20 November 1999: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 5-1. Overmars got three and Berkgamp two, to make it four wins and a draw in the last five. But the season had not gone as smoothly as everyone might have wished.
In 1998, playing in Arsene Wenger’s second season, Arsenal had won the league and cup double, with Dennis Bergkamp for the one and only time being Arsenal’s top scorer. Arsenal also started the next season by winning the Charity Shield against Manchester United who had come second in the league.
But in 1998/9 Arsenal had slipped to second themselves just one point and one goal behind Manchester United who won the double. Now it was Arsenal’s turn to be the “guests” in the Charity Shield, and we won it again. This time the top scorer for the season was Nic Anelka with 19 league goals.
But now In 1999/2000 it looked by November as if the duopoly of Man U and Arsenal was going to be broken as Arsenal went into their match on 20 November down in fourth place behind Manchester United, Leeds and Sunderland. Although it may seem strange now there was mumbling in the crowd about all the foreigners Wenger was bringing in, and suggesting that an English manager would understand the nature of the game better and be more able to challenge Man U! Just 18 months after the second double for the club, there was mumbling!!!
There was particular concern about a certain T. Henry who was constantly being picked but in the early part of the season not doing his job as centre forward – not least because he seemed to want to spend more time out on the wing than in his rightful position.
However as noted above on 20 November 1999: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 5-1. Overmars got three and Berkgamp two, to make it four wins and a draw in the last five.
In the next match, (a league cup game) Thierry Henry did score for Arsenal – and it was a match which started a more positive run with Arsenal getting just two defeats in the next 13 games in all competitions.
Things however turned gloomy in March with the revenge of Middlesbrough who beat Arsenal 2-1 in the northeast.
That left Arsenal in fifth and the feelings of gloom continued – fifth was where Arsenal had been under Rioch and it felt to some as if no progress had been made at all.
However for the next 14 games of the season Arsenal were undefeated, and ended the league once again in second place although this time 18 points behind Man U. Arsenal also made it to a final – the Uefa Cup Final, but lost that on penalties.
It was thus a disappointing season in terms of trophies, although there was still hope for the future, not least because Thierry Henry ended the season as top scorer for Arsenal with 26 goals.
And here is one little point that is generally ignored. In his one season with Juventus Henry scored three goals, after getting one at the start of the season with Monaco.
In his four complete seasons with Monaco he got a total of 28 goals out of 105 games. In his first season for Arsenal he got 26 goals, out of 31 games despite that long barren spell at the start.
Just goes to show.