1997/8 – part 2 of Mr Wenger’s second season

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History of Arsenal with a new series on the Rioch year, and onto the Wenger years.

Making the Arsenal – the book of Arsenal death and rebirth

By Tony Attwood

If we look at the Premiership appearance figures for this season we see the heart of the new team that Mr Wenger had put together.  Here’s a list of the leading appearances at the time…

  • Winterburn 36 – 1 goal
  • Parlour 34 – 5 goals
  • Vieira 33 – 2 goals
  • Petit 32 – 2 goals
  • Overmars 32 – -12 goals
  • Seaman 31
  • Platt 31 – 3 goals
  • Bergkamp 28 – 16 goals
  • Dixon 28
  • Anelka 26 – 6 goals
  • Adams 26 – 3 goals
  • Ian Wright 24 – 10 goals
  • Grimandi 22 – 1 goal
  • Keown 18
  • Hughes 17 – 2 goals
  • Wreh 16 – 3 goals
  • Boa Morte 15

You might particularly notice the arrival of young Nic Anelka, and the fact he was scoring goals as he went along.  We could already also see that the young man had a few personality problems, which didn’t bode well for the future, but for £250,000 he looked a hell of a good buy.  We just didn’t know just how good a buy (in terms of profit) he was going to be.

A similar team was used through the FA Cup run – although we did have the interesting event of Chris Wreh playing in both the final and semi-final, with the former event being at the expense of Ian Wright.

Between January and May Manninger got a run in goal but missed out on the cup semi and final matches, and on the last game of the season.

In the League Cup there were one or two experiments with players such as Mendex, Marshall, Vernazza, Hughes, Wreh and Boa Morte getting games early on but by the time we were playing in the semi finals against Chelsea the regular squad was back.

So the Wenger revolution was complete, and our record over the last few years was remarkable…

Season Manager League FA Cup League Cup
1994/5 Graham 12th 3rd round 4th round
1995/6 Rioch 5th 3rd round Semi-final
1996/7 Wenger 3rd 4th round 4th round
1997/8 Wenger 1st Won Semi-final

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