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Tuesday 07 May 2013

On this day: Arsenal bid adieu to Highbury

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall the final match in Arsenal's home of 93 years

  • David Thompson celebrated his goal as Wigan threatened to spoil the party

  • Thierry Henry started the revival for Arsenal

  • Andreas Johansson was sent off for giving away a penalty without touching the ball

  • Henry completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot

  • After scoring the Frenchman said goodbye to Highbury by kissing the turf

  • The victory meant that the stadium could be bid adieu amidst joyous scenes

  • It was also an end of an era as Robert Pires and Ashley Cole, with Henry, left that summer rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day 7 May 2006 Arsenal 4-2 Wigan Athletic

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.

The news that Spurs had lost to West Ham, enabling Arsenal to rise to fourth, meant the party could start properly at the final whistle.

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Key Points

  • looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Arsenal saying farewell to Highbury in style in 2006