On this day in 2003, Arsenal played Manchester City at their former ground, Maine Road, for the final time and beat them 5-1.
City left Maine Road, aka The Wembley of the North, in 2003 in favour of the City of Manchester Stadium, which was built for the Commonwealth Games in 2002. They initially planned to expand their 35,150-seater stadium to 45,000 but decided moving would be better.
When Arsenal visited Maine Road in 2003, City were a different team to the star-studded, Etihad endorsed one we see today. In fact, they’d only just got promoted back to the Premier League and eventually finished ninth that season.
Therefore, the Gunners beating them 5-1 wasn’t quite as big a result as it would now be.
Arsenal went 4-0 up within the first 19 minutes through Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires, Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell. They then scored a fifth in the 53rd minute through Patrick Vieira. Former Gunner, Nicolas Anelka, grabbed City a consolation goal a few minutes before the final whistle.
The match was Arsenal’s 11th unbeaten out of a 12-match run and, rumour has it, Sir Alex Ferguson got the Manchester United team bus to turn the radio off on the way to their game against Bolton Wanderers since it had the match on. United went on to win the League that year but Arsenal were hot on their heals for a lot of the season, despite finally finishing five points behind.Click here for reuse options!
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