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Top 10 goals in Arsenal - Chelsea history

By Graham Lister

Arsenal and Chelsea are about to lock horns for the 175th time in all competitions, and a fixture that has arguably eclipsed the north London derby in recent seasons, at least in the context of the Premier League title race, is also notorious for lengthy spells of dominance by one club over the other.

Chelsea have won each of the last five clashes against Arsenal and have lost just two of the last 18 meetings. But the Gunners were beaten only twice in the 25 matches before that. Such cycles are not unprecedented: Chelsea were unbeaten in 18 out of 20 meetings between April 1960 and April 1971, while Arsenal lost only three of 25 fixtures against the Blues from December 1919 until December 1936.

And although Arsenal have been second best for much of the Roman Abramovich era, the Gunners are comfortably ahead overall, with 69 wins to Chelsea's 55, and 50 games drawn. The two London giants have shared 472 goals between them to date - Arsenal have scored 249 of them and Chelsea 223, though the Blues have netted 13 of the last 15.

Inevitably the fixture has produced some memorable strikes over the years, and in anticipation of what promises to be another compelling contest on Monday, December 27, recalls 10 of the best...

10. Silvinho

Stamford Bridge, September 6 2000 (Chelsea 2-2 Arsenal)

Chelsea had squandered a two-goal lead to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge the previous season (see No. 1 below); but when, just before the hour, Gianfranco Zola doubled the first-half lead which Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink had given them, there seemed little danger of history repeating itself. Yet Thierry Henry pulled one back on 76 minutes, waiting for Carlo Cudicini to commit himself before beating him with a low shot just inside the far post.

And 10 minutes later, just after a Hasselbaink shot had come back off the woodwork, Franck Leboeuf 's challenge on Kanu just outside the area saw the ball roll back towards the marauding Silvinho. The Brazilian ran onto it to strike a fearsome swerving shot into the top left corner. Silvinho had replaced Nigel Winterburn (see No.5 below) at left-back, and would soon in turn be displaced by a certain Ashley Cole; but this point-saving strike helped secure his place in Arsenal folklore.

9. Didier Drogba

Millenium Stadium, February 25 2007 (Chelsea 2-1 Arsenal)

Jose Mourinho picked his strongest side for this League Cup final, while Arsene Wenger stood by the youngsters and fringe players who'd taken Arsenal exhilaratingly all the way to Cardiff. And the Gunners started with pace and verve that was rewarded when Theo Walcott scored his first goal for the club on 11 minutes. But the outstanding Didier Drogba equalised nine minutes later with a well-taken effort after being given the benefit of the doubt from a marginally offside position.

However, there was nothing debatable about Drogba's second - the match and Cup winner for the Blues. It came in the 84th minute, Arsenal losing possession in the middle, where Essien intercepted a forward pass and quickly slipped it out wide to second-half substitute Arjen Robben. The Dutch winger controlled it instantly, looked up, and sent a teasing cross into the area, where Drogba beat his marker in the air to power a header expertly and unerringly into the far corner.

8. Jose Antonio Reyes

February 15 2004
(Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea)

Newly recruited from Sevilla to aid what would prove to be Arsenal's 'Invincible' season, Jose Antonio Reyes announced his arrival on the English scene in emphatic style with two cracking goals in the space of six second-half minutes. Adrian Mutu had fired Chelsea explosively ahead shortly before the interval of this FA Cup fifth round tie, but Reyes turned the game on its head to ensure the Gunners knocked the Blues out of the competition for the fourth consecutive season.

The pick of his brace was the first, fashioned from nowhere on 55 minutes. Edu took possession on the right flank and rolled a pass inside to the young Spaniard, who was not closed down and took full advantage, striding forward to rasp an unstoppable drive into the far top corner of Cudicini's net. Reyes went on to have two shots blocked before sidefooting a subtle winner in the 61st minute. 

7. Ray Parlour

Millenium Stadium,
May 4 2002,
(Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea)

The deadlock was broken in the 2002 FA Cup final after 69 largely disappointing minutes with a stunning goal by the often unheralded Ray Parlour. Arsenal had suffered a dramatic late defeat by Liverpool in the previous year's final and, with just one more point from two remaining Premier League fixtures needed to clinch the title, were on the brink of their third Double. But in the cup final they'd been toiling to find space against Claudio Ranieri's side.

Then captain Tony Adams found Sylvain Wiltord in the centre circle, and the Frenchman freed Parlour surging forward from midfield. Parlour had options to his left created by intelligent runs by team-mates, but he jinked to the right. "Don't worry, it's only Ray Parlour," reassured Chelsea-supporting commentator Tim Lovejoy. But the 'Romford Pele' left fly, curling a superb right-footed drive into Cudicini's top corner from 25 yards.

6. Alex

Stamford Bridge, October 3 2010,
(Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal)

The recurring motif of recent Arsenal-Chelsea encounters has seen the Gunners dominating possession but lacking penetration, against the Blues' capacity for absorbing pressure then inflicting punishment with power and precision. It was no different earlier this season, Arsenal out-passing and Chelsea out-scoring their opponents.

