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