Arsenal Logo Arsenal 4 - 0 Everton
Half-time: 2 - 0
Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 97/98 - Game 37
Sunday 3 May 1998
Highbury, London
Att: 38,269
« Sheffield Wednesday (h) Ref:  Gerald Ashby Coventry City (h) »
1997-98 Fixtures & Results League Position: 18th Premiership Results & Table
Arsenal: Bilic, og (6), Overmars (28, 57), Adams (89)
EVERTON: Beagrie
  LINEUPS Subs Not Used
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Adams, Anelka (Wright, 72), Overmars, Wreh (Bould, 80), Keown, Parlour, Petit (Platt, 44). Manninger, Grimandi.
EVERTON: Myhre, Watson, Barmby, Ferguson, Hutchison, Short, Beagrie (Madar, 46), Tiler, Ball, Bilic (Oster, 46), O'Kane (Farrelly, 46).
Unavailable: Parkinson, Grant, Branch, Thomas, Ward, Phelan, Williamson (injured).
Gerrard, McCann.
  Yellow Cards Red Cards
Arsenal: Dixon..
EVERTON: Hutchison, O'Kane, Ferguson, Oster, Barmby.

Guy McEvoy God help us all
Lyndon Lloyd Worlds Apart... but it ain't over yet
THE TIMES Arsenal time title run-in to perfection
by Brian Glanville
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Arsenal seal a place in the sun
by Henry Winter
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

God help us all
Guy McEvoy
The day started off depressing enough and ended up suicidal. Sitting on a train full of Arsenal fans, my Royal Blue colours prompted a bit of taunting. When the row started I wasn't exactly in a position of strength.

"Yer goin' darn" an acne-scared cockney scally volunteered. I weighed it up. There were maybe fifteen of them against the one of me. Violence was ruled out. It'd have to be the rapier wit. "Yep, I know". Sharp reply.

I was glad when we pulled in at Finsbury Park. I was meeting an old friend from University who doesn't follow football at all. For an hour at least I was able to get it out my mind as he steered the conversation onto any topic except the match. It couldn't be ignored forever though and as the clock clicked on it was eventually time to leave for the lions den of Highbury.

As you walk through the gates at the away end you pass a bookies. Ladbrokes gave 6-1 on an Everton win. A fool and his money.

The Evertonians were in reasonably good cheer considering. We gave a few songs as the team warmed up. The world had us written off, everyone thought that we would go there and Arsenal would trounce us. We went with the hope of sticking two fingers up at all of them. Whilst all of us in our heads knew that a good result was unlikely, in our hearts there was that slight hope for a draw. How naive.

We were crushed. Outclassed, outplayed and embarrassed.

I can't remember ever feeling so empty watching the blues. We were bit players in Arsenals' title party, nothing more. The fans went desperate to get behind the team, but they gave us not one thing to start from. The entire first half saw not one single attempt on goal from Everton. Arsenal were unlucky to finish the half with only two on the board.

Bilic scored the first for them within five minutes. A free-kick from their right, pressure from Adams and there it was. The second came after Beagrie lost the ball, a strong run down the field was ended with an Overmars shot Tommy should've stopped but the power saw in.

In between the goals, the game consisted of Arsenal picking up the balls Everton gave so freely away and charging terrifyingly at a shaky looking defence. Our three centre-backs were overwhelmed; Bilic trying his hand at midfield in front of them looked lost. The partnership of Barmby and Ferguson provided nothing. Fans shouted the word 'Pride'. It didn't register.

To a man the Evertonians assumed the same position. Every one of them stood up for the majority of the game. Arms folded high in front of them as if they were holding their guts in place. After a while I couldn't even manage that. I sat down and looked at the backs of the row of people in front of me. It was less painful.

When you are in our position there is clearly room for cynicism and hard-men in the play. But when cynicism is your only tactic, when the only things of note the team manages is to get involved in scuffles. Well, that is shameful.

The second half was a formality. We made a triple substitution and we looked briefly like participants, particularly with the arrival of Madar. Arsenal though were in full flow and still chewed us up. Another two strong runs created quality goals. The gulf between us was hammered home when Bould laid on Adams for the final nail. Can you imagine Tiler providing Watson for a goal like that?

