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January 2004 Results & Match Reports

January proved to be another fruitful month for Arsenal in the Premier League as the Gunners managed to keep the pressure on leaders Manchester United with two victories in three matches.

Arsene Wenger’s men also made good progress in the FA Cup after seeing off Leeds United and Middlesbrough to make it into the 5th round of the famous competition.

However, there was a major setback for Arsenal during the month after they suffered defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough in the 1st leg semi final clash of the League Cup at Highbury, which put the Gunners in a very difficult position heading into the return leg.

On the transfer front, Arsenal were not too active but made one major signing in the form of Spanish youngster Jose Antonio Reyes from Sevilla for a fee of around £10.5million

3/1/2004 – Leeds United 1 – 4 Arsenal, Venue – Elland Road (FA Cup)

The turn of the year started off with the traditional FA Cup 3rd Round clash, where defending Champions Arsenal were up against struggling Leeds United. Things did not get off to a very good start for the Gunners as Jens Lehmann dallying on the ball inside his own box was capitalized upon by Mark Viduka to hand the hosts an unexpected lead.

However, after conceding the goal, Arsenal put in an exhibition display, hitting back with four goals of the highest quality. Thierry Henry got Arsenal’s equalizer after turning in a delicious Freddie Ljungberg cross shortly before Edu handed the Gunners the lead, finishing off a wonderful team move.

Arsenal dominated the game after taking the lead but had to wait until the 87th minute to seal the game as Robert Pires found the net with another wonderful goal. Then even Kolo Toure got in on the act by slotting home from close in the 90th minute to seal an emphatic win for the FA Cup holders.

7/1/2004 – Everton 1 – 1 Arsenal, Venue – Goodison Park

Following their fine win in the FA Cup, Arsenal surprisingly dropped points in the Premier League after being held to a draw by Everton at Goodison Park.

Kanu had handed the Gunners the lead on the half an hour mark but Arsene Wenger’s men could not find the second to seal the game and were duly punished in the second half after Tomasz Radzinski equalized with an instinctive reaction to a rebound.

The result meant that Arsenal found themselves trailing three points behind leaders Manchester United.

10/1/2004 – Arsenal 4 – 1 Middlesbrough, Venue – Highbury

Arsenal got back on track in the Premier League after the disappointment against Everton, with a fine 4-1 victory over Middlesbrough to move level on points at the top of the Premier League table.

After a tight start to the game, Arsenal took the lead in the 38th minute after Thierry Henry converted a penalty following Ugo Ehiogu’s trip on Patrick Vieira. The Gunners doubled their lead soon after as Boro defender Franck Queudrue deflected the ball into his own net to hand the hosts a comfortable two goal lead going into the interval.

Arsene Wenger’s men continued their dominance in the second period as well, as Robert Pires put the result beyond doubt in the 57th minute before Freddie Ljungberg made it four with another fine finish.

Boro did get one goal back through a penalty from Massimo Maccarone but it did little to take the shine off of what had been a magnificent performance by Arsenal.

18/1/2004 – Aston Villa 0 – 2 Arsenal, Venue – Villa Park

Arsenal continued their fine run of form in the league, albeit following a controversial victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.

After a tight first half and hour, Thierry Henry found the net for Arsenal from a free kick but it was a highly contentious goal due to the fact that the Aston Villa wall as well as goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen did not look ready to defend the set piece.

Villa protested vehemently but it fell on deaf ears as referee Mark Halsey deemed the goal as perfectly legitimate. The Gunners then sealed the victory early on in the second half as Henry scored once again - this time through a penalty after Kanu had done brilliantly to bamboozle the Villa defence and draw a foul inside the box.

The result meant that Arsenal moved to the top of the Premier League table with a two point advantage over Manchester United.

20/1/2004 – Arsenal 0 – 1 Middlesbrough, Venue – Highbury (League Cup)

Just two days after their victory over Aston Villa, Arsenal faced Middlesbrough in the first leg of the League Cup semi finals. Having hammered Boro just a fortnight ago, the Gunners were expected to breeze past their opponents once again.

However, that did not prove to be the case as Arsene Wenger’s men slumped to a 1-0 defeat. Having fielded a weakened side, Arsenal did not look at their best against the much more experienced Middlesbrough and it was Brazilian midfielder Juninho who got the only goal of the game through a well taken finish in the 14th minute.

The Gunners did not do enough to get the equalizer despite creating a couple of chances and Boro certainly deserved to take the advantage back to the Riverside following a very good display.

24/1/2004 – Arsenal 4 – 1 Middlesbrough, Venue – Highbury (FA Cup)

In Arsenal’s third meeting with Middlesbrough at Highbury in the space of only 14 days, the Gunners managed to exact revenge over Steve McClaren’s men for their loss in the League Cup with a convincing 4-1 victory in the FA Cup.

Dennis Bergkamp opened the scoring for the hosts in the 19th minute but the Gunners were soon pegged back with Joseph Desire Job equalizing magnificently. Arsenal were soon back in front though as Freddie Ljungberg found the net from close range to give the home side the lead heading into half time.

Ljunberg got into the act once again in the second half as he headed in the third before 19-year old David Bentley scored the goal of the match in the 90th minute with an audacious chip over Mark Schwarzer from outside the box.







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January 2004 Results

League Table

Player Of The Month:
Freddie Ljungberg

Arsenal’s brilliant free flowing style was a pleasure to watch in January and although all of the Gunners’ fine attacking players had made a good impression, Swedish winger Freddie Ljunberg was simply outstanding.

Ljunberg’s wonderful service allowed the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Kanu to score a bagful of goals, while the winger grabbed a couple of important strikes himself to help Arsenal cap off a wonderful month.