9th August 1997: The start of the second double season

9th August 1997:  Overmars, Petit and Grimandi all start their first game for Arsenal.  And of all people to play: Leeds United managed by George Graham at Elland Road.

Did we know these new players? No, most of us didn’t. And we certainly did not know that the Petit / Vieira partnership would be one of those partnerships that would be talked about for years to come.

Our team was


Winterburn  Bould  Grimandi Garde

Overmars (Hughes) Vieira (Platt) Petit  Parlour

Wright Bergkamp

With new faces in the team it wasn’t a great start to the season – we took the lead and Leeds equalised before half time.

The commentators were their inevitable English-is-best selves, criticising all these foreign players who “don’t know how the game is played here” – Grimandi coming in for quite a pasting despite providing a beautiful pass to Wright for the goal.

The interesting point of course is where these two clubs went subsequently.  At the time of this match Leeds were up there with the big boys, and with Graham in charge there was hope that they could win something.  As for Arsenal, well, what does this Frenchman who has been in Japan know about football in England? Not a lot according to the media.

After Arsenal won the double did any journalist apologise for his negative comments during pre-season and on this day? Maybe, but I never saw it. There is a rather nice set of videos from that season here.