PicturesWenger reactionProgrammePLUS HighlightsPLUS ClassicsWallpaperArsenal 7-0 Everton
Arsenal Stadium, Highbury
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
Kick-off: 8pmMORE PICTURES
- Alan Wiley
- Jens Lehmann
- Ashley Cole
- Philippe Senderos
- Sol Campbell
- Robert Pires
- Cesc Fabregas 64
- Patrick Vieira
- Mathieu Flamini 45
- Jose Reyes
- Dennis Bergkamp
- Robin Van Persie
- Thierry Henry 45
- Manuel Almunia
- Kolo Toure
- Richard Wright
- Steve Watson
- Alessandro Pistone
- David Weir
- Lee Carsley
- James McFadden
- Kevin Kilbane
- Joseph Yobo
- Tony Hibbert
- Mikel Arteta
- Duncan Ferguson 75
- James Beattie
- Marcus Bent 65
- Iain Turner
- Guillaume Plessis
- Alan Stubbs
Pires 12, 50
Edu 70 (pen)
By Richard Clarke
What a way to end the season at Highbury.
The next time Arsenal finish a home campaign they will be staying goodbye to this famous old stadium forever. But this would have been a great way to bid farewell.
Dennis Bergkamp pulled the strings in the first half to set up Robin Van Persie, Robert Pires and Patrick Vieira for strikes. There was no let up after the interval with Pires again, Edu, Bergkamp himself and Mathieu Flamini finishing off an incredible evening.
It was the best win of any kind under Arsène Wenger and the biggest Premiership victory of the season.
With automatic Champions League qualification assured, Arsène Wenger made some significant changes to his side. Sol Campbell started his first game since the 4-2 defeat against Manchester United on February 1. Kolo Toure made way.
Thierry Henry had been absent with a groin injury the day before the FA Cup Semi-Final. The problem had lingered to such an extent that it threatened his participation in the Final. So it was a great sigh of relief to see him fit enough to return to the bench this evening.
It was also significant to see Edu replaced Gilberto (ankle) in midfield. The former is expected to be leaving Arsenal in the summer so this was his farewell.
Bergkamp stepped up from substitute to join Van Persie up front and Jose Antonio Reyes dropped to the left side of midfield. Francesc Fabregas was bumped to the bench as a result.
This was a significant night at Highbury. It was the last time to famous old ground would host an Arsenal side wearing red and white. The move to Emirates Stadium had begun.
However it nearly started as a sad farewell. In the second minute Mikel Arteta appeared unmarked in the middle but could only loop a shot straight at Jens Lehmann.
The game was open and lively. These were two of the top four sides in the Premiership and were playing without pressure for the first time this season. Both could go no higher or lower in the League.
In the eighth minute, Bergkamp threaded a typically astute ball between the centre back and full back. Van Persie raced into the area, collected and slipped the ball past Wright.
Four minutes later the lead was doubled. Again the architect was Bergkamp, who rifled a pass into the path of Reyes on the left. He cut the ball back and it ran loose to the edge of the area for Pires. The Frenchman's drive was batted out by Wright but it bounced high and he nodded in the rebound off the bar.
Beattie stretched Lehmann again and Arteta blasted wide but Arsenal were bristling tonight. Van Perise tested Wright once more and Vieira thumped a vicious shot wide.
Then, seven minutes from the break, Van Persie and Bergkamp combined to set up Vieira. The captain lifted the ball over sprawling Wright and high into the net. Arsenal were 3-0 up and playing with the cockiness of champions. It was a joy to behold.
Just before the interval, Van Persie free-kick was charged down and, from the rebound, Reyes stung the hands of Wright. You could not argued with a fourth.
Often, after a great first half, the momentum dies. The aggressors have done their job and the oppressed side are only concerned about damage limitation. That was not the case tonight.
Wenger brought on Henry and Flamini for Van Persie and Vieira. It gave the home side renewed impetus. As ever, the top scorer was in the thick of things.
After five minutes, Henry's pass ricocheted off Carsley and fell nicely for Pires to drive home. Soon afterwards the sliding striker just failed to connect with a cross.
Everton had introduced Marcus Bent at the break and, in the hour, the striker raced clear on Campbell. It was the centre half's first real test but he timed his challenge to perfection. Sol was back.
But the focus was still at the other end. Henry burst through on the left and Wright could only half stop his drive. Then, from a corner in the 70th minute, the Frenchman flicked a ball that hit Carsley on the hand. Referee Alan Wiley pointed to the spot and, for sentimental reasons, Edu was handed the responsibility to squeeze his penalty past Wright and into the corner.
But no one had worked harder than Bergkamp tonight. He was rewarded in the 77th minute when he charged down a clearance and, with perfect control, he tamed a high ball before guiding a shot past Wright.
It was turning into a stirring night. Even Lehmann go in on the act two minutes later with a point-blank save from swivelling substitute Duncan Ferguson.
Flamini finished off the scoring with five minutes left when he sidefooted home from close range after a knockdown from Reyes.
Van Persie makes it 1-0Pires loops the ball over WrightPires pulls the trigger Edu fires home from the spotBergkamp shoots....and scores!
2004/05 FIXTURE LIST
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