How do you win over Arsenal's fans? Simple - score the goal which beats Manchester United and clinches the Double at Old Trafford.
That's exactly what Sylvain Wiltord did in May 2002 as Arsène Wenger's side swept all before them on the domestic stage for the second time in four years. Wiltord never achieved 'legendary' status at Highbury but he will always have a place in the Arsenal supporters' hearts after converting the rebound when Freddie Ljungberg's shot was parried by Fabien Barthez on that glorious night.
|Arsenal Career||2000 - 2004|
|Appearances||175 (124 starts, 51 as a sub)|
Wiltord moved to Highbury in August 2000, fresh from scoring a last-gasp equaliser for France in the Euro 2000 Final which Les Bleus went on to win. He joined a large French contingent at Arsenal including Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and Thierry Henry, but the presence of the latter - not to mention Dennis Bergkamp - meant Wiltord had to bide his time for chances in his favoured centre forward role.
While he waited, the Frenchman filled in effectively on the right of midfield, providing a cutting edge from that flank and carrying out his defensive duties too. Wherever he featured on the pitch, Wiltord never lost the knack of turning up in the right place at the right time to score important goals.
Fifteen came in Wiltord's first season, including six in the FA Cup run which ended with defeat against Liverpool in the Final. The Frenchman's highlight was surely a 33-minute hat-trick against West Ham in March.
With his adaptation period behind him, Wiltord went from strength to strength in 2001/02. His ability to spin and get shots away in tight situations served Wiltord well and he scored 17 times, netting vital strikes against Chelsea and Bolton before that famous winner at Old Trafford.
Wiltord made a flying start to his next campaign, scoring six goals in the first six Premiership games as the champions flew out of the blocks. The goals dried up after that - he netted seven times more all season - but Wiltord did come on as a substitute in the FA Cup Final victory over Southampton in May 2003.
An ankle injury sidelined Wiltord for three months during the 'Invincibles' season and, as a result, he was a bit-part player in that historic squad. With Henry and Bergkamp still in full flow, the Frenchman returned to his homeland when his contract expired in the summer of 2004.