2 February 2002

On 2 February 2002 Arsenal drew 1-1 at home with Southampton.  It was considered a poor result since it left Arsenal 3rd in the table, whereas a win would have left them second.  For Southampton it meant that they were 13th – and the table showed them as a club that should have been beaten. Southampton got their equaliser on 80 minutes.

But the result did mean that Arsenal had not only scored in every league during the season, but they also set the new record of scoring in 26 top league games.

The goal itself came from Wiltord.  Henry had crossed, Bergkamp took the cross down, and Wiltord scored from five yards.

As for why we didn’t win – the lack of Patrick Vieira who went off on 28 minutes was a major cause.  After that the free flowing football that we were expecting didn’t happen.  Gio van Bronckhorst came on, but the movement thereafter was not as good as before.

In the press it was the usual theme – Arsenal don’t take their chances, Wasteful Arsenal, and all that stuff. And yes it was disappointing. The team was: Wright, Luzhny, Campbell, Upson, Cole (Grimandi 52), Pires, Vieira (van Bronckhorst 27), Parlour, Wiltord, Henry, Bergkamp (Edu 71).

After the game the table looked like this…

1Manchester United2616376435+2951
2Newcastle United2515464832+1649
6Leeds United2411943523+1242
7Aston Villa2591063128+337
8Tottenham Hotspur2595113534+132
9Charlton Athletic248883030032

Arsenal in third, but with a worse goal difference than Man U and thus effectively with four points to make up.

The next game (away to Everton who were having a poor season, languishing in 14th and who had already lost 5 home games) followed by the return game, were both eminently winnable.  But then there was second in the table Newcastle, away.  Not so easy.

In fact, what happened was utterly amazing.  Arsenal played 13 more games and won the lot!

  • 10 Feb 2002: Everton 0 Arsenal 1
  • 23 Feb 2002: Arsenal 4 Fulham 1
  • 2 Mar 2002: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2
  • 5 Mar 2002: Arsenal 1 Derby C 0
  • 17 Mar 2002 Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2
  • 30 Mar 2002 Arsenal 3 Sunderland 0
  • 1 April 2002: Charlton 0 Arsenal 3
  • 6 April 2002: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1
  • 21 April 2002: Arsenal 2 Ipswich 0
  • 24 April 2002: Arsenal 2 WHU 0
  • 29 April 2002: Bolton 0 Arsenal 2
  • 8 May 2002: Man U 0 Arsenal 1
  • 11 May 2002: Arsenal 4 Everton 3

After the 29 April match Man U could still have won the league if Man U had won their two remaining  games and Arsenal had lost.   This was in fact possible given that the 8 May game was a Man U v Arsenal game.

But Arsenal won, and the final table looked liked this

3Manchester United3824598745+4277
4Newcastle United3821897452+2271
5Leeds United38181285337+1666
7West Ham United38158154857-953
8Aston Villa381214124647-150
9Tottenham Hotspur38148164953-450
10Blackburn Rovers381210165551+446

Arsenal had not only overtake Man U on points, but also on goal difference, which one might not have expected.   But then, no one really expected 13 wins in a row.