Arsenal FC is one of the most famous clubs in world football and one of the most successful in England.
Based in North London they moved from Highbury to The Emirates in 2006 – a custom built and state of the art stadium which packs in 60,000 spectators for every home game.
They are one of the most prominent clubs in terms of domestic success in England with 13 league titles stretching back to 1930. They have also won 12 FA Cups, two League Cups and a whopping 14 Community Shield wins. They also have one European Cup Winners Cup trophy to their name.
Arsenal have never won The European Cup – the biggest club competition in the world. But they did reach the final as recently as 2006 where they played an amazing game against Barcelona at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, Paris, France, on Wednesday, 17 May 2006.
They went down to ten men when keeper Jens Lehman was sent off early in the game and looked as if they were down and out. But man-mountain Sol Campbell scored with a header in the 37th minute to give Arsenal an unlikely lead. They held on heroically to that lead until the last fifteen minutes of the game when two strikes in quick succession – from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti – crushed Arsenal’s resolve and left them defeated.
But this was one of the highlights of Arsenal’s most successful period in their history. Between 1988 and 2004 The Gunners won the title five times.
Under George Graham they were noted for their defensive resilience and the chant of ‘boring boring Arsenal’ was used ironically by Arsenal fans and those of the opposition as they famously scratched out many 1-0 wins.
But the arrival of Arsene Wenger in 1996 changed all that. Arsenal retained their superb back line for a few more years but Wenger added some of the best attacking talent that the world had to offer. Over the next decade the likes of Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Kanu, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin van Persie and Thierry Henry graced the club and the apparent plan was to simply outscore the opponent with constantly attacking football.
The apex of this vintage was in 2003/04 when Arsenal’s ‘invincibles’, as they were known, went through the entire league season without defeat – a record which was never matched before and hasn’t happened since.
The subsequent period has seen an arguable decline in standards at Arsenal. While the attack has remained potent The Gunners have been too easy to play through and has lost some of the mettle which players like Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Patrick Vieira brought to the club.
And while some supporters have become disenchanted with the French master it’s difficult to refute the benefits he has brought to the club.
While overseeing a hugely expensive and ambitious project to re-house Arsenal in a wonderful new stadium Wenger has also kept his team competitive on the pitch with The Gunners finishing in the top four – positions which grant teams access to the hugely lucrative Champions League – virtually every since he became manager.
The leading scorer in Arsenal’s history is the amazing Thierry Henry who hit 228 goals for the club in 377 appearances in two spates in the team between 1999 and 2012. Not only did he hit more goals than any of his predecessors but he embodied the way that Arsenal have always liked to play the game with flair and an attacking philosophy.
The Arsenal player with the most appearances to his name is David O’Leary who played a remarkable 722 games for the club and scored 14 goals over the space of 18 years between 1975 and 1993.
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