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Tuesday 25 June 2013

Around the grounds: The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal

A series on Barclays Premier League stadiums starts with a focus on Arsenal's home ground

  • The state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium has a capacity of 60,362

  • Home of Arsenal Football Club, the Emirates was built in 2006

  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger surveys construction in 2005

  • The Emirates is just down the road from Arsenal's previous home ground, Highbury

  • Striker Thierry Henry scored the last goal at Highbury, Arsenal's home for 93 years

  • A statue of Henry was unveiled outside the stadium in December 2011 profiles all 20 Premier League venues, starting with Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

In profile: The Emirates Stadium

Capacity: 60,362
Year built: 2006
First League match: Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa, 19 August 2006.


After spending 93 years at Highbury Stadium, Arsenal moved just down the road to a state-of-the-art Emirates Stadium in 2006, and the Gunners have continued to establish themselves as one of the top sides in England at this spectacular venue.

The proposal for the new stadium, situated at Ashburton Grove and still in the heart of Islington Borough, was announced in 1999 and, following the award of planning consent in May 2002, work began on its construction in February 2004.

The stadium holds over 60,000 fans, far exceeding the 38,000 capacity at Highbury ground, and the Gunners started life at the Emirates with club legend Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial on 22 July 2006.

Their first Barclays Premier League match at the stadium ended in a 1-1 draw as Aston Villa shared the points with the hosts, but Arsenal only lost one league match there all season as they secured a fourth-place finish, ensuring another UEFA Champions League campaign.

Under the guidance of long-serving manager Arsene Wenger, the North London side have finished in the Premier League’s top four every season since their move. They qualified for the Champions League in all of these campaigns, reaching the last four of Europe’s elite competition in 2009.

  • July 2006: The Emirates Stadium opened for Dennis Bergkamp's testimonial

  • Aug 2006: Gilberto scored Arsenal's first goal there, against Aston Villa in the League

  • Jan 2007: Thierry Henry produced a dramatic winner as Arsenal beat Man Utd 2-1

  • Oct 2008: David Bentley and Tottenham rallied to draw an eight-goal thriller

  • Feb 2012: Theo Walcott scored as Arsenal fought back to beat Spurs 5-2

Three of the best: Barclays Premier League matches at the Emirates

21 Jan 2007: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester United
An added-time header from talismanic French striker Thierry Henry gave Arsenal a dramatic victory over Barclays Premier League leaders Manchester United. The visitors went in front when Wayne Rooney converted a Patrice Evra cross but the Gunners staged a late comeback. Netherlands striker Robin van Persie equalised on 83 minutes before Henry sent the home fans into raptures with a rare headed goal in stoppage time.

29 Oct 2008: Arsenal 4-4 Tottenham Hotspur
Tottenham Hotspur scored two late goals to complete a remarkable comeback and earn a thrilling draw with their North London rivals. This was Harry Redknapp’s first match in charge of a side at the bottom of the Premier League table, and the visitors stunned the hosts by taking the lead with an audacious 40-yard volley by former Arsenal player David Bentley. Goals from Mikael Silvestre, William Gallas and Emmanuel Adebayor turned the match around and, after Darren Bent replied for Tottenham, Robin van Persie put Arsenal 4-2 up with 22 minutes remaining. On 89 minutes, Jermaine Jenas gave Spurs hope with a long-range strike and Aaron Lennon provided Redknapp’s charges with an unlikely equaliser after pouncing on a Luka Modric volley that had crashed against the woodwork.

26 February 2012: Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal recovered from 2-0 down to secure an emphatic victory over their local rivals and revive their hopes of a top-four spot in the Barclays Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur, in third, were 10 points ahead of Arsenal before the match and were two goals to the good after 34 minutes thanks to strikes by Louis Saha and former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor. But the Gunners recovered in spectacular fashion and, after quickfire strikes by Bacary Sagna and Robin van Persie had levelled the match before half-time, went in front through Tomas Rosicky on 51 minutes. Theo Walcott put the match beyond doubt with two goals in three minutes as Arsenal secured an important win.

Mikel Arteta hails the Emirates experience

After Arsenal beat West Bromwich Albion 2-0 in December 2012, Mikel Arteta paid tribute to the Emirates crowd: “The crowd created an unbelievable atmosphere. What they showed towards the team was a really big lift for us because we didn’t know how upset they would be after last week [defeat by Swansea]. We have to thank them for an unbelievable effort, and we got a good three points."

For a 3D tour of the Emirates Stadium and a video profiling Arsenal and their home ground, click here >>

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Key Points

  • looks at the history of Arsenal's home ground, the Emirates Stadium
  • The Emirates was built in 2006 after Arsenal's 93-year stay at Highbury Stadium
  • We pick out three of the best Barclays Premier League matches at the ground, including two thrilling North London derbies