Arsenal’s Top Seasons 1997-98 – Our 10th Best

This was Arsenal’s 100th season in competitive football and also Arsene Wenger’s first full season as our manager. In the transfer window, Arsenal purchased several players, including midfielders Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit and goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

Below are the comparisons of the 1997-98 season results for both Arsenal and Manchester United. The first ten games of the season saw Arsenal win 6 and draw 4 while Man U won 6 drew 3 and lost 1 leaving them a point behind Arsenal. Arsenal had victories over London rivals West Ham and Chelsea and drew with Tottenham.

Man U were a dominant team in the next ten games winning 8 drawing 1 and losing 1 while Arsenal only managed 3 wins 3 draws and suffered 4 losses – this left Arsenal trailing Man U by 12 points. After our away loss to Derby we were 4 points behind Man U and our next game was at home to them; a second successive defeat would have made it difficult for Arsenal to catch Manchester U, but not impossible. Striker Nicolas Anelka, standing in for Bergkamp, scored his first goal for Arsenal and Vieira added a second, leaving goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel rattled. Teddy Sheringham scored twice for Manchester United to level the score but midfielder David Platt headed into the far corner with seven minutes left of the match to score the winner for Arsenal.

Before our next game with Man U several of our games had to be rescheduled due to FA Cup replays. This meant that when we met United at Old Trafford in March, Arsenal still had 11 games left to play while United only had 8 games left.  After numerous attempts to break the deadlock in the match, Arsenal finally managed to score with 15 minutes left; Marc Overmars latched onto an Anelka header coming from a long ball and used his agility to flick it beyond goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to give Arsenal the all important lead and win. This victory left us 6 points behind United with 10 games left to play (3 games in hand).

Arsenal then went on to win the next 8 games which completed an unbeaten run of 18 games. The unbeaten run culminated with a 4-0 victory over Everton at Highbury which clinched the title with 2 games to spare.

Arsenal’s season ended in double glory when we beat Newcastle 2-0 in the FA Cup Final to claim the second League and FA Cup double in our glorious history.  (The Port Vale tie was decided 4-3 on penalties, as was the West Ham 6th Round replay)

In recognition of the team’s achievement, Arsene Wenger was awarded the Carling Manager of the Year award and striker Dennis Bergkamp was given the accolade of PFA Players’ Player of the Year by his fellow peers and FWA Footballer of the Year by football writers.

Written by GunnerN5



42 Responses to Arsenal’s Top Seasons 1997-98 – Our 10th Best

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.

    Definitely one of my favourite seasons ever.

    Really interesting to see how the season progressed game by game.
    In a way, coming fairly late from behind is the best way to win things.
    Like in a horse race when there’s a really late run from the nag you have a few quid on.

    Anyone wanna see some Bergkamp?

  2. VP of Oz says:

    So tonight I find out that my mate is now –
    Arsenal Women confirm Joseph Montemurro as new head coach.
    The Australian coach joins the Gunners from Melbourne City FC, who he led to an unbeaten championship winning both 2015-16 and 16-17 seasons.

    I cant believe it and am very pleased for him. He is a great coach.

  3. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Chas, I just watched the video you posted this morning I could almost smell the onions in the shots from Gillespie Road. It was great to get the street views that I remember so well, makes me yearn for home.

    Leave a Reply

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Perfect additions to the post Chas, cheers.

    The Bergkamp compilation at 9:30am is mesmerizing – what a player!!

  5. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff GN5.

    I would have to say that this is my favourite Arsenal season.The 3-2 and Platty’s header were so exciting.

    TA’s volley vs Everton is in my Top 3 fave goals. Plus, life at home was for once settled!

    It was a brilliant year which culminated in a hot summer’s morning outside Islington Town Hall singing with gusto

  6. GunnerN5 says:

    Nice to hear Raddy. It has special meaning as it was one of the last games I was able to watch with my Dad, he couldn’t stop talking about Platt’s header – brilliant. Overmars goal at Old Trafford and TA’s goal against Everton – all wonderful memories.

  7. fatgingergooner says:

    An amazing season. I remember watching the Arsenal v United game where Overmars scored at a friends house. He was a Liverpool supporter so was almost as happy as me that we beat them!

    Between games 23-36 we conceded 2 League goals. Wow!

  8. LB says:

    “Tottenham beat Borussia Dortmund to win group”

    Jeez, how crap must Dortmund have become now days.

    Still, it gives me the perfect opener this Friday when I see my spud mates.

    Bit of a mixed bag this week, chaps?

    Well, you can’t go full on with: You’ll always be………………

    Can you?

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    LB. Why not? You know it makes sense.