By this time I felt no more anger, just a punch-drunk resignation. The final whistle was a relief.

I stayed to watch them pick up the trophy. Worthy champions. A side that blends cosmopolitan flair with bulldog steel. A different league to us. Probably literally.

After their laps of honour I left the ground in a surreal atmosphere. The streets were quiet, they had just won the championship and it felt like I was walking in a crowd that had just lost to Barnet. It was silent. Then I got back towards Finsbury Park and they suddenly broke into their second wind. Suddenly, every car was tooting its horn, everyone had a flag in one hand and a can of lager in the other. Suddenly strangers were hugging and dancing with each other.

Arsenal fans would break off from their moment of celebration to pat me on my back and wish me luck for next week. A curious gesture, sort of put me in mind of a new lottery winner stopping his celebrations to put 50p in a charity box, even though they didn't like the charity. Why they should wish us luck after that shameful performance I'll never know.

All I could do was look at the faces and wonder what I would be feeling in exactly a week. Would I be at the extreme other end of what I was stuck in at the moment? The goose-pimples started.

As if it wasn't bad enough being stuck on the train back to Cambridge (don't ask!) with Arsenal fans, imagine then being faced with a minor TV celebrity Arsenal fan, being loud and obnoxious. There was Rory McGrath, replica shirt and all savouring every moment. Fucking nightmare. If the doors of the train hadn't been on auto-lock I swear I would have jumped off.

Every other aspect of my life is going so well I should be succumbing to paradise syndrome. Instead, I'm walking round like I'm terminally ill or something. God help us all.

Worlds Apart... but it ain't over yet
Lyndon Lloyd
Anyone who asked me what our chances were at Highbury on Sunday was told that we had it in us to get a draw but I didn't think we would get it. Nevertheless, I had been excited about the match ever since a ticket opportunity opened up out of the blue last week - I was the eternal optimist who believed that we could do it.

I caught the 10.52 train from Staines, trying desperately to read my book in a vain attempt at keeping my mind off the game. I managed a few pages but by the time I reached Twickenham I felt physically sick with nerves. I tried to console myself with the thee separate dreams I had about the match (two draws and a 2-0 win courtesy of two John Spencer goals – reality couldn't have been further away) but that didn't really help either.

All northbound services on the Northern Line were cancelled so I had to make a roundabout journey on the Bakerloo and Victoria Lines before I finally reached Euston at around 11.45. Searching for a cash-point I bumped in James Goddard and we made our way up to the Cooper's pub only to be greeted with a sign informing us that it would next be open on Monday.

Confused we hovered around for a while before GFEs Frank and Wilf and mates arrived, closely followed by Billy, Steve and Adie. Steve went off to have words with the management of the pub only to come back 5 minutes later with the news that the bar was open and serving. It was filling up rapidly when we walked in, prompting much derision from Frank who immediately banned me from Netley Tactical Pint Reconniassance forever!

There was an excellent turnout and I won't try and name everybody in attendance but the drink flowed as we pored over the GFE artist's impressions for their stadium vision and various newspaper articles previewing the game.

With a few drinks down me I briefly forgot about the trial by fire that awaited and there was much merriment as we trouped through the underground, first whistling Z-Cars down the escalators and then bursting into full song on the tube – to the amusement and bewilderment of many seated around us. Within a few minutes we were in the World's End which was echoing to the sound of Sky Sports' coverage of the Manchester City game.

More drink and it was time to head off to the ground, some 20 minutes away. Having trudged ¾ around the stadium only to realise we had missed the entrance, we finally got inside with enough time to buy some grub and settle down for the event. Typically, Billy missed the kick off but almost an entire row of Netley footsoldiers was in place by the time Thomas Myhre had saved brilliantly from Anelka in the first minute.

The Evertonians were in good voice but the team was one down before they had had a chance to settle. Petit swung in a free kick and the ball ended up in the net. I hadn't seen it at the time but it turned out that Slaven Bilic had headed past his own goalkeeper under pressure from Tomy Adams.

