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Looking back: Arsenal beat Wigan in Highbury finale

PUBLISHED: 09:45 08 May 2020 | UPDATED: 09:45 08 May 2020

Arsenal's Thierry Henry celebrates a goal at Highbury during the 2005-06 season

Arsenal's Thierry Henry celebrates a goal at Highbury during the 2005-06 season

PA Archive/PA Images

Arsenal marked the anniversary of the last-ever match at Highbury on May 7, 2006 when they beat Wigan Athletic 4-2 to secure a top-four spot in the Premier League.

Sporting those plum coloured shirts and needing to better Tottenham’s result at West Ham on the same day, they took the lead inside eight minutes as Robert Pires netted at the second attempt from close range.

Wigan levelled when Paul Scharner found the net and they silenced the home crowd when taking a shock lead after David Thompson saw his long-range free-kick catch Jens Lehmann napping at his right-hand post.

But it was all square before the break as Pires threaded the ball through to Henry to slide into the net for his 135th goal on Highbury turf.

And a bad back pass from Thompson in the second half – after news of a Spurs equaliser which would have denied Arsene Wenger’s men filtered through – was seized upon by Henry, who rounded the keeper and tapped home.

A foul on substitute Freddie Ljungberg, which saw Andreas Johansson sent off, then gave Henry the chance to complete his hat-trick from the penalty spot.

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And the mercurial Frenchman sealed the victory before dropping to his knees and kissing the turf.

With West Ham eventually winning 2-1 against Spurs, it ensured a happy send-off for the famous old ground after 93 years on a glorious day in N5, with a host of club legends paraded before the 38.359 crowd.

Henry said: “That was the perfect send-off. We are fourth in the league and table does not lie after 38 games, so we deserve to be in this position.

“We did it the hard way. When I kissed the ground after my third, I was saying goodbye to this stadium.”

Boss Wenger added: “For the history of the club and for this building, to finish on a high I am very proud.

“There was fantastic excitement, strength of character and quality as well.”

Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue, Toure, Campbell, Cole, Hleb (Van Persie 79), Fabregas, Gilberto Silva, Pires (Ljungberg 74), Reyes (Bergkamp 79), Henry. Unused subs: Almunia, Djourou.


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