Arsenal 1-2 Leeds
21 August 2001
This was our first home game of the season and the second game of the 3rd Double Season.
In the first game on 18 August 2001, we’d beaten Middlesbrough away 0-4 but this brough us down to earth.
Leeds were managed by David O’Leary and he was keen to prove his metal as a manager and show Leeds could challenge. They played defensive, they played like Leeds. Lee Bowyer and Danny Mills were sent off.
But it all started well as Wiltord almost scored in the first minute. Then the tackles came flying in. Eirik Bakke, Olivier Dacourt, Bowyer and Mills were all booked early on for evil challenges which would have had rugby league commentators talking about it being a “man’s game”.
Sadly for Arsenal and sadly for football, Leeds prospered after 28 minutes. The got a free kick for no good reason on the edge of the area after Mills tripped himself up. Seaman started to sort out the wall but Harte shot and scored. Still, we can’t complain too much – Henry used the tactic later – against the Villa I seem to remember.
Minutes later Wiltord headed in from Cole’s cross and it was 1-1. But it wasn’t enough – Leeds came back, the tackles came back, and on 52 minutes Leeds scored again via Viduka.
Arsene Wenger brought on Dennis Bergkamp and he nearly equalised, as did van Bronckhorst, but it wasn’t to be. Two games: one away win, one home defeat.
In the next eight games we won four and drew four, and in fact it wasn’t until 2002 that we really got ourselves together. But for now it wasn’t looking so certain.
Lauren Campbell Adams Cole
Ljungbert Vieira Parlour Pires