All Guns Blazing: A look back at Arsenal’s best opening day results

10:59 12 August 2014


Arsenal's Charlie Nicholas (r) tries to slip the ball past the tackle from Manchester United's Kevin Moran (l). Picture: S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

In the Gazette’s weekly Arsenal fan column, avid Gooner and journalist Layth Yousif looks at the club’s recent success and recalls their best opening day results

Welcome back! If your summer has been anything like Arsene Wenger’s you’ve had a good one so far.

As I haven’t penned this column since the Cup Final – wasn’t it a superb day/weekend? For someone who’s watched us lift nearly every piece of silverware since 1987 in the flesh, Saturday May 17 is up there with the best of them. Success tastes sweeter after a drought and believe me 2005-2014 seemed an eternity.

Such was the joyful release I thought Arsene Wenger looked as emotional as we’d ever seen – simply because it meant so much to him, to the players, to us.

My eldest daughter was six months old in the summer of 2005. I took her to dear old Highbury for a photo with the FA Cup. I remember saying: ‘We’ll make this a yearly tradition.” Forget financial constraints preventing us win silverware – I was convinced it was my hubris which ensured those barren years.

Yet judging by our equally enjoyable performance at Wembley against Manchester City it appears the players have now got a taste for silverware.

Speaking of players, I recently interviewed Perry Groves for The Gooner. It was instructive to hear him say the Arsenal squad would have learned from fans’ Wembley celebrations, and the 250,000 at the victory parade - explaining it would make them realise how much the club means to supporters. He was also keenly anticipating Alexis Sanchez, as we all are - even if my luck saw me attend the Monaco game rather than Benfica.

So to Crystal Palace, and in keeping with the club’s jubilatory mood, I thought I’d look back at some of our most joyful opening day victories here.

Who remembers Charlie Nicholas’s late goal against United in 1986? Or the 1988 5-1 trouncing of Wimbledon at Plough Lane heralding our never-to-be-forgotten Anfield-89 league win? Or the 4-0 at Middlesbrough in 2001 on Sol Campbell’s debut, signalling a double? Or 4-1 and 6-1 wins at Goodison in 2004 and 2009? If Palace is half as entertaining, we’re in for a treat to start 2014/15.

Finally, I’m humbled to see such interest in my book ‘Arsene Wenger: 50 Defining Fixtures’. I’m having a book launch at Piebury Corner from midday this Saturday. It’d be great to see you there to chat all things Arsenal.

Follow Layth on twitter @laythy29

Pre-order Layth’s book, Arsene Wenger: 50 Defining Fixtures, here


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