In the week Highbury played host to its final European game, reporter Chris Harris selects the five greatest European nights at our famous old stadium.

First, a brief explanation. It's easy to flick through Arsenal's recent history, note those victories against illustrious opponents and order them from one to five. But does a European night become memorable solely because of the result? I don't think so. Historical context is also important. That's why a scrappy 1-1 draw with Juventus in 1980 rates higher than a 3-1 victory over the same opponents in 2001. Back then, Arsenal fans were restricted to fleeting glimpses of top continental sides. These days, that novelty value is neutralised by the sheer quantity of group games.

So here are my top five European nights at Highbury. And no, I haven't forgotten that draw against Real Madrid. I just think the runaway Serie A leaders are a bigger scalp than a fading - if famous - Spanish force. Don't forget to tell us what you think. Scroll down the page to find out how you can send your comments and win a prize.

Fairs Cup Final 2nd Leg
April 28, 1970

What happened?
Not just a great European night, but a significant night in the Club's history. Arsenal had lost the first leg 3-1 in Belgium but Ray Kennedy's late away goal threw them a lifeline. Highbury was half-full a couple of hours before kick-off and packed to the rafters when the teams finally emerged. Eddie Kelly's fierce shot and John Radford's header levelled the aggregate scores. Mulder hit the post for Anderlecht but Jon Sammels sealed victory and the Club's first trophy for 17 years. Delirious supporters surged onto the pitch at the final whistle, Charlie George's shirt was ripped from his back and Sir Stanley Rous, then FIFA president, presented the Fairs Cup to Frank McLintock.

What did they say?
Bob Wilson: "After the first leg in Brussels, Frank McLintock's despair turned straight to optimism. He came out of the bath yelling that we were going to win. He lifted everybody, and by the time we left the ground nobody had their heads down. You could say that the second leg was won at that point."

Frank McLintock: "Anderlecht were good. Mulder and van Himst were special players. But defensively they had looked vulnerable when we had been able to attack. Their centre-half looked poor in the air. I believed we could do it, and I wanted to make sure the rest of the lads did."

Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg
April 9, 1980

What happened?
As a football match, this was no classic. For drama it was overshadowed by Paul Vaessen's second-leg winner in Turin. And yet the occasion was significant for its rarity. These days Arsenal fans watch the cream of Europe from one year to the next. Back in 1980, they were lucky to catch a glimpse of the continent's finest players - not to mention its fans - from one decade to the next. Juventus fielded a clutch of Italy internationals who would go on to win the World Cup in Spain two years later, including Dino Zoff, Antonio Cabrini and Marco Tardelli. In the game itself, Cabrini gave Juventus the lead and Bettega forced David O'Leary out of the game with a crude tackle before scoring an own goal to earn Arsenal a draw.

What did they say?
Terry Neill: "I think I can say with the fullness of time that I overreacted a little bit after the game. Bettega made an outrageous tackle on David O'Leary just in front of me in the dug-out. I went a little bit mad afterwards. Managers today are prone to do it but I was one of the first. Thankfully in the end it was all sorted out. But it was a tight tense game that night but we knew we were going to have that situation over the two legs."

European Cup Round 1 1st Leg
September 18, 1991

What happened?
Arsenal fans had waited 20 years to see their team back in Europe's most prestigious club competition - the ban on English sides after the Heysel disaster was still in force when the Gunners were champions two years earlier. Nonetheless, it was worth the wait. George Graham's side proved they belonged at Europe's top table with a crushing victory over Austria Vienna. The game was notable for Alan Smith's four-goal haul - in just 14 second-half minutes - and further strikes from Andy Linighan and Anders Limpar. Arsenal's 6-1 victory remains their biggest home win in European football.

What did they say?
Alan Smith: "Everything I touched seemed to go in. We played really well and it was just one of those nights. I remember my fourth goal when I just poked at the ball from a narrow angle and it crept in off my studs. I came in afterwards and I found out that Dean Saunders had scored four times for Liverpool - the one time I get four goals in a game and someone does it on the same night! Mind you, the European Cup was new to all of us and to do it in that competition was fantastic."

Cup Winners Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg
April 12, 1994

What happened?
A night to remember on the pitch and in the stands. Kevin Campbell's early header was enough to take Arsenal through to their first European final in 14 years after another outstanding defensive display kept out a dangerous Paris St. Germain side, featuring a certain David Ginola. It wasn't all good news - Ian Wright's rash tackle earned him a booking which would rule him out of the clash with Parma. However, Wrighty's woes did not overshadow a glorious night which saw the now famous refrain of 'One-nil to the Arsenal' get its first Highbury airing after being conceived when the Gunners took the lead during the first leg in France.

What did they say?
David Seaman: "Our success in this competition was based on solid defence with the back five coming into its own. George Graham believed that Paris St. Germain were the best side in the competition. They had a couple of useful players - David Ginola and George Weah - but we just wore them down."

Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg
March 28, 2006

What happened?
Seeing off a Real Madrid side widely considered to be a fading force was one thing, but could Arsène Wenger's youngsters overhaul the Italian champions and runaway Serie A leaders? Could Cesc Fabregas - still just 18 - win his midfield battle with former Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira? The answer to both questions was a resounding 'yes'. Fabregas opened the scoring, Thierry Henry added a second and it could easily have been more as the Old Lady of Turin withered in the face of Arsenal's high-tempo attacks. Before the game, Wenger was asked time and again whether he was right to sell Vieira last summer. No one has asked since.

What did they say?
Arsène Wenger: "It was a great night for us. Before the game we wanted to play well defensively and score goals, and we managed to combine both. I'm very happy with the performance and the togetherness of the team, but also with the fluency, the speed, the technical part of the game. Overall the technical quality was very high in patches, and it shows that the team is getting better and better."

Do you agree with Chris' choice? We thought not. E-mail your comments to us - the best responses will each win a copy of 'Arsenal 100 Greatest Games' by Jem Maidment.

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
18 Apr 2006