    Having problems with WordPress – losing comments and forcing me to log in each time 😦

  10. Eddie says:

    a spud told me yesterday ‘We have an amazing team, an amazing manager, amazing results and still we cannot beat fecking Arsenal’. That made me smila 🙂

  11. Big Raddy says:

    My Spud nephew told me that it was by far the best result of our year – I told him he was wrong, we beat Swansea 🙂

  12. Big Raddy says:

    My Spude nephew told me that it was the best result of our year. I told him he was wrong, we beat Swansea 😀

  13. chas says:

    Someone on Twitter was told by a spud that we were so happy because it was our Cup Final, forgetting that we actually won a Cup Final 6 months ago.

    I think they’ve forgotten what constitutes a Cup Final as their last was February 2008 in the Mickey Mouse.

  14. RC78 says:

    I would have ranked that season much higher in our history than 10th but other than that, excellent post.

    On another note:
    – I am still not convinced of Xhaka-Ramsey in the middle of the park;
    – I am not sure of Monreal as a LCB either;
    – I am happy to see Bellerin back to a decent level;
    – I am hoping to see Ozil and Sanchez at the same level of commitment at every game;
    – I think Lacazette is doing fine but he needs to work more still for the team;
    – I want Koli to be more decisive when going forward
    – Cech is having a good season so far
    – I remain convinced that our best line-up is a 4-3-2-1

  15. RC78 says:

    Ozil is being targeted by:
    – Barcelona
    – Real Madrid
    – Juventus
    – Bayern Munich
    – Man Utd

    for a winter swoop at 20 Mln EUR

    BUT most likely outcome is for him to sign another contract with us

  16. RC78 says:

    Can Mustafi finally keep the same level that he had vs Tottenham? HIs problem is consitency.

  17. RC78 says:

    Check this out:
    – Real Madrid to move for Sanchez to replace Bale who would be on his way to…Man Utd;
    – That would make Martial or Mata available.

    – Arsenal have eyed Draxler and Goretzka as Ozil replacement BUT;
    -> PSG will not allow Draxler to leave in the winter so that means that AW will gun for Goretzka who is keen to go;
    -> Ozil wants to stay at Arsenal too…

  18. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. Thanks GN5 for another great post. Quick question GN5, are you actually doing this in order of best seasons, i.e there are 9 seasons that are better than this one? If so I think there must be a parallel Arsenal universe GN5 where there are other seasons that most don’t know about 🙂

    I have to say that 11th and 10th on your list are 2 of my absolute favourites and will probably be higher placed to me than some of the next 9 that I await with intrigue and anticipation. 88-89 and 97-98 stand out for me due to the sheer drama and that both were, in many respects, pulled out the bag against the odds.

    To get that 2-0 at Anfield in the final game for our first title in 18 years was special. To come from so far behind Utd in AW’s first full season was also special with a moment that created a statue, and a double to boost.

    It is probably a very subjective thing though and I tend to go with how they made me feel deep down. Those 2 seasons even eclipse, for me, 1 other season that I know will come very high, likely at number 1. I accept this will probably be a controversial opinion.

    Anyway thanks again GN5 and keep up the good work. I always read GN5, even when I don’t have time to comment. To be fair I don’t think my comments are that well received anyway so I do refrain more these days, but heyho.

  19. chas says:

    RC78 and GoonerB
    The seasons are ranked in points won percentage in the League.

    78 points in this season is not a particularly high total to win the league. (same as Man City last season who came third, 15 points behind the leaders)

    That’s why 1988/9 was only 11th because we only achieved 76 points.

    Perhaps we could include the win percentage spreadsheet at the top of the post for each season, but only up to the one being documented.
    i.e. for this one we could have had the points won percentage for 13th down to 10th.

  20. RC78 says:

    Lucas from PSG is available this winter – he is a right winger but can also play as second striker. Similar to Walcott with maybe more tricks in his back, he struggles with consistency. Great work rate though. 30 Mln tops

  21. GoonerB says:

    RC, I rarely catch you when you comment but I do hope Ozil signs a new contract with us otherwise I would look for a deal with another overseas club in January.

    I agree with you about the Xhaka / Ramsey partnership. I think LB also has mentioned a few times being uncertain about this.

    I like Monreal in that position as I think he reads and controls the game very well. Whenever he is on the ball in that position and under pressure he is usually very calm and chooses the right option. More often than not we successfully work the ball out from defence when it is initiated by him on that side of defence, and he rarely gives away possession cheaply in the danger area.

    This as an Arsenal fan, is a god send because I have spent too many times hiding behind a pillow with elevated blood pressure as we gift the opposition chances where we shouldn’t. We do need something added to our defence imminently, looking at the combined factors of ages, injury frequency, and future longevity of Per, Nacho and Kos, coupled with the seeming lack of readiness of Holding and Chambers.

