By Tony Attwood
The 2004/5 Champions League group stage campaign was one of the strangest Arsenal have played in. The game on 24 November 2004 was, as noted above, the fourth draw – but more than that, it was the four draw Arsenal had in a row in the group.
Now one might expect that Arsenal would thus be struggling to qualify as a result – but far from it, Arsenal won the group – not least aided by the fact that having drawn four games they won the other two.
The series went like this
14 September 2004: Arsenal 1 PSV Eindhoven 0 (Arsenal benefiting from an own goal)
29 September 2004: Rosenborg 1 Arsenal 1 (Ljungberg)
20 October 2004: Panathinaikos 2 Arsenal 2 (Ljunberg, Henry)
2 November 2004: Arsenal 1 Panathinaikos 1 (Henry – plus an own goal from Cygan)
24 November 2004: PSV Eindhoven 1 Arsenal 1 (Henry)
7 December 2004: Arsenal 5 (Reyes, Henry, Fabregas, Pires, Van Persie) Rosenburg 0.
One other little point of interest is that the final game had the highest attendance of all the matches Arsenal played in the group – 35,421.
As a result of these games the table was
In the round of 16 Arsenal played Bayern Munich. We lost 3-1 away (Toure scoring) and won 1-0 at Highbury (Henry). Again the crowds were interesting – only 36891 saw the first match in the Olympic Stadium.
So, a knock out in the first knock out round – but an undefeated run in the group section. One of Arsenal’s more curious rounds of European football.