Derby day looms large once again, and just in case you can’t wait any longer for the action to get underway, here’s a few fond (or hated) memories to tide you over:
Arsenal 0-5 Chelsea (11th November 1998)
This was the night that Arsene Wenger would regret sending out his reserves to take on a Chelsea side beginning to climb the table in anger. Evidently the Carling Cup meant little to Arsenal in the season they looked to make their mark in the Champion’s League, but as a result would experience their worst ever home drubbing at the hands of Chelsea.
Arsenal reserve goalkeeper Alex Manninger was helpless to stop Gianluca VIalli and Gustavo Poyet scoring twice after Frank Leboeuf set the ball rolling with a 34th minute penalty.
Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal (21st February 2004)
Although winning the title at White Hart Lane was the best moment of 2003/04 for Arsenal, a league double over Roman Abramovich-funded, serious contenders Chelsea was (and still is) never to be sniffed at. Having beaten Chelsea 2-1 at Highbury, they repeated the act at Stamford Bridge. Eidur Gudjohnsen’s first-minute goal meant nothing as Arsenal played a typically slick game and turned the tables within twenty minutes, with Patrick Vieira and Edu both scoring to show who were top dogs in London… back then.
Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (6th April 2004)
Arsenal may have knocked Chelsea out of the F.A Cup (and taken maximum points off them) in 2003/04, but it was The Blues who emerged triumphant from a difficult Champions League quarter-final tie with their neighbours. With neither team having previously won the Champions League, it was do or die after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in the first leg gave Arsenal the edge with an away goal. And it seemed as though it would be Arsenal to proceed to the semi-finals after Jose Antonio Reyes scored with seconds left of the first half. Chelsea’s response was immediate and effective, equalising six minutes into the second half through Frank Lampard, swinging the match in their favour. The killer second away goal, and match winner, came from Wayne Bridge’s cool finish in the 87th minute.
Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea (4th May 2002 – AT THE MILLENIUM STADIUM)
This was the FA Cup Final which saw Arsenal complete yet another league and cup double as in 1998, and the match was on a knife-edge for the best part of 70 minutes before Arsenal took control against the run of play. It was unsung hero Ray Parlour (the “Pele of Romford”) who opened the scoring, curling a magnificent shot into the top corner from a considerable distance. Freddie Ljungberg then added a second ten minutes later with an impressive finish to cap a flawless performance.
Chelsea 1-3 Arsenal (25th March 2003)
A year later, red once again won over blue in the FA Cup; Arsenal beat Manchester United at Old Trafford en route to lifting the 2003 FA Cup, and then overcame fellow top-four finishers Chelsea in a pulsating quarter-final display in the replay at Stamford Bridge. After a 2-2 draw at Highbury, along with two Champions League games against Roma and Valencia, it would have been understandable if a fatigued Arsenal bowed out at Stamford Bridge – but not a bit of it was manifested on the night. A John Terry own goal and a brilliant run from Sylvain Wiltord for the second put Arsenal in the driving seat. The smoking Gunners held out with apparent and surprising ease, and although Terry did pull a goal back with ten minutes to spare, Lauren shimmied past Bolo Zenden and clipping home the decisive goal almost immediately.
Chelsea 3-1 Arsenal (18th February 1998)
Arsenal may have achieved a league and cup double in 1997/98, but it was their rivals Chelsea who put paid to chances of a then unique treble with an impressive performance in the League Cup semi-final second leg. This was in fact Chelsea’s first ever win over Arsenal in a cup game, and it was certainly well deserved, with The Blues coming back from an aggregate deficit (after losing 2-1 at Highbury in the first leg). Chelsea showed no mercy and had stormed into a 3-0 lead after Mark Hughes scored after 10 minutes, and then a double blast from Roberto Di Matteo and Dan Petrescu put the West Londoners firmly in control. A late Dennis Bergkamp penalty set jitters around Stamford Bridge, but the score stayed put, sending eventual winners Chelsea to Wembley.
Arsenal 1-4 Chelsea (10th May 2009)
Chelsea atoned for their 2-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge earlier in the 2008/09 season by beating Arsenal in their own backyard by a much more resounding scoreline. Manchester United were champions by that point, but Chelsea were still battling with Liverpool for second spot. They didn’t get it in the end, but the effort was there to be seen, as Alex and Nicolas Anelka goals along with a Kolo Toure own goal put Chelsea 3-0 up inside 50 minutes. Although Nicklas Bendtner pulled one back when it was too late, Florent Malouda grabbed the fourth to rub in a deserved derby win.
Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal (23rd October 1999)
An absolutely fantastic derby with a scintillating comeback for Arsenal. The pitch would have put the Somme battlefield to shame, but that didn’t stop striker Nwankwo Kanu paying back a huge chunk of the £4.15 million splashed out for his services. Chelsea looked as though they would stroll to victory with a 2-0 lead after 75 minutes, but Kanu took matters into his own hands, levelling the game with two clinical strikes. Then came the winner, a sublime curling effort from the narrowest angle imaginable in the dying seconds.
Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal (6th September 2000)
They nearly repeated the act the following year, coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea had asserted absolute control when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Gianfranco Zola scored either side of half time, but with just fifteen minutes to go, Arsenal mounted another heroic comeback. Thierry Henry halved the deficit with a sleek goal from Bergkamp’s exquisite link-up play, and Sylvinho’s 20 yard sizzler completed another highly improbable Arsenal comeback.
Arsenal 3-3 Chelsea (4th September 1996)
An absolute humdinger of a game from which Arsenal once again got a result after trailing hopelessly to Chelsea – although it was The Blues who got the last laugh on this occasion. Both teams went for it with strong sides played, but it was Chelsea who grabbed the initiative, with Frank Leboeuf’s 6th minute penalty followed up by a Gianluca Vialli strike on the half-hour. Paul Merson gave Arsenal hope on the stroke of half time, and they turned it around in the second half with goals from Martin Keown and Ian Wright. There was to be one final twist though, with Dennis Wise getting a last minute equaliser.
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