editor Richard Clarke has chosen his top 10 Arsenal performances from the 2003/04 season.

In Part two of this feature, Richard reveals the top five matches in his selection. You can watch highlights of each game by scrolling down the page and clicking on the relevant graphic.

"Let me state my case. If the 'Three Rs' are the basis of a sound education then the 'Three Ss' are the basis of true footballing reflection. That's style, substance and significance.

"Style is judging a game by its beauty. The movement of the players, the crispness of the passing or even the crunchiness of the tackling. Then there are the goals. Weaving around eight players, fooling the 'keeper and slotting home or leathering it in from 65 yards, each has their own style credential. How you rate them is, of course, up to you.

"Then there's substance… or guts or determination or grit or bottle or whatever you want to call it. It's the quality you need to come back from a goal down or when you are left with 10 men and two walking wounded or even the ability keep making that lung-bursting run to the far post when a, you have done so 20 times in the game to no avail and b, the one time you did get the ball you missed a sitter. Goals, games and titles are decided on such small matters.

"And then there's significance. Where did this game fit in to the overall pattern of the season? A dazzling performance when you need it most is worth 100 during pre-season. A campaign, like life itself, is made up of a series of moments. Great teams play great games when the moment demands.

"No one factor will dominate the others. Every assessment made has been as a mixture of all three. Some score high on style and substance but low on significance, others were frankly bog-standard performances but they signify an important development in the season. Here we go."

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PLAY13 Mar 2004
Blackburn 0
Arsenal 2

Barclaycard Premiership
March 13, 2004

Although Arsenal were not at their most fluent at Ewood Park, this game in part righted the wrongs of last season. On the same weekend a year earlier Wenger's side had produced by far the worst performance of that entire campaign.

Gilberto, who ended up playing at centre back that day, admitted to Arsenal Plus afterwards that the dire 2-0 defeat was resonating in his mind before kick-off and most of the travelling support would have been fearing déjà vu.

In fact it was not a great performance. Henry curled in a long range free-kick early in the second half and Pires popped up - yet again - to add a second at the death. But the trips to Blackburn, along with Bolton, had been Arsenal's undoing in the title race in 2002/03. This was no glamour game but Arsenal had kept their standards sky high. Matching that 115-year-old unbeaten League season would be based on that principle. Low-key on style, massive on substance and significance.

PLAY21 Feb 2004
Chelsea 1
Arsenal 2

Barclaycard Premiership
February 21, 2004

Arsenal's worst start of the season. Within 27 seconds, Eidur Gudjohnsen had swept in a cross from Geremi and the home side were ahead.

This game came just six days after Arsenal had come from behind at Highbury to beat Claudio Ranieri's side 2-1. It was Arsenal's 16th game against Chelsea without defeat but, this time, Stamford Bridge fancied a shock.

Yet within 20 minutes Arsenal were ahead. First Vieira ran on to one of the best through-balls of the season, from Dennis Bergkamp (who else), to steer the visitors level. Then Chelsea keeper Neil Sullivan failed to gather a corner and Edu hooked home.

Arsenal had to weather the storm around half-time as the home side replied with vigour. But, yet again, they did it. And if you keep on doing it you can't be called lucky. Bergkamp's vision scores high on style points while the substance of the defending was apparent.

As for the significance? Wenger's side had gone to one of their main title rivals, defending when they had to and attacking when they could. And this particular victory came in February when injuries and suspensions were starting to bite. We learnt a lot of about Gael Clichy that day as Ashley Cole was injured and the victory he helped to ensure opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the Premiership.

It would never be reduced.

PLAY4 Oct 2003
Liverpool 1
Arsenal 2

Barclaycard Premiership
October 4, 2003

Another game in which Arsenal trailed. Edu's scrappy header got the visitors level before half time but I remember saying on our commentary that day that in title seasons you have to excel. (Remember Arsenal won at Old Trafford in both 1998 and 2002). Pires popped up with a wonderful long-distance winner and then, significantly, Arsenal retained their lead with relative ease.

The previous season's title bid had been undermined by the loss of such advantages late on. The nature of this victory proved this side would be more resilient this season.

PLAY9 Apr 2003
Arsenal 4
Liverpool 2

Barclaycard Premiership
April 9, 2004

The great make-or-break week of the season had started badly. Out of the FA Cup, out of the Champions League, Arsenal trailed 2-1 to Liverpool at Highbury after 45 minutes. Going down into the press lounge for a half-time cup of tea, you could sense a shock was on the cards and almost hear the sound of grating metal as the knives were being sharpened.

Pires, so often 'Johnny on the Spot' this season, prodded home an equaliser just after the break. And then Henry put Arsenal ahead. I don't need to describe the goal. If you saw it, you will remember it.

This was not a perfect performance. There was obviously fatigue in those legs. But, even tired, they were more than a match for a side that would eventually finish fourth in the Premiership.

Henry added No 4 with perhaps the stroke of good fortune that had been absent in the two games earlier that week.

His second goal lifts the 'style' factor of this game all by itself and its significance in the Premiership campaign can not be overstated. A good magician always has something up his sleeve and this result was conjured up just when it mattered most in the Premiership.

PLAY25 Nov 2003
Inter Milan 1
Arsenal 5

Champions League
November 25, 2003

My first two choices were high-scoring affairs capped by stunning individual goals from Thierry Henry. They are head, shoulders and probably half-a-torso above anything else this season given the criteria set out. But the sensational display at the San Siro just pips it for me.

Remember the significance. Arsenal had taken one point from their first three Champions League games (including a 3-0 reverse at Highbury by Inter on the opening night of Group B). Victory was a necessity.

Remember the absentees - Vieira, Campbell, Lauren, Gilberto, Bergkamp, Wiltord. Remember the then relatively unknown names of Justin Hoyte, Gael Clichy and Michal Papadopulos on the bench. It smacked of a squad at full stretch.

But they delivered. It was Inter's second ever Champions League defeat at the San Siro, their first home loss to English opposition for over 40 years and they went into the game having not conceded a Serie A goal for more than a month!

Henry breached their defence early but Vieri responded with a goal that Jens Lehmann told the website afterwards was "three times lucky". Ljungberg restored the lead then, five minutes from time, Henry conjured up a clinching third that combined pace, vision, confidence and lethal finishing. He left Javier Zanetti, (yes THAT Javier Zanetti, the Argentinian defender with 70 caps) trailing in his wake to spear home a shot past Francesco Toldo. Pires and Edu added late goals but 5-1 did not flatter Arsenal.

They knew they had to win or that modern barometer of footballing greatness - the Champions League - would have been pointing straight towards stormy weather. However they met the challenge and exceeded all expectations.

My report from the San Siro that night ended with one word - incredible. I stand by that.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
5 Jun 2004