Who did Petr Čech share the Golden Glove with? Who played when we knocked our Real Madrid? Be careful in your assumptions.



He screams out, so loud that Mike Dean comes to his house, sees him in an Arsenal shirt and give him a red card for a violent conduct.

by Josif

Some football clubs have a history book thicker and bigger than others. Some of those books are full of colourful pictures that, when put all together, make the big picture.

Imagine a rather young Arsenal supporter who was born in, say, 2005. He was born after The Invincibles and it is safe thing to say that, unless he is some sort of a genius like Mozart, he has been watching Arsenal only after the move from Highbury to Emirates.

Now, imagine him living a life of a supporter burdened with (justified or, more often, unjustified) cliches Arsenal supporters have been bombed with since our last league title. In order to avoid the grey shades of Present, he decides to make a trip to Past by reading The History Book of Arsenal. He has been told many times that Arsenal had been so much better during Highbury-era, that we haven’t been good in big games since Vieira and Henry had gone etc.

Our little Arsenal supporter opens the book to go through some glorious moments from Highbury and finds a picture with a bold-written title:


“0:3?! At home?! To Inter that hadn’t won Serie A for years?! This had to be the worst Arsenal team in Wenger’s era!” he might have thought. “Who played this game? Maybe those crappy defenders Eboue, Senderos and Cygan I’ve heard about?”

And then, he gets shocked furthermore to see that happened during The Invincibles Season with all our best players on the pitch – Jens Lehmann with a performance that makes David Ospina’s against Olympiacos a solid one, Sol Campbell who couldn’t deal with Obafemi Martins (who would be a part of an ugly picture seven-and-half years later), Patrick Vieira aka The Beast in the middle of the pitch and both Thierry and Dennis leading our attack.

He gets a bit shocked that our best team ever didn’t have the most successful of European campaigns. He wants to go further back and sees a page with statistics at which he notices a headline :

ARSENAL EUROPEAN RECORD: 12 games played, five victories, one draw, six defeats.

“Below 50 percent of victories in Europe? What a shitty team that had to be!”

Then he sees the title of the chapter:


But…but…that team won the double!? How…?  He is very confused and going through pictures of 2001-02 doesn’t help him. He did know that Arsenal had won the league at Old Trafford but can’t believe when he sees our team-sheet from the game.  “Where are Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry?! How could we possibly win such a huge game without those three players?

It’s becoming a rather frustrating for the young Arsenal supporter. He’s becoming a bit suspicious about things he has read or been told over the years. He wants to see when those jokers Emmanuel Eboue and Phillippe Senderos played for Arsenal and turns page by page to find some of their appearances. He finds them. He screams out, so loud that Mike Dean comes to his house, sees him in an Arsenal shirt and give him a red card for a violent conduct.

The reason why our young supporter screamed is a page with these headlines:



The youngster reads our team-sheet

REAL MADRID?! The team wint Zidane, Ronaldo and Raul!  Eboue and Senderos kept them at bay?  Campbell and Cole didn’t play!  Flamini at left back.

Of course, our young Gooner stops with random reading and decides to forget everything he has been told in the last ten years. He did it just before he was about to realize a few interesting things about Arsenal in Wenger-era:

1.Since our last title we have had quite a few captains: Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.

Both the most successful one in terms of final league points and the least successful one were born on the same day – 17th August 1977. The most successful one is, of course, William Gallas and the least successful one is Thierry Henry under whose captaincy Arsenal have collected the fewest points in Wenger-era (67 – 2005-06).

2.Much-praised Jürgen Klopp has an excellent record against Jose Mourinho (W3D1L1) and Manuel Pellegrini (W3D2), he is level with Louis Van Gaal (W2L2) and he still trails Arsene Wenger (W2D1L3).

3.The last time Petr Čech has won The Golden Glove, he had to share it with…Wojciech Not-Good-Enough Szczesny of Arsenal Can’t Defend in 2013-14.

Etc, etc.

So, what is the point of all this?

The Book never stops writing itself. It may sound cliched but indeed, each day is a separate page that makes sense come May or, in some cases, years after. Therefore, don’t skip pages as you might spoil everything to yourself.

From the anniversary files (full list of today’s anniversaries on the home page)

  • 16 January 1892: George Davie’s first FA Cup match for Arsenal (Small Heath 1 Arsenal 5).  He subsequently took Arsenal to court and won, and in so doing changed the way transfers worked for the next sixty years, instituting the notorious retain and transfer system which was eventually overturned by George Eastham.
  • 16 January 1907:  Arsenal 3 Grimsby Town 0  (FA Cup 1st round replay).  Arsenal continued to the semi-final for the second successive year.  Over 119,000 people came to the six cup games Arsenal played, helping the finances enormously.

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8 Replies to “Who did Petr Čech share the Golden Glove with? Who played when we knocked our Real Madrid? Be careful in your assumptions.”

  1. Excellent piece – thank you Josif.
    I hope that it can change some people’s perspectives somewhat.

  2. Hmmmm…great read.

    Wonder how loud our young lad will scream on seeing Milan 0 2 Arsenal…with world class performances of two teenagers – Fabregas and Walcott.

    Still a mystery how the Invincible team lost to average Chelsea at Highbury in the UCL while the team without the spine went ahead to play in the final two years later.

  3. And were you aware who Chelsea’s coach was by that time? Of course the current coach of Leicester City FC, Claudio Ranieri. He took them to 2nd on the table top in the year of the invincible, he later departed to Italy after a lucrative offer to coach in the cocaine island. After his departure, Jose Mourinho came in, meeting a readymade team that consisted of a young John Terry, Frank Lampard,Makalele, Marseille Desaily, Celestine Babayaro etc. Mourinho took these same boys and won the premiership in 2004/05 season. Wow!!! Exclaimed everyone, the very first year of his appointment, as you know he love free gifts, and always love to save face a lot. No one knew his history that he couldn’t and will never be a developmental coach who nurtures younger talents till maturity.

    Then the shift became, Le Prof. Wenger has to devalue his assets in order to pay for the newly acquired Emirates stadium. He sold 90% of his Invincible squad members, by promoting his youth academy players for sustenance,between 2005-2008. Players the likes of Emmanuel. Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Alex Song, Abou Diaby, Robin Vanpersie, while adding a couple of France based players like Emmanuel. adebayor, Alex Song, Sami Nasri, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clitchy and fewer like Rosicky from Dortmund, Alexander Hleb, Sam Alladier, Edu, Nicolas Bendtner etc. They were not the world class players that we were having at that time, but were later passed by , with the emergence of more youth players. Not forgetting that we had Matthew Flamini, Kolo Toure.

    This incident gave Alex Ferguson a notable rise in his career because he doesn’t have to sell any player at that time, he kept Scholes, Giggs, Van dar ser, Van Nistel Roy, etc Imagine, only Mourinho and Man City was active in the rivalry market for 10years.
    And now we all can see clearly, Just 2 world class players in 2years we are back in contention. 2 FA trophies in successions, top of the EPL. Now where is the world class and rich club Man city, Aguero, David Silva, Jesus Navas,Yaya Toure has gone on a tour,even De Broyne turns brown and red sometimes in the heat of the game, Sterling. Now we are confident world beaters because our youth products have come of age. Tomorrow will see a different approach against stoke city, they will get smoked on their own soil.

    Till then Fellas.

  4. Very nice , Josif . I’m sure if that said kid were to go back in time to before the Wenger era , he’d find even more fine eye opening shit !

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