Arsenal’s 125th anniversary match
Written By: Robert Halter
Arsenal’s 125th anniversary match took place on 10th December 2011 with the visit of Everton to the Emirates stadium, as the Gunners unveiled three legends cast in bronze statues to illustrate the late former manager Herbet Chapman, previous club captain Tony Adams and all time record goal scorer Thierry Henry at an official ceremony the night before. The Royal Artillery band and orchestra with the King’s Horse Royal Artillery conducted the pre match ceremony. To honour the occasion, both teams were greeted by a guard of honour on entering the pitch, which consisted of key Arsenal figures from the past, home supporters and junior gunners. As a symbol to the founding fathers purchasing a football, referee Howard Webb flipped a six pence to decide kick off, with Mikel Arteta facing his former Toffees for the first time since leaving to join Arsenal. A nasty collision between Johan Djourou and Louis Saha left both players requiring treatment on nine minutes. On the quarter hour mark, Arteta spread the ball through to Theo Walcott but he decided to pass sideways despite being in target range and Gervinho was unable to apply the finishing touch, as the ball ran away from goal. In the twenty ninth minute, Alex Song found Aaron Ramsey unmarked, who on the turn put the ball narrowly over but the best chance fell to Gervinho a minute later, who was one and one with Howard but fired his shot directly into the Everton keeper’s body. Nine minutes from half time, Robin Van Persie supplied the ball to Walcott but a desperate clearance from John Heitinga, cleared away the danger. An acrobatic save by Howard kept out Walcott’s fiercely struck shot after he put the ball through Leighton Baines legs on fifty seven minutes. The Toffees threatened in the sixty sixth minute, when Seamus Coleman pushed the ball out to Phil Neville but his snap shot from outside the box went over the crossbar. But the crowning moment was produced by Van Persie when Song’s long ball in was met on the volley by Arsenal’s prolific number ten as Van Perise applied a deadly finish by drilling the ball into the bottom right corner to open the scoring on seventy minutes. The Gunners again found Van Persie, eleven minutes from time, when from Arteta’s corner, the Dutchman put his header wide of the mark. The writing was on the wall for Everton, when Magaye Gueye placed his shot wide of the right post, three minutes from normal time and when Conor McAleny’s right footed volley curled fractions wide of the far post in added time, following Marouane Fellaini’s knock down, the Toffees were resigned to defeat at the hands of Arsenal.