In It's an Honour, featured first in the official matchday programme, we're looking back at the seasons that have brought silverware to north London. We re-live the 1993/94 European Cup Winners' Cup campaign.
Alan Smith’s first-half volley gave Arsenal a superb, against the odds, 1-0 win over Parma in the Cup Winners’ Cup final. Italian giants Parma were the holders of the cup and looking to become the first team ever to retain the honour.
They were heavy favourites at the Parken Stadium especially as Arsenal went into the match without leading scorer Ian Wright (suspended), John Jensen, David Hillier and Martin Keown (all injured).
But, after Tomas Brolin hit a post early on for the Italians, the Gunners went ahead in the 19th minute. Smith chested down a Parma clearance following a pass forward from Lee Dixon before cracking a shot in off the post.
From then on George Graham’s men turned in a superb defensive display to quell the threat of Gianfranco Zola and Faustino Asprilla. For the majority of the match Parma enjoyed more of the possession and created the better chances but David Seaman and the famous back four stood firm.
Parma's first ever meeting with English opposition had certainly been an education for them. The Copenhagen final was the conclusion to another long and successful cup run, Arsenal’s third in two years. It started with a 3-2 aggregate win over Odense of Denmark, and continued with a 10-0 victory over Standard Liege, including a 7-0 away win against the Belgians.
In fact Arsenal conceded just one goal in their last seven Cup Winners’ Cup ties, beating Torino and Paris St-Germain along the way. A yellow card for Wright, his second of the competition, in the second leg of the semi-final against PSG ruled him out of the final.
In the league that season Arsenal finished fourth, having remained unbeaten for 19 matches at one stage. However they exited both domestic cups at Highbury, losing to Bolton in the FA Cup and eventual winners Aston Villa in the League Cup.
European Cup Winners’ Cup appearances: Davis 9, Seaman 9, Winterburn 9, Adams 8, Dixon 8, Jensen 8, Merson 8, Smith 7+2, Campbell 6+2, Wright 6, Bould 5+1, Selley 5+2, Keown 4+3, McGoldrick 3+2, Hillier 2+1, Linighan 1+1, Morrow 1.
European Cup Winners’ Cup goals: Wright 4, Campbell 4, Merson 3, Smith 2, Adams 2, Selley 1, McGoldrick 1.
Road to Copenhagen First round first leg Odense 1, Arsenal 2 First round second leg Arsenal 1, Odense 1 Second round first leg Arsenal 3, Standard Liege 0 Second round second leg Standard Liege 0, Arsenal 7 Third round first leg Torino 0, Arsenal 0 Third round second leg Arsenal 1, Torino 0 Semi-final first leg Paris St-Germain 1, Arsenal 1 Semi-final second leg Arsenal 1, Paris St-Germain 0. Final – May 4, 1994 Arsenal 1, Parma 0 (in Copenhagen) Smith 19
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams, Merson (McGoldrick), Selley, Morrow, Davis, Campbell, Smith.
Subs not used: Miller, Linighan, Parlour, Dickov.
Also that season: England failed to qualify for the 1994 World Cup finals, despite beating San Marino 7-1 in the final group game. A 2-0 defeat to Holland on October 13, 1993 proved fatal, and Graham Taylor soon stood down as national boss.
And...Nelson Mandela was elected President of South Africa on May 10, 1994.
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