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August 2003 Results & Match Reports


Arsenal were considered the best team during the previous Premier League campaign but had very little to show for it after narrowly missing out on the title to Manchester United.


As a result, manager Arsene Wenger knew that rather than wholesale changes, only a slight reshuffle was required to the Arsenal side for the Gunners to mount a successful title bid this time around, with only Jens Lehmann the notable arrival in the summer.


Things did not go off to the greatest of starts for Arsenal though, as it was Manchester United who drew first blood after they claimed the Community Shield title by seeing off the Gunners on penalties.


However, the defeat in the Community Shield was the only blip in what proved to be a near faultless month for Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger’s men simply romped to the top of the table with four wins on the trot in the Premier League - where they saw off the challenge posed by Everton, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa and Manchester City with consummate ease.


10/8/2003 – Arsenal 1 – 1(P) Manchester United, Venue – Millennium Stadium (Community Shield)


FA Cup holders Arsenal were pitted against champions Manchester United in the curtain raiser Community Shield clash where both teams would have been looking for a win in order to have the psychological advantage heading into the Premier League campaign.


However, the low turnout for the game as well as the searing heat meant that both teams were not able to produce their best. Mikael Silvestre handed United the lead early on into the game but it was soon cancelled out by a wonderful Thierry Henry free kick.


Both teams were very closely matched from that point on but a Francis Jeffers red card for a kick out on Phil Neville meant that the Gunners had to play out the last 20 minutes of the clash with ten men. Arsenal did well to avoid conceding once again and take the game to penalties.


Arsenal’s Giovanni van Bronckhost and Robert Pires failed to find the net during the shootouts, while on the other hand, Manchester United were very accurate with their spot kicks and ultimately, it was the Red Devils who would emerge victorious at the end after Diego Forlan converted the winning penalty.


16/8/2003 – Arsenal 2 – 1 Everton, Venue – Highbury


Arsenal got off to a good start in the Premier League with a gritty 2-1 victory over Everton at home. After a pretty uneventful first 25 minutes, Sol Campbell saw himself sent off after bringing down Thomas Gravesen for a professional foul.


Playing majority of the game with ten men would have been a tough task for even a quality side such as Arsenal but it was in fact the Gunners who would go on to get the breakthrough as Thierry Henry won and converted a penalty to hand his side the lead heading into the break.


Then on the hour mark, Robert Pires handed his side the safety net of a second goal and sent Arsenal on their way to victory. Tomasz Radzinski scored late on to ensure a nervy ending but the Gunners held on to claim the three points.


24/9/2003 – Middlesbrough 0 – 4 Arsenal, Venue – Riverside Stadium


Following their scrappy win over Everton, Arsenal were undoubtedly at their best in the following game as they simply romped past Middlesbrough 4-0 at the Riverside Stadium.


Displaying free flowing attacking football and devastating finishing, Arsenal were irresistible and took a three goal lead within the first 25 minutes through wonderful strikes from Thierry Henry, Gilberto Silva and Sylvain Wiltord.


Wiltord then put the icing on the cake by grabbing his second after the interval and the emphatic win proved that the Gunners had already found their rhythm early on in the campaign.


27/8/1998 – Arsenal 2 – 0 Aston Villa, Venue – Highbury


Arsenal had to dig deep once again to grab a victory as they came up against a stubborn Aston Villa side. The first half was a very tight affair, with the two sides creating very little and the proceedings being a stop start affair due to incessant fouls and no less than five yellow cards being brandished.


The second half was more of an open affair though and it was defender Sol Campbell who got the breakthrough with an emphatic header after some comical defending by Villa from a corner.


Thierry Henry then sealed the three points for Arsenal in the 90th minute as he capitalized on some poor defending by Villa once again. While Arsenal were not at their best, the victory was proof that the Gunners were able to mix flair with grittiness to get the desired result.


31/8/1998 – Manchester City 1 – 2 Arsenal, Venue – City of Manchester Stadium


Sticking with the theme of the month, Arsenal were made to work hard again to claim victory and this time by Manchester City.


The Gunners went behind after a disastrous own goal by Lauren within 10 minutes and created very little of note throughout the first half.


Arsenal came out of flying in the second half though and managed to equalize through Sylvain Wiltord after some wonderful play down the left by Robert Pires and Ashley Cole. Then the victory was gifted to the Gunners by former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman, who made a costly error to allow Fredrik Ljungberg to tap home from close range.

The victory meant that Arsenal raced to the top of the Premier League table with four wins from four matches.


Date

Comp

Opponent

Venue

Score

10th

Community Shield

Man Utd

N

1 - 1 (Lost on Pens)

16th

League

Everton

H

2-1

24th

League

Middlesbro

A

4-0

27th

League

Aston Villa

H

2-0

31st

League

Man City

A

2-1

Pos

Team

Played

Points

GD

1st

Arsenal

4

12

+8

2nd

Man Utd

4

9

+5

3rd

Portsmouth

4

8

+5

4th

Man City

4

7

+3

August 2003 Results

League Table

Player Of The Month: Thierry Henry


While Arsenal enjoyed a 100% record during the month of August, it is not to say that they did not have to endure some sticky moments. As a result, the entire Gunners side had to be at their best to grind out important victories.


However, the man who was turning potentially draws into wins for Arsenal was Theirry Henry. The mercurial Frenchman grabbed four goals in August and helped his side to the top of the Premier League table.


Henry was the man who would provide the end product to all of Arsenal’s beautiful play and he was undoubtedly the star for the Gunners during the opening month of the campaign.