History

12. Arsène Wenger's first Highbury game

Wenger's first home game v Coventry, 1996

Arsène Wenger’s first home game 19 October 1996

Not a classic match by any means, but a significant day in Arsenal's history.

Arsène Wenger was officially in charge of the Gunners for the first time a week earlier when two clinical strikes from Ian Wright earned a 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. But this was the first time he had met the Highbury crowd.

The Frenchman received a rapturous reception as he headed for the dugouts before the game against Coventry. However, Wenger could not inspire his players to a second successive victory despite a host of chances.

By now, Patrick Vieira was already a favourite with the Arsenal crowd. The midfielder started the game while another early Wenger signing, Remi Garde, was on the bench.

The new manager kept faith with the 3-5-2 formation favoured by his predecessor, Bruce Rioch. Wenger brought Dennis Bergkamp off the bench but even he was unable to engineer a breakthrough as the Sky Blues defended stoutly.

In fact, the most notable incident was an injury to Steve Ogrizovic. The Coventry goalkeeper was stretchered off four minutes from time after a collision with Wright.

Wenger did not have to wait long for his first win at Highbury. A week later, goals from Lee Dixon, Bergkamp and Wright saw Arsenal overcome Leeds, managed at the time by former Gunners boss George Graham.

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