It just got worse after that. I can honestly say that I have never seen my team get demolished so comprehensively as they were by Arsenal and I have never seen such a devastating performance in the flesh in my 13 years of going to football matches. Watching the red tide come forward time and time again was truly frightening. The second goal was no surprise but was unnecessary because Beagrie gave the ball away in midfield and Overmars just accelerated and jinked his way past the pedestrian Short before firing under Thomas who could perhaps have stopped it but probably not.

My frustration and anger boiled over at that point and Billy did his best to reassure me that we weren't down yet; there was still next week and we knew beforehand that we were going to get twatted. I couldn't argue. It was then that Billy said he was going when the third goal went in.

Everton didn't manage a single effort on goal after Don Hutchison's direct free-kick had gone straight into the Arsenal wall in the first few seconds of the half. By half time the fans were devastated and Arsenal were cruising.

A quick escape for a pee during the interval took me past a group of Blues exchanging insults and chants with Arsenal fans on the other side of a separating gate and when I emerged from the toilet they were charging feet first at the division, in an attempt to break through it. They probably didn't; I didn't wait to find out.

Howard took three (Bilic, Beagrie and O'Kane) off and threw on Madar, Farrelly and Oster. Although Everton were several degrees better in the second half, they were still unable to prevent the Gunners powering their way to another two goals, without reply.

The three substitutes were probably our best players on the day along with Michael Ball and Thomas Myhre but it was Bally who played a cross-field ball straight into the opponents hands and Overmars raced clear to smash home number three. The crowd deflated, Billy left and although I managed to get my first ever chant going it was useless.

The atmosphere in the Highbury Stadium was phenomenal; a veritable cauldron of noise. I have never experienced anything like it on either side of the Atlantic and we never stood a snowball's chance in hell. It was pure noise from start to finish. The Evertonians stood in stunned silence for the remainder of the game, stationary with arms folded as if attending a wake. A few people stayed seated, heads in hands, not daring to watch further humilation.

Those of us who did suffer the agony of watching ever distressing minute saw Madar and Oster carry the attacking threat with Barmby occasionally buzzing around the Arsenal area but he was snuffed out almost every time. When he did manage to release Madar, the lineswoman (a Premeirship first?) – who was terrible I might add – adjudged him harshly offside.

I don't think we managed a shot on target in the second period either but if that wasn't humiliating enough, watching Tony Adams rampage through to crash a superb shot past Myhre in the final minute was a total disgrace. Highbury erupted and the final whistle followed soon afterwards.

I had put up with 90 minutes but there was no way I was going to watch Arsenal's celebrations. I left with James Goddard and Ian Chaderton and shuffled out into the street where gleeful Arsenal fans, who hadn't managed to get a ticket, were pouring out of nearby houses. One girl asked me if I had a ticket stub she could have but numbed by heavy defeat I didn't even raise my head. I felt guilty afterwards – it will probably be a collectors item one day but I just didn't feel like even reaching into my pocket for it. Half of me just couldn't deal with all the unbridled celebration that was erupting all around – something that was to haunt me all the way back to Staines.

Car horns hooted, people screamed and shouted and waved flags and scarves. People with pints and bottles appeared from nowhere as I walked on alone, an island of sorrow in a sea of red ecstacy. I met up with the Netley Roadshow crew at the World's End but penniless and miserable I stood on the pavement and stared off into space while the pub filled to the rafters with singing and dancing Gooners.

By the time we had taken our group away up the street I was becoming a lot more philosophical about things; after all, it wasn't over yet and so much could yet happen at Goodison next Sunday. In fact, by the time we reached "The Park whatever it was" pub I was actually in quite a good mood. Patchie nicked an Arsenal scarf and was doing his best to convince people in the pub that he was a Gooner despite his thick Scouse accent and the local fruit and veg stalls were being raided for all manner of vegetables.

"Fuck Arsenal" and "Everton FC - Pride of Merseyside" were scrawled on the blackboard by the dartboard, much to annoyance of the landlady, and Tom Netley was entered into the local darts tournament. Attempts were made to trash the framed Liverpool FC cartoon on the wall and the entire pub filled with famous Everton songs as the atmosphere among us lifted.

