Arsene Wenger’s top five games as Arsenal manager

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September 30 marked 19 years since Arsenal appointed Arsene Wenger as manager and throughout his long-standing tenure as manager there have been some great moments; and equally terrible moments.

From beating Barcelona in the Champions League one week to losing in the FA Cup final to Birmingham City the next, the Gunners are renowned for their up-and-down fortunes.

However, few can deny that Wenger has done a terrific job at Arsenal, regardless of the lack of success in recent years.


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To celebrate the great man, here are his five best games as Arsenal manager.

Manchester United 0 - 1 Arsenal (May 8, 2002)

Four years after sealing their first double and four days after clinching their second FA Cup under the Frenchman, Arsenal travelled to Old Trafford for a title showdown.

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The Gunners, unbeaten away from home that season, came into the game five points clear of defending champions United, and even without top goalscorer Thierry Henry and Dutch maestro Dennis Bergkamp came away from Old Trafford with the victory necessary to claim the title.

Sylvain Wiltord was the hero on his 100th Arsenal appearance, tapping home Freddie Ljungberg’s parried shot to secure a then-stereotypical 1-0 victory for the north London outfit.

United came at Arsenal with fierce pressure - several players were booked and by most accounts the hosts were lucky not to be reduced to ten men.

However, unlike smaller Arsenal sides of modern-Wenger, the Gunners stood tall and stood up to United, maintaining their composure and discipline.

After three seasons of finishing second, the signing of Sol Campbell, the amazing performances of Robert Pires and the goals of Freddie Ljungberg during the run-in got them over the line, unbeaten away from home and scoring in every game of the season.

Arsenal 3 - 2 Hull City (AET) (May 17, 2014)

A barren run of nine years without a trophy finally came to an end with a comeback victory over Hull City at Wembley last year.

However, after losing a Champions League final, two League Cup finals and numerous semi-finals during the drought, the 2014 FA Cup final looked to be following the same trend when Hull stormed into an early two-goal lead.

James Chester and Curtis Davies scored within eight minutes from set pieces and it looked as though the underdogs were going to pull off another FA Cup shock.

Eight minutes later, though, Santi Cazorla kick-started the comeback though an excellent free kick that found the top-right corner.

Arsenal then grew into the game and in the second half, after consistent pressure and the denial of two penalties, Laurent Koscielny bundled in a corner to level the game at 2-2.

In extra time, the introductions of Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere gave the Gunners a much-needed injection of pace and freshness against a tiring Tigers side, with Arsenal Player of the Season Aaron Ramsey latching onto Olivier Giroud’s back-heel and poking the ball into the bottom corner, thus ending Arsenal's trophyless streak.

Arsenal 2 - Leicester City 1 (May 15, 2004)

The 2003/04 season was unquestionably the greatest in Arsenal history - and indeed Wenger’s managerial career.

Despite losing the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Chelsea and FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, Arsenal’s league campaign was flawless.

26 wins, 12 draws and zero losses was Arsenal’s record, going the entire campaign undefeated in the league – a feat not achieved since Preston North End in 1889.

Their final game of the season, fittingly at Highbury, was against already-relegated Leicester City -surely a home banker.

However, the visitors threatened to upset the unbeaten party. Former Gunner Paul Dickov bagged a header 25 minutes into the game to give the Foxes an unprecedented lead.

However, Arsenal, unsettled by their early disappointment, regrouped and top goalscorer Thierry Henry levelled up the game with a penalty just after half-time.

Captain Patrick Vieira got on the end of a wonderfully executed Dennis Bergkamp through ball just past the hour mark to put Arsenal in front and the historic win was sealed.

The full-time whistle concluded Wenger’s greatest achievement, going an entire league season without losing. The north Londoners would eventually go 49 games unbeaten before a controversial loss to rivals United.

Real Madrid 0 - 1 Arsenal (February 21, 2006)

2005/06 proved to be Arsenal’s best season in Europe, reaching the Champions League final but sadly defeated by Barcelona in the final in Paris.

The most memorable tie of the run to the final was the round of 16 against Galacticos Real Madrid. A makeshift back four of Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos, Kolo Toure and Mathieu Flamini went into the game with Madrid heavy favourites.

Against Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Robinho and the Brazilian Ronaldo, though, Arsenal miraculously pulled off a 1-0 win on aggregate thanks to Thierry Henry.

An amazing solo goal just after half time from the Frenchman at the Bernebeu condemned Madrid to their first Champions League defeat in 18 games.

The win was in stark contrast to Arsenal’s league form, where they were fifth and had lost seven away league games by this point.

Yet their Champions League season saw Arsenal show the tactical nous away from home that they now desperately lack in Europe.

Nil-nils in their three knockout ties helped the Gunners not just to a consecutive Champions League clean sheet record, but to secure their place in the final with slim victories over Madrid, Juventus and Villareal en route.

Had it not been for Jens Lehmann’s sending off in the final against Barcelona, Wenger may have had a Champions League winners medal to add to his collection.

Arsenal 4 - 0 Everton (May 3, 1998)

In Wenger’s first full season in England, he revolutionised a faltering Arsenal team and overthrew the Manchester United dynasty to win the double.

Seven years after George Graham’s last league triumph, the additions from Wenger of Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka, mixed with Graham’s famous back five, gave the Gunners a perfect team.

The pacey counter-attacks, hard-hitting defence and solid central midfield made Arsenal an impossible outfit to face.

A home game with relegation-threatened Everton was the perfect setting to wrap up their first league championship under the Frenchman and they did it in style with a 4-0 win.

Toffees defender Slaven Bilic opened the scoring for the Gunners with an own goal six minutes in from a free kick.

From then on it became the Overmars show, like so many games in the latter half of the season.

With two attacks led by the speedy Dutchman, he grabbed two goals and sealed the first half of the double for Arsenal.

However, more action was to come. Steve Bould put through Arsenal captain and defensive partner Tony Adams through on goal and after taking the ball down on his chest fired a half-volley past Thomas Myhre.

“Would you believe it!?” exclaimed Sky Sports commentator Martin Tyler in one of Arsenal's most memorable moments, as home-grown captain Adams scored the goal that ultimately clinched their first Premier League title.

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