Thursday 28 March 2013

On this day: Arsenal honour Rocastle with win

In series on Premier League's history, we look at an emotional victory for Arsenal

  • Arsenal and Tottenham mark the passing of David Rocastle before the match

  • Tottenham's new managerial team of Glenn Hoddle and John Gorman watch on

  • Robert Pires breaks the deadlock with a fine goal that beats Neil Sullivan

  • Thierry Henry seals the victory with a typically calm finish

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

31 March 2001 Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

Arsenal kept alive their faint hopes of winning the Barclays Premier League title with victory over their North London rivals at Highbury.

It was an emotionally charged day with the football world reeling from the news that former Arsenal player David Rocastle had lost his battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that morning. A minute's silence took place before the match, with the occasion impeccably marked by both sets of fans.

Tottenham went into the contest with caretaker-manager David Pleat in charge after George Graham was relieved of his duties two weeks earlier. The new managerial team of Glenn Hoddle and John Gorman were in the stands watching on running the rule over their new charges.

Given the circumstances, it was understandable that a subdued home side took a while to get going but Thierry Henry did hit a post early on while the visitors struggled to create clear-cut chances.

Arsenal piled on the pressure after the interval and the breakthrough came with 20 minutes to go when Robert Pires cut inside from the left and expertly curled his shot into the far corner past the outstretched Neil Sullivan.

Victory was sealed four minutes from time, Henry getting past Chris Perry before slotting home.

The teams met again a week later in an FA Cup semi-final at Old Trafford, which Arsenal also won, but the League season ended in disappointment for the Gunners as a surprise 3-0 loss at home to Middlesbrough handed the title to Manchester United with five matches to go.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A piece of action from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Arsenal beating Spurs in 2001