I finished my last pint, sang my last song and headed off across London for home. By the time my girlfriend picked me up at Staines I was freezing cold and could barely speak through a shredded throat. I was already looking forward to Coventry next week because my resolve had only been strengthened by the events of the day. It ain't over yet.

Arsenal time title run-in to perfection
by Brian Glanville, The Times
THE sun shone literally and metaphorically on Arsenal at Highbury, as, thrashing Everton 4-0, they won the championship for the eleventh time, the first since 1991 and the sixth since the Second World War. Their victory took them to 78 points, thus breaking the stranglehold on the title of Manchester United, who cannot now catch them.

It was a disastrous result for Everton, leaving them with 39 points from their 37 games and in substantial danger of slipping down to the Nationwide League first division.

For Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, this was a remarkable success in what was only his first full season. It was achieved, moreover, when the championship seemed so surely in the pockets of Manchester United that Manchester bookmakers were refusing to accept any more bets on their local team.

If there is to be an anology with any other sport, perhaps it should be with racing and that legendary jockey, Harry Wragg, celebrated as "The Head Waiter", for his ability to win races, coming from behind. Arsenal won their last ten league matches in a row and waxed while United waned.

This victory over Everton was not without its bleak side. Petit, injured just before half-time in a two-footed, jumping tackle by Hutchison, which did not even elicit a yellow card, looked as if he might have broken a leg, a fear that later proved unjustified. With a gesture of disgust, Petit threw his shinpad on to the field as he went off, to be replaced by David Platt. Fortunately for Arsenal, waiting in the wings, is one of the most promising players they have produced in recent years, in the adventurous Stephen Hughes.

It gave Arsenal's fans particular pleasure that their fourth goal, in the nintieth minute, should be run in by Adams, the veteran captain, galloping after a through-pass from Bould, his fellow defender.

Everton took the field in a state of extreme denial. They had no fewer than four centre backs deployed, though quite what was the point of using Bilic, the Croatia international, in front of the back four, a largely immobile figure, was difficult to understand.

Equally difficult to comprehend was the slowness with which Howard Kendall, who has seen much better days at Everton both as manager and player, reacted to the situation. Surely, with points so vital to his team's survival, he must have known that after the first goal went in, with only a couple of minutes played, he had to drag his team out of its defensive crouch, and go at least for the equaliser. He did not, indeed, Arsenal were able to make it 2-0, and largely put the game beyond Everton's grasp, by the time it came to the interval.

Only then did Kendall muster his courage, putting on no fewer than three substitutes and, in fact, enabling his team to contrive a number of promising attacks against an Arsenal team missing the forceful sorties of Petit, while his French partner, Vieira was quite plainly tiring.

The opening goal, which made Arsenal's eventual victory almost inevitable, arrived four minutes after Arsenal had given Everton substantial early warning. Winterburn, overlapping dynamically in the early period, took a pass from the ebullient Overmars, and sent a long penetrating cross to Wreh, who hit it beautifully, first time, but Myhre turned the ball resourcefully, behind.

Execution was merely delayed. Petit, rampant, swung in a left-footed free kick from the right. Adams went up for it on the far post, but the ball went into the net off the head of the unfortunate Bilic.

Despite their reinforced defence, Everton were never able to cope with Overmars. In these early minutes, their goal tottered time and again. Anelka, who has found all the confidence he previously lacked, played a one-two with Winterburn and was only just wide of the right-hand post. When Winterburn, still exuberant, found Wreh, Parlour met the cross with a header, but Myhre turned it behind.

The goalkeeper had to come quickly out of his box just beating Anelka to a long ball from Petit; long passes put Everton's massed defence into a surprising amount of trouble. Then Petit put in another of his long balls and Myhre had to dive at the feet of the oncoming Dixon.

Sooner or later Arsenal had to score again but when they did it was, somewhat surprisingly, thanks to Myhre's mistake. As Petit lay prone on the ground clutching his face, Overmars ran on and his eventual shot flew under the body of the Everton goalkeeper.