    I have disagreed for a long while with your assertion that we would be better in a back 4 again. My reasons are simple in that we were awfully ill disciplined and tactically naive with a back 4 for a long while, often looking like a 2-1-1-5-1 when the opposition was counter-attacking us. The back 3 gave us that extra body that made all the difference and minimised our need to be more tactically disciplined and drilled.

    To be fair the back 4 may still be the best option but there needs to be more discipline and understanding with it and I just don’t think Wenger covers this ( an example of a not well received comment 🙂 ). The back 3 allows him to be more gung-ho with his FB’s orWB’s but the back 4 doesn’t so I feel it is off the agenda under Arsene.

    With a different manager it may be different. I noted with interest how Guardiola lined up against us to good effect with a 4-1-4-1 system. With players like Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Iwobi and some of the other youngsters it could suit us to have 4 playing behind 1. We would need a proper powerful athlete though to hold down that 1 position in front of the back 4 which we don’t have at present. We couldn’t do it with Xhaka.

  22. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Chas, I thought I had something wrong there with the countdown.

    RC, Maureen will not sell to us. We will end up chasing a lost cause going for Utd players and he will likely take delight in stringing us along long enough so that we run out of time with any alternative. The only way we get a Utd player is if we have something to swap that they want. straight cash deal? forget it.

  23. RC78 says:

    GB – thanks for your reply and I suppose we are saying the same:

    – Our DM position is still exposing us;
    – Our DM-CM combination is not ideal

    but we differ on how to solve it (I think back 4 would do the trick and you think back 3 is the solution for now)

    I think AW should try Monreal as a DM in a 4-3-2-1 set-up because he recovers a lot of balls and he is calm when the ball is at his feet. He can really be our Kante although not as athletic. Imagine:

    Bellerin, Must or BFG, Kos, Koli – Xhaka, Monreal, Wilshere (or Ramsey) – Ramsey (or Ozil), Sanchez – Lacazette

    This team would have guile, grit and edge and creativity

  24. Zee says:

    Loved it, GN5 — The Post and the Season, Both!! 😀

    Howd’y All — I actually got in the way of a stray ticket for the NLD — and bliss ensued — the fans were ecstatic and when I told them GB would likely analyse the tactical set up …… they did not appear too bothered!

    Don’t remember too much about the journey back. 😀

  25. GoonerB says:

    Morning Zee, glad to see you are still about, in a fashion 🙂

    I don’t bother too much on tactical analysis anymore Zee. Its fine when RC is about.

    RC. I agree with much of what you say. Monreal could be a short term option at CDM. I have often wondered about Chambers as well. If we lost Sanchez in Jan but retained Ozil I would plump for Goretzka as the Sanchez replacement. If we could effectively switch formation to 4 behind the striker, Ozil and him would make a formidable unit as the 2 central players of the 4 IMO.

  26. GoonerB says:

    Off for a while. Catch comments later

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi GB, personally I have no issue with your comments, they are some of the most well thought out comments on the blog.

    There are 13 seasons in the series so it’s pretty obvious that they are our Championship winning seasons. My problem was in determining how to decide the best to worst sequence – so my committee (Chas & GN5) decided that win % would take away any bias, so I added the note below at the top of the 13th season.

    Frankly my personal favourite never made it to # 1.

    (As a preface to this post I want to make it clear that I have created a list of all of our Division 1 and PL games and sorted them first by league position and then by the points won %. Therefore this series may exclude trophy winning seasons where we did not finish high enough in the League).

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Here are the winning % for the 10th to 13th seasons.

    13th – 1937 – 1938 – 61.90%
    12th – 1952 – 1953 – 64.29%
    11th – 1988 – 1989 – 66.67%
    10th – 1997 – 1998 – 68.42%

  29. chas says:

    An Adelaide Catholic school had to cover up this statue of a saint handing some bread to a young boy.
    No idea why. 🙂

  30. GoonerB says:

    Good work GN5. All very much appreciated.

    Political correctness gone mad Chas 🙂 I blame Arthur Scargill and Neil Kinnock.

  31. David Stewart says:

    Pleased he wasn’t handing him a sausage – it could be misconstrued.

  32. Eddie says:

    I’ve just read the post, very good indeed, thanks GN5. Strange how little I remember of that season, other than winning and more importantly beating ManU, good old days.

  33. LB says:

    “I think AW should try Monreal as a DM”

    Wooo, this had not crossed my mind.

    Very clever.

  34. chas says:

    Panorama cat

  35. chas says:

  36. LB says:

    Ooh, that gave me goose bumps.

    Hashtag “Still Buzzin”

  37. Eddie says:

    ManU are the new Spurs, bottlers 🙂

    matchday dudes, wakey-wakey

  38. Eddie says:

    time to move on LB, that goal is now a history

  39. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Game day. To be honest I am a bit underwhelmed after the excitement of the weekend.

  40. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  41. football game makes mens mind freshes

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