Didier Drogba underlined his relish for playing Arsenal by scoring his 13th goal in 13 appearances against them, this one a slick piece of improvisation on 39 minutes. But even that was shaded by Chelsea's second, from a free kick awarded when Laurent Koscielny fouled Nicolas Anelka. Florent Malouda pulled away to leave a gap in the defensive wall that Alex fully exploited, but for sheer ferocity and raw power, the Brazilian's thunderous, viciously swerving strike, from a storming run-up, was nothing less than awesome.

5. Nigel Winterburn

Stamford Bridge, September 21 1997
(Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal)

Of his 12 goals in 584 appearances for Arsenal, Nigel Winterburn's winner at Stamford Bridge in Arsene Wenger's first full season as the Gunners' boss was surely the most spectacular. Wenger's team had started brightly with three wins and three draws from their first six games, but Ruud Gullit's Chelsea were a point and a place above them in third. Gus Poyet opened the scoring in the west London sunshine, before Dennis Bergkamp equalised on the stroke of half-time. The Dutchman added another just before the hour, only for Zola to level the contest a mere 60 seconds later.

It needed something special to separate the sides, and it eventually arrived with a minute remaining. Arsenal broke into Chelsea's half but, when Patrick Vieira continued a cross-field sequence of passes by feeding Winterburn on the left some 50 yards from goal, the threat to Chelsea seemed minimal. However, the left-back strode forward purposefully and, with no defender prepared to close him down, let rip with his left foot, spearing a superb shot into the top far corner beyond the startled Ed de Goey.

4. Hernan Crespo

October 18 2003,
(Arsenal 2-1 Chelsea)

The Gunners won the game, with a deflected Edu effort and a clanger by Cudicini that presented Hernry with the winner; but in between Hernan Crespo scored for Chelsea with a world class strike. The match was only in its eighth minute, and the Blues were already trailing to Edu's goal, when Claude Makelele broke up an Arsenal attack and played the ball to Geremi in the centre circle.

The Cameroonian delivered a perfectly weighted crossfield pass which Crespo anticipated astutely, cutting inside Lauren before striking a magnificent rising shot into the top far corner of Jens Lehmann's net. The result ended Chelsea's unbeaten league record and kept Arsenal top, but the Argentine's goal was the game's dazzling highlight.

3. Freddie Ljungberg

Millenium Stadium,
May 4 2002,
(Arsenal 2-0 Chelsea)

A second moment of the highest quality in the 2002 FA Cup final secured the first part of Arsenal's third Double. After Parlour's opener (see No.7 above), Freddie Ljungberg just managed to outshine it with the clinching second goal on 78 minutes. It was the Swedish midfielder's seventh goal in his last seven appearances, and epitomised his strengths of hard running with the ball at his feet - and alert opportunism.

He collected the ball well within his own half and broke forward on a wave of controlled energy, riding a couple of challenges that left John Terry floundering in his wake, then scooped a curling shot past the helpless Cudicini. In doing so he became the first player to score in successive FA Cup finals since Tottenham's Bobby Smith 40 years earlier.
2. Michael Essien

Stamford Bridge, December 10 2006,
(Chelsea 1-1 Arsenal)

Chelsea were in urgent need of points when they hosted Arsenal, Jose Mourinho's side looking to keep pace with rampant Manchester United at the top of the table. Arsenal, in their first post-Highbury campaign, were lying seventh. But it was the Gunners who made the breakthrough in the 78th minute of a pulsating affair when Aliaksandr Hleb and Mathieu Flamini exchanged passes for the Frenchman to shoot past Hilario into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

Wenger’s side looked on course for their first win against the Blues in more than two years. But with five minutes to go, Frank Lampard eluded Flamini and played the ball back into the path of the advancing Michael Essien. The powerful Ghanaian midfielder unleashed a bullet of a drive from fully 30 yards to which he imparted incredible swerve that bent it just inside the far post, giving Lehmann no chance. Essien then nearly added a winner, somehow hitting the bar from practically underneath it. But his shattering equaliser was spellbinding.

1. Kanu

Stamford Bridge, October 23 1999,
(Chelsea 2-3 Arsenal)

It was the greatest of great escapes. Arsenal had been outplayed for most the match and Chelsea deservedly led 2-0 thanks to Tore Andre Flo's looping first-half header and Dan Petrescu's headed second from a Graeme Le Saux centre a few minutes into the second half. As the Blues hadn't conceded a league goal at home since the previous spring, the Gunners looked doomed on a heavy pitch under incessant rain.

Then Kanu seized the game by the throat and, in 15 unbelievable minutes, conjured a mesmerising hat-trick capped with a goal that encapsulated persistence, technique and glorious improvisation.

At 2-2, chasing an unlikely possibility, he charged down a clearance and found Ed de Goey well out of position between the corner flag and the penalty area. With a deft feint and a skip through the puddles he deposited the Dutch keeper on his backside but, a couple of feet inside the by-line, still had Albert Ferrer, Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf lining up to thwart him. So from an impossible angle he lofted the ball above all three of them into the roof of the net to win the match.

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