Ferguson, frustrated perhaps by being left so lonely at the front, initiated a brawl with Keown which could well have brought him a red card rather than a yellow – the indulgence of Gerald Ashby, the referee, again proving somewhat baffling.

Overmars scored again after 57 minutes, exploiting a somewhat lucky rebound to race on and beat Myhre with another left-footer. Myhre to some extent redeemed his early mistake when he dived to save a right-foot shot by Anelka. But there was nothing he could do with Adams's ultimate foray.

Seaman in Arsenal's goal did not have to make a single save.

Report © Times Newspapers Ltd

Arsenal seal a place in the sun
Henry Winter, Electronic Telegraph
FACES flushed by the sun, bodies rushed by adrenalin, Arsenal and their raucous supporters celebrated their 11th championship amid tumultuous scenes at Highbury last night. Songs of praise cascaded from the terraces, the Tannoy almost exploded, Ian Wright jumped into the arms of all and sundry and Arsène Wenger, smiling like a new father, at last cradled the Carling chalice, the English championship trophy that had never before been in the cultured clasp of a foreign manager.

The old script relating to Arsenal titles must now be shredded. Highbury's finest are not supposed to settle championships with 4-0 victories, with silk as well as steel. Yet neither luck nor boredom coloured Arsenal's recent rampaging run, 10 wins on the spin, so equalling the club record.

Yesterday's triumph, a result that allowed Arsenal to bask in sunshine while Everton were cloaked in shadows, encapsulated Wenger's effect on this most English of clubs. Arsenal finished with only two players bought by the Frenchman but the style and strategy were pure Wenger. A minute before the final whistle, before the first of a relentless series of spinnings of We are the Champions, Arsenal produced a magnificent cameo that embodied Wenger's influence.

Steve Bould, metamorphosing into Steve Williams, delivered a wonderful ball from midfield for Tony Adams to drive through and score with a strike that Tony Woodcock would have relished. Here was thrilling testament to Wenger's impact, the liberating of centre-halves to create as playmakers and finish as centre-forwards, the ripping the masks and straitjackets from English yeomen.

Amid all the dressing-room back-slapping and back-page eulogies, Adams deserves special mention. Arsenal's captain has arguably been their championship catalyst, even ahead of Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit.

After the December defeat to Blackburn Rovers, when Arsenal were so out of contention that a towel was more likely to be seen on Highbury's flagpole than a pennant, Adams tapped into the Internet to learn what supporters were saying. Their critical comments, some about him, stirred him into action. He called a team meeting and demanded greater defensive contributions from the midfielders, who responded impressively. The rest is history and now hysteria. Arsenal have since taken 48 points out of 54.

Adams probably cannot remember how he celebrated his previous two titles. Now a recovering alcoholic, he will celebrate this championship in his own new way, with a few private thoughts and a commitment to lead his players to the Double at Wembley on May 16.

A different form of intoxication seized his club yesterday. Delight dominated all parts of Highbury. For the board, who rode the criticism stirred by appointing Wenger, then relatively unknown here. For the supporters, who have seen Manchester United dominate the decade. For the back-room staff, trusted employees such as Pat Rice and Gary Lewin, who know and love the club and deserve all the plaudits along with the players.

Lewin, in particular, was busy yesterday, his medical skills often needed in a physical first half. Petit took a battering, a whack to the face and then, disgracefully, a two-footed challenge by Don Hutchison which removed the influential Frenchman from the fray. Relief reverberated around Highbury's corridors when it emerged last night that Petit was expected to be out for only a week.

How sad it was to see Evertonians resort to such tactics, to observe the 'School of Science' descending to the 'Home of Hard Knocks'. In the worrying wake of Bolton's win on Saturday, a result that plunged Everton into the bottom three, Howard Kendall's visitors had clearly come for a point, leaving Duncan Ferguson alone up front while a packed midfield ferreted and fought for the ball.

But dropping off Arsenal is an invitation to Wenger's men to attack. So it proved. After four minutes Adams rose high to meet Petit's floated free-kick and, in a desperate attempt to clear, Slaven Bilic headed in.

