If Arsenal can defeat Bolton Wanderers this weekend, they will surely see it as a good omen.

In March 1998, on their first visit to the brand new Reebok Stadium, Arsenal ran out 1-0 victors thanks to a Christopher Wreh strike and went on to win the Premiership and FA Cup double.

Four years later, in April 2002, the Gunners visited the Reebok Stadium for the second time and goals from Fredrik Ljungberg and Sylvain Wiltord earned another Arsenal win en route to Arshne Wenger's second Premiership and FA Cup double.

So can Arsenal pick up three points in April 2003 at the Reebok and win the double for a third time under Wenger's guidance?

Back in 1998, when Bolton played Arsenal it would have seemed most unlikely that both teams would field players who had won the World Cup and the European championships.

That's exactly what will happen this weekend though, as Youri Djorkaeff and Robert Pires go head to head in one of the game's most critical encounters. World champions in 1998 with France and then European champions in 2000, the two players have enjoyed some incredible moments in their careers, but both have goals on the domestic front during the next few weeks.

Djorkaeff will be looking to help the Trotters secure enough points to retain their Premiership status. With three games to go, Bolton are four points clear of West Ham and any addition to Djorkaeff's tally of six goals could go a long way to helping his club avoid being overhauled by the Hammers.

Pires has his sights focussed on the Premiership title and the FA Cup. He will be particularly keen to help Arsenal win both trophies having missed out on the run-in and the FA Cup final last season through his cruciate knee ligament injury.

Pires equalled a Premiership record of assists in 2001-02, but has not been so influential in creating goals this season. Instead, he has become a goalscorer, bagging 10 in the Premiership - the highest tally by any midfielder bar Paul Scholes - despite missing the first three months of the campaign. Only Thierry Henry has scored more for the Gunners this term, but Pires has not scored in his last five outings and will feel he is due a goal.

Djorkaeff is also his team's second highest scorer, just one behind Henrik Pedersen who has seven, but the veteran French forward has also bagged four assists.

Pires has posted better passing stats, but Djorkaeff has the edge when it comes to wide positions. His crossing accuracy is superior to Pires' figures, but when it comes to dribbling with the ball, the Arsenal man is far harder to knock off the ball than the former Kaiserslautern and Inter forward.

Djorkaeff and Pires are critical weapons in each of their respective team's attacking armoury and their performances are likely to have a major impact on the outcome of this crucial game.

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Youri Djorkaeff - Robert Pires 2,792 Minutes on Pitch 1,506 Goal Attempts 6 Goals 10 30 Shots on target 20 30 Shots off target 14 Passing 4 Goal assists 2 980 Total passes 887 70% Pass completion % 83% 28% Cross completion % 23% Dribbling 149 Dribbles & Runs 169 49% Dribble completion % 69% Discipline 53 Fouls 6 44 Offsides 1 4 Yellow cards 0 0 Red cards 0


Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Apr 2003