Tuesday 07 May 2013
Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.
Arsenal’s final fixture of the 2005/06 season, at home to Wigan Athletic also, marked their last match at Highbury Stadium.
Their home for the past 93 years, the stadium’s capacity of 38,000 and limited corporate facilities had restricted the money that could be made available to Arsene Wenger, the manager, to compete with their rivals. So a 60,000-seat stadium was built within a stone’s throw and named the Emirates Stadium in preparation for the 2006/07 season.
Aside from all the commemoration for Arsenal fans that day was the issue of qualification for the UEFA Champions League. Tottenham Hotspur started the day a point ahead in the coveted fourth spot and travelled to West Ham United needing to match their North London rivals’ result to enjoy their first campaign in the Champions League.
Things started well for Arsenal with Robert Pires, in what would be his last home match for the club, giving them the lead. But newly promoted Wigan, under Paul Jewell, stunned the Highbury faithful by taking the lead through Paul Scharner and David Thompson.
Up stepped Thierry Henry, the league’s leading scorer, to net a hat-trick. The final goal, from the penalty spot, was greeted with a kiss of the turf as the Frenchman said goodbye to the stadium. The spot-kick was awarded for a foul by Andreas Johansson, who had just come on as substitute and earned the ignominy of being sent off without touching the ball.