Invincibles This Week: We won it at the Lane...

Arsenal celebrate winning the Premier League at White Hart Lane

Each week, we'll reminisce about our incredible Invincible season 20 years on by looking back at what was going on at the club on and off the pitch, as well as remembering key news stories and the pop culture buzz at the time.

Last week, we thrashed Leeds United 5-0 to move 10 points clear at the top of the table and put us on the brink of the championship ahead of our trip to our neighbours. The title was tantalisingly close…

Setting the scene

Newcastle score against Chelsea in 2004

Our healthy lead meant that Chelsea would have to be near-on perfect if they were going to push us all the way, but hours before our north London derby goals from Shola Ameobi and Alan Shearer saw Newcastle United come from behind to beat the Blues 2-1, meaning one more point for us would be enough to clinch the title.

That meant the opportunity was there for Arsene Wenger’s team to clinch it at the home of their bitterest rivals, who were hoping to be the side to finally end our 33-game unbeaten run and claim a sliver of joy from a mediocre season that saw them in 14th going into this game.

Wenger’s words

Arsene Wenger in Highbury's Marble Halls

With Spurs sitting six points above the drop, Wenger was adamant this would be a tough derby day despite their lowly position.

“There is something at stake for both teams,” he said pre-match. “Tottenham are not completely safe although they are 90 percent, but in their mind, they don’t feel safe. It is difficult to predict.

“Whenever I have been to White Hart Lane it has never been a stroll. They always raise their game really well at White Hart Lane.”

From the dressing room

Kolo Toure in 2004

Having been nominated for PFA Young Player of the Young, Kolo Toure reflected on the moment his breakout campaign truly began: “When we were at the training camp in Austria at the beginning of the season I spoke to the boss," said Kolo, "and I said I'd love to play in my right position, which is centre-back.

“The boss said OK Kolo, I will give you your chance' and I then played my first game against Besiktas and I played really well, we won 1-0 and I think my whole season stemmed from that game.

“When you play with a player like Sol Campbell you have to be clever and look at him very closely and learn from him, do the things he does, and I think that has been why we have been good together. I have also spoken to Martin Keown a lot whilst I have been here, he has helped me a lot and I will miss him. But I am happy with the way I've taken my chance.”

On the pitch

April 25, 2004

An injury-time penalty from Robbie Keane may have denied us victory at White Hart Lane, but the draw was good enough for us to win the Premier League title and continue our undefeated season.

After Patrick Vieira had slid us ahead after only three minutes, the silverware was never in doubt. It took just 11 seconds for Thierry Henry to gather a Spurs corner, sprint upfield and find Dennis Bergkamp, who delivered a perfect cross for the onrushing captain to convert.

Then on 35 minutes, the away contingent were boisterous again when Robert Pires met a Vieira delivery to complete a wonderful 12-pass move, and the celebrations could begin early.

However Tottenham got back into the game when Jamie Redknapp's shot from 25 yards flew into the net in the 61st minute, and Jens Lehmann was called into action to save free-kicks from Redknapp and Jermain Defoe.

We had further chances to wrap up the win when Henry missed from close range and Pires sent an effort against the crossbar, but in the dying seconds Spurs were awarded a penalty following an incident between Lehmann and Keane, from which the Irishman struck home the equaliser with the final kick of the game.

It was a disappointing end for our players who had been in charge for much of the contest, but they lifted themselves quickly and did a jig of victory at the final whistle in front of the travelling supporters, as, just like in 1971, we had won the league at White Hart Lane.

Line-up: Lehmann, Lauren, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Parlour (Edu 66), Gilberto, Vieira, Pires, Bergkamp (Reyes 80), Henry. Subs not used: Stack, Clichy, Keown.

Where we stood

  P W D L F A Pts
Arsenal 34 24 10 0 69 24 82
Chelsea 35 22 6 7 61 29 72
Man Utd 35 14 11 10 49 36 53
Liverpool 35 14 11 10 49 36 53
Aston Villa 35 14 10 11 46 41 52

What the press said

Robert Pires celebrates scoring against Tottenham

"Arsenal, winning the championship at White Hart Lane: for many who follow Tottenham, it is a nightmare." - The Observer

"Once again, Arsenal borrowed their neighbours’ house for a party, yet this time Tottenham seemed not to mind." - Daily Telegraph

"'Arsene Knows', proclaimed one banner high up in the corner of White Hart Lane. And indeed he does." - The Times

Elsewhere this week

Thierry Henry with the PFA Player of the Year trophy in 2004

Thierry Henry was crowned the PFA Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.

We also had six players in the PFA Team of the Year - Lauren, Campbell, Vieira, Pires, Henry and Ashley Cole.

We completed the signing of 20-year-old Dutch striker Robin van Persie from Feyenoord, who would link up the team in the summer.

Image of the week

Ashley Cole places an inflatable Premier League trophy on the White Hart Lane centre spot

Cole famously marked our title triumph by placing an inflatable Premier League trophy on the centre circle at White Hart Lane during the post-match celebrations.

The players had been told not to egg the moment in front of the home supporters, but they couldn't resist when the moment arrived as they headed to the Gooners in the away end to bask in their glory.

UK number ones

Official Top 40: I Don't Want You Back - Eamon
Album chart: Greatest Hits - Guns ‘N’ Roses
Box office: Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (third week at no. 1)

In the news this week

Shrek the Sheep

Skyscraper 30 St Mary Axe, known more commonly as The Gherkin, in the City of London opens for the first time.

ITV unveils plans to launch a new show called The X Factor, a music talent contest developed by Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell.

Shrek the sheep from Tarras, Central Otago, New Zealand, is finally shorn live on TV after six years, its fleece weighed 27 kg (60 lb).

Find out what happened next as we tried to add another two games to our unbeaten run in quick succession.

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