By Tony Attwood
After years of an on-off transfer Patrick Vieira was sold to Juventus where he won a title, and then lost it because of match fixing, and was immediately sold again as Juventus changed from being champions to a relegated club.
Alexander Hleb was purchased from Stuttgart. Nic Bendtner and Vito Mannone also came in. Alex Song and Mart Poom came in on loan. The main transfers happened in the winter transfer window bringing in Abou Diaby, Emmanuel Adebayor and Theo Walcott.
Arsenal made a big thing of this being the last season at Highbury, with a change of colours supposedly (but not actually) matching the colours worn in 1913 and there were special themes throughout the year. How different to the move away from Plumstead in 1913.
Here are the pre-season games…
- 16 July 2005: Barnet 1 Arsenal 4 (Hleb, Henry, Bergkamp, Hoyte)
- 20 July 2005: SC Weiz 0 Arsenal 5 (Flamini, Henry, Bentley, Bergkamp)
- 24 July 2005: SC Ritzing 2 Arsenal 5 (Bergkamp, Henry, Reyes, Hlev, Larsson
- 27 July 2005: FC Utrecht 0 Arsenal 3 (Pires, Reyes, Henry)
- 29 July 2005: Ajax 0 Arsenal 1 (Lupoli)
- 31 July 2005: Porto 1 Arsenal 2 (Ljungberg 2)
On the day of the Utrecht game, and knowing what was to come with the community shield match, Peter Kenyon, the Chelsea chief exec called Arsenal FC “insecure” and said they were “hypocrites”.
He went on a what in other circumstances the papers would have called a “wild rant” (but they were already bending the knee to Chelsea, so didn’t) and said all the problems over the Ashley Cole tapping-up affair (in which Chelsea and Cole were both found guilty of breaches of the rules) were caused because Arsenal were worried about the rise of Chelsea. Wenger said he didn’t have time to answer such comments and there was a recognition that the number of tickets Chelsea had sold for the Community Shield game was small, and this may have stimulated Kenyon’s outburst.
But Wenger simply said he was more concerned about preparing his side for the forthcoming Premiership campaign than about criticism from Stamford Bridge.
But then having won the cup the previous year Arsenal played in the FA Community Shield against Chelsea – just like this season.
Arsene Wenger did not put out a full strength team – which Chelsea, with its much smaller trophy cabinet did. Gilberto Silva was omitted, but Flamini and Fàbregas played in the middle of midfield. Gilberto, van Persie and Hleb came on at half time and Bergkamp, Robert Pirès and Flamini went off.
The pre-season series thus far
- 1996: The pre-season games as Rioch was sacked and Wenger appointed.
- 1997: Norwich 2 Arsenal 6
- 1998: The Pre-season games. Back to sausages after the caviar.
- 1999: Games against Monaco and Saint-Étienne
- 2000: The big transfers but a poor pre-season
- 2001: Campbell arrives from Tottenham, and the prelims to the third double
- 2002: Gilberto’s first game in the tri-team tournament
- 2003: Pre-season warm ups. Celtic v Arsenal (revised & expanded 1/7/15)
- 2004: The Preseason in the midst of the 49