So… it all comes down to this, yes we’d rather it be a title challenge but Arsenal’s top-four fate rides solely on Sunday’s game against Everton, and Liverpool’s encounter with Middlesbrough. Looking back though, luckily this isn’t the most decisive Arsenal vs Everton end of season fixture. If you rewind about 19 years, before the Wenger Out protests, before the move to The Emirates, even before Thierry Henry was the name on our lips, on the 3rd of May 1998 Arsenal secured their’s, and Arsene Wenger’s first Barclays Premier League title against the Toffees at Highbury in a 4-0 win.
With Manchester United having an 11 point lead at one point it would’ve been almost impossible to see Arsenal come back to win the title but here’s the team that did just that against Everton that afternoon:
Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn; Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Overmars; Anelka, Wreh (top scorer that year Dennis Bergkamp being left out due to a hamstring injury)
It didn’t take long for the party to get started either with the Gunners taking the lead with just 6 minutes played. After Ray Parlour was fouled on the right wing, an in-swinging cross from Emmanuel Petit which, at first, seemed to go in off of Arsenal captain Tony Adams, was actually headed into the Everton net by now-West Ham-manager Slaven Bilic.
Shortly after, the lead could’ve been doubled by Parlour but, the Everton keeper managed to turn the ball wide. The chance came after Christopher Wreh knocked down a long, diagonal ball from Nigel Winterburn, into the Romford Pele’s path but his header just wasn’t good enough.
The lead definitely was doubled a tad later though, as Marc Overmars scored one of the most Marc Overmars goals you’d ever see. Latching onto a loose ball near the half way line the Dutchman drove down the pitch unchallenged before letting off a shot which squeezed past Myhre who got a hand to it.
But, it wasn’t all good news. As Overmars celebrated, soon-to-be World Cup winner Petit was forced off following a challenge in the build-up to the goal, being replaced by David Platt. Like the man he replaced, Platt also impressed with his passing, as in the second half he found a young Nicolas Anelka on the edge of the box but his shot was directed over the bar.
Just before the hour mark, it was another piece of individual brilliance from Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman which ended the title discussions. Like his first goal, Overmars received the ball near the halfway line before streaking past the Everton defenders into the box, cutting his shot back across Myhre in the Everton goal and making it 3-0, scoring his 15th goal of that season. It was time for a Highbury party.
And of course, if you’re having a party, one man that should be there without fail is Ian Wright. The Arsenal legend came on for Anelka after missing out on 3 months of action, the smile on his face as he came on accompanied by the roar of the crowd would’ve told you alone just how much that would’ve meant to everyone there.
Arsenal’s two substitutes almost combined instantly as a raking ball by Platt, who was still deep inside his own half, was inches away from meeting Wright who had run beyond his marker but Myhre was able to clear the ball.
In that same passage of play, it was time for one of the most iconic Highbury goals to be scored. The ball had made its way back into the Arsenal half at the feet of now assistant manager Steve Bould, who saw a sprinting Tony Adams make his way towards the Everton goal. A lofted through ball from Bould found Adams, who timed his run just right, chested the ball down and blasted it into the back of the net with his favoured left foot… Cue THAT arms-aloft celebration which confirmed the 4th goal of the match and that the title was now Arsenal’s to lift for the first time in the Premier League era, the first trophy of that year’s league and cup double was secured and lifted that afternoon.