13. Bergkamp fires Gunners into Europe

Arsenal qualify for Europe on final day of season 5 May 1996

Bruce Rioch's tenure at Arsenal was short-lived but it ended on a high note on the final day of the 1995/96 season.

The Gunners had adopted a more attractive passing game under Rioch, who deployed Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn as wing-backs and brought in established internationals David Platt and Dennis Bergkamp.

Those signings both played their part in a thrilling finish to the campaign at Highbury. Mediocre away form had cost Arsenal any chance of the title but a victory against Bolton would see the Gunners pip Everton to a UEFA Cup place.

It looked to be a foregone conclusion. Bolton were rock bottom and relegated, while Arsenal had a potent strikeforce of Bergkamp and Ian Wright.

Things didn't go as planned. With 14 minutes remaining, Andy Todd gave Bolton a shock lead. Ironically, it seemed that Rioch's former club would deny his new side a place in Europe.

With the crowd getting restless and time running out, Arsenal poured forward. Platt slammed the ball through Keith Branagan's legs with eight minutes to go to level matters, but the Gunners needed another goal.

Step forward Bergkamp. Two minutes after Platt's strike, the Dutch master collected a short pass from the England midfielder before finding the top corner from 20 yards. Highbury erupted, and Bolton were finally beaten.

Rioch celebrated but he was gone by the start of the following campaign. As for Bergkamp, that goal was a sign of things to come. Two years later he was named Footballer of the Year after inspiring Arsenal to their second Double.

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