It was called “One of Arsenal’s most mature performances” producing what was said to be “one of the greatest results in their history.”
The date was 25 November 2003, the result was Inter 1 Arsenal 5 and indeed Arsenal not only qualified from the Champions League group, but won the group phase by two points. But it was tight: Arsenal ended with 10 points, Lokomotiv Mowcow with 8, Inter with 8 and Dynamo Kyiv 7 points.
The match is well remembered for its score, but it should also be noted that Arsenal were lacking several players for the game. Players now regarded as “make-weight” like Cygan were there, and played a central part in the game. But we had Thierry Henry who at this time was in his pomp.
For the journalists with Arsenal having lost the opening group game 0-3 to Inter at home a collapse was expected. But Thierry was not doing with that. He scored the first and laid on the second, before running, on 85 minutes, from the halfway line to beat Javier Zanetti twice on the way to getting his third.
Henry assisted as he set up Edu before Robert Pires and Jérémie Aliadière (on as a sub) really made Inter, the holders, wonder what was hitting them.
Inter did in fact draw level after the first Arsenal goal through Christian Vieri – and they must have thought at that moment that they could come good given that the centre of the Arsenal defence was being organised by … Pascal Cygan, and in goal we had the oft criticised Jen Lehmann. But both played superbly, as of course did Sol Campbell – all the more necessary given that we did not have Vieira playing.
Arsenal: Lehmann, Cole, Campbell, Toure, Cygan, Ljungberg, Parlour, Edu, Pires, Kanu (Silva 73), Henry (Aliadiere 89).
Subs not used: Stack, Keown, Clichy, Papadopulos, Hoyte
Here are the anniversaries
25 November 1893: Woolwich Arsenal’s record crowd to date – 20,000 – turned up for the FA Cup tie against local rivals Millwall Athletic. See also this review of crowds that season. Arsenal 3 Millwall Athletic 2.
25 November 1911: The impact of cost cutting on Arsenal was revealed in full by the result Blackburn 4 Arsenal 0. And it was to get worse because exactly one month on from this game Tottenham beat Arsenal 5-0.
25 November 1916: How little the public in some quarters cared about wartime football was shown with a crowd of just 1500 for Fulham 2 Arsenal 0. Arsenal could still get 8000 for a game, but that enthusiasm was clearly not shared everywhere.
25 November 1922: Last game for Arthur Hutchins – a 2-3 home defeat to Sunderland. He moved on to Charlton of Division 3 South on a free transfer in July 1923, having played 108 games in total and scoring one goal. He stayed with Charlton for three seasons and then retired for football, but we have no details of his later life.
25 November 1930: Cecil Paine, a pathologist at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary, cured an eye infection in a patient using penicillin. It was the first time it had ever been done.
25 November 1951: Willie Young born. He started out with Aberdeen, before going to Tottenham. From there he moved on to Arsenal. His first game for Arsenal was on 5 March 1977
25 November 1972: Derby 5 Arsenal 0. Arsenal had lost by the same score to Stoke City in the previous Double winning season, and did it again in 1973/4 losing 0-5 to Sheffield Utd.
25 November 1978: Coventry 1 Arsenal 1. 26,786 in the crowd. Coventry were described in the Sunday Times living “as dangerously as a chain smoking petrol pump attendant.” (Remember them?) Arsenal were 5th, nine points behind the leaders with one game in hand – and the club was coping without Macdonald.
25 November 1980: Arsenal 0 Celtic 0, Sammy Nelson’s testimonial, Raphael Meade and Chris Whyte made their debuts.
25 November 1984: An injury to Pat Jennings heralded a decline in Arsenal’s fortune after a table topping start. It turned out to be Jennings last game as Arsenal lost 2-1 to Sheffield Wednesday.
25 November 1994: Paul Merson admitted to multiple addictions. Arsenal continued to pay him although he left football to address his issues not returning until 1 February 1995. His honesty and bravery in facing the media earned him significant acclaim but he lost a lot of this goodwill following his later vitriolic TV attacks on Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
25 November 1998: 73,707 attend the home defeat 0-1 to Lens at Wembley
25 November 1999: Arsenal 3 Nantes 0 in the Uefa Cup, en route to the final. Overmars, Winterburn and Bergkamp scored – the return match ended 3-3 with Overmars once again scoring in Europe.
25 November 2001: Arsenal 3 Man U 1. League match 13 of the third Double season. The game is best remembered for the errors by Man U goalkeeper Barthez. Ljungberg equalised an early Man U strike and Henry tormented Barthez with two in the last ten minutes of the match.
25 November 2003: Internazionale 1 Arsenal 5 in the Champions League. Henry (2) Ljungberg, Edu, Pires each scored in one of the most memorable of Arsenal nights in Europe.
25 November 2008: Arsenal beat Dinamo Kiev to secure passage to the knock out stages of the Champions League.
25 November 2009: Death of Mike Tiddy. In later life after Arsenal he worked with his local football clubs in Cornwall, was a Methodist lay preacher, and also was also very active on his local council.
25 November 2010: Aaron Ramsey was sent on loan to Nottingham Forest for his recovery after his horrific injury. The deal lasted until 3 January 2011.