Arsenal's defensive power, their ball-retrieval brio in midfield and pace on the break soon overpowered Everton again. Peter Beagrie lost possession to Nicolas Anelka, who flicked the ball forward to Marc Overmars. The Dutchman flew forward and shot from left to right at Thomas Myrhe, whose weak attempted stop failed to prevent the ball crossing the line.

And so the celebrations began, "champions, champions" ringing out first at 4.33. Any ball mis-hit into the crowd tended to be held on to by the souvenir-hunters, who had already stocked up on £8 inflatable Premiership trophies, championship-saluting flags and T-shirts. Even the programmes ran out.

The gusto gripping Arsenal's choristers was tempered only by the sight of Petit ambushed by Hutchison. Petit tore out his shin-pad in anger, exposing the blood trickling from a stud-mark. He departed the action but Arsenal have strength in depth. David Platt came on.

Hitherto devoid of adventure, Everton at last introduced some creativity in the form of the more positive Gareth Farrelly and John Oster while reverting to a more positive 4-4-2 with Mickael Madar in attack.

It proved a vain move, so injecting even greater tension into Everton's meeting with Coventry City next Sunday. Arsenal struck twice again: Overmars raced through to finish brilliantly again and then Adams's late predator's impersonation. And then the party really began in earnest.

Report © The Electronic Telegraph

RESULTS  (Game 37)
Wednesday 6 May 1998
LIVERPOOL               4-0    ARSENAL
Ince (28,30) Owen (40)
Leonhardsen (87)
Tuesday 5 May 1998
Bent (44) Rodger (48)          Curcic (og:4) Omoyomni (68,89)
Lombardo (63)
Monday 4 May 1998
MANCHESTER UNITED       3-0    LEEDS UNITED            
Giggs (6) Irwin (pen 31) 
Beckham (60)
Sunday 3 May 1998
ARSENAL                 4-0    EVERTON
Bilic (og:6) Overmars (28,57)
Adams (89)
Saturday 2 May 1998
Blake (6) Fish (20)            Gordon (8) Bent (16)
Phillips (30) Thompson (70)
Holdsworth (79)
Dublin (pen 20) Boateng (34)
Zagorakis (57)
LIVERPOOL               5-0    WEST HAM UNITED
Owen (4)McAteer (21, 25) 
Leonhardsen (45)Ince (61)
Dabizas(39)                    Di Matteo (77)
Lee (42)  Speed (59)
Sanetti (89)                   Yorke (21) Hendrie (25) Joachim (50)
                               Dailly (50) Sturridge (88)
Fear(21,30)                    Ferdinand (18) Klinsmann (41,65,58,60) Saib (79)

LEAGUE TABLE (after 6 May 1998 )
Club                          P    W    D    L   GF   GA   GD   Pts
Arsenal                      37   23    9    5   68   32   36   78 <ECL
Manchester United            37   22    8    7   71   26   45   74 <ECL
Liverpool                    37   18   11    8   68   41   27   65 <Uefa
Chelsea                      37   19    3   15   69   43   26   60 <Uefa
Leeds United                 37   17    7   13   56   45   11   58
Blackburn Rovers             37   15   10   12   56   52    4   55
Aston Villa                  37   16    6   15   48   48    0   54
Leicester City               37   13   14   10   48   37   11   53
West Ham United              37   15    8   14   52   54   -2   53
Derby County                 37   15    7   15   51   49    2   52
Coventry City                37   12   15   10   45   43    2   51
Southampton                  37   14    5   18   49   54   -5   47
Newcastle United             37   11   11   15   35   43   -8   44 <ECWC
Sheffield Wednesday          37   12    8   17   52   66  -14   44
Tottenham Hotspur            37   11   10   16   43   55  -12   43
Wimbledon                    37   10   13   14   33   45  -12   43 <Safe
Bolton Wanderers             37    9   13   15   41   59  -18   40
Everton                      37    9   12   16   40   55  -15   39
Barnsley                     37   10    5   22   37   80  -43   35 <Div 1
Crystal Palace               37    7    8   21   36   71  -35   30 <Div 1
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© Michael Kenrick 1998
Last updated: 6 May 1998