs' solo goal from Vieira's misplaced pass and THAT chant we have been serenaded with ever since. Only of course exorcised when Paddy smashed home the winning penalty in 05.

3) May 1999. Leeds United 1 Arsenal 0.
The much vaunted game in hand. Arsenal trailed United by two points, but victory over Leeds would see them go into the last day of the season two points clear. Once again, chances were wasted (sound familiar?) as a young Woodgate cleared off the line from Kaba Diawara, the black cat owning, mirror smashing, ladder striding striker would also hit the bar. Hasselbaink broke our hearts with a stooping header with five minutes to go.

2) April 2003. Bolton Wanderers 2 Arsenal 2
Another gloriously sunny day, another ridiculously early start as the title charge came into the final furlong. The Gunners strolled into a two goal lead, only for the Orcs to strap up their hobnails, Cygan, Lauren and Ljungberg exited the fray within five minutes of each other, all the victims of bad tackles, none of the offendants booked. Of course, this gave Bolton the impetus as they clawed back the defecit and handed the title to Uinted. Allardyce amazingly blathered about the ref's favouritism towards Arsenal and a hatred was born. The coach journey home was memorable because not one single person said a single word all the way home.

1) Cup Winners Cup Final 1995. Real Zaragoza 2 Arsenal 1.
The absolute season from hell was signed off in the most bizarre and horrendous fashion. With our manager sacked following bung allegations, Paul Merson spending three months in rehab and our only decent player Schwarz wanting out, the ragged bones of a once great Graham team dragged itself into a Cup Winners Cup Final, where they were hot favourites. And a bloody ex Tottenham player scores. In the last minute. From forty five yards. In the one season that Spurs have finished above Arsenal in the last fifteen years. You could not make it up. The roles were almost diametrically inverted from Anfield 89 (where lest we forget a future Liverpool player hit the winner).

Continued on another thread........

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday March 13 2007
Time: 1:16PM


before I submit mine I'd like to correct you for one thing - the blatant handball in the FA Cup Final 2001 was by Henchoz, not Hyppia. I am mentioning it because it was the day I really started to despise the Swiss CB and English refereeing in general.
13/03/2007 13:28:00
i was gonna say that.
Jacky B
13/03/2007 13:49:00
good old Nayim!
Jacky B
13/03/2007 13:50:00
From despair to where?
Anon 1
13/03/2007 13:50:00
Ah yes, you are right G4L. He also repeated the trick in the Charity Shield a year later. Cheat.
Little Dutch
13/03/2007 13:51:00
Anon 1, Manics fan?
Little Dutch
13/03/2007 13:52:00
I will start with a very obvious one: 5) 00/01 - ManUtd-Arsenal 6-1; what a day! Yorke, Cole, Keane just ripped Seaman's net and my heart into pieces. We missed a number of players but nevertheless it was an appaling performance that had my manc supporting mates take the mickey out for years to come........ 4) Arsenal - Galatasaray 0-0 UEFA Cup Final 99/00 (lost on pens); a very sad day for Gooners, a game that we dominated, where Tafarel was playing out of his skin and Petit was afraid to make a tackle. Keown's miss from 4 yards rounded up our miserable night that was only topped by Suker's missed penalty (he had never missed one before I think).....3) Arsenal - Barcelona 1-2 CL FInal 05/06; the game that will always give me an uneasy feeling, like when you have a small stone in your shoe that keeps annoying you. down to 10 men, 1-0 up, completely contained Barca's stars, and Titi missed a few one on ones......ManUtd - Arsenal 2-1 FA Cup replay 98/99. you said it all. DB misses a pen., Giggs scores THAT goal and shows everyone that he is one hairy b@st@rd. Revenge was sweet, though....... 1) ManU - Arsenal 2-0 EPL 04/05; the end of the 49 unbeaten run. Rooney never dives, he's English. And Riley is not a tw*t, never. Very proud at the end of the day, but the sickness in my stomach was unbearable.
13/03/2007 13:54:00
All games that would probably end up in my 6-10. Though the last time we lost at the Lane was horrible as well. It was my first visit their. Ugh.
Little Dutch
13/03/2007 13:57:00
And LD, great write. Henchoz never got a card for either of the incidents, right?
13/03/2007 13:57:00
Nope. He got nowt. In fact in 01, he punched it off the line and we didn't even get a corner!
Little Dutch
13/03/2007 14:06:00
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