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Wenger completes his first Double

Story Highlights
  • September 1996: A Surprise Appointment
  • Building the Dream Team
  • Overcoming Early Setbacks
  • A Turning Point
  • The Crowning Moment
  • Doubling the Glory

September 1996: A Surprise Appointment

Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal appointed the relatively unknown Arsène Wenger as manager. A Frenchman with no Premiership experience, he was a relative outsider in English football.

Building the Dream Team

In just ten months, Wenger molded a formidable squad capable of challenging Manchester United’s stronghold on the Premiership. The team was reinforced by strategic signings like Emmanuel Petit, Marc Overmars, and Nicolas Anelka, paving the way for an all-out assault on the 1997/98 title.

Overcoming Early Setbacks

Despite initial inconsistencies, including a disappointing 3-1 home defeat to Blackburn in December, the team embarked on an 18-match unbeaten run. This impressive streak brought the Premiership trophy to Highbury for the first time.

A Turning Point

A Petit-inspired victory over Derby County on April 29 was a pivotal moment. The Gunners needed three points from their remaining three games to secure the title. Their clash against Everton at Highbury on May 3 was crucial, and they didn’t disappoint.

The Crowning Moment

Two goals from Marc Overmars and an own goal from Everton’s Slaven Bilic secured the title for Arsenal. But the season’s most memorable moment was yet to come. In the final seconds, veteran center-back Tony Adams thundered a left-foot shot into the corner, sealing a resounding 4-0 victory. Arsenal were champions again.

Doubling the Glory

Less than two weeks later, they made it a Double. Even without their best form, Arsenal overpowered Newcastle in the FA Cup final. Goals from Overmars and Anelka clinched the Club’s seventh FA Cup. The final whistle confirmed Arsenal’s status as English football’s finest and vindicated the decision to appoint Wenger in 1996. A Double winner in his second season — who could doubt him now?

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