Arsenal clinch Premiership title - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Arsenal clinch Premiership title

by Angus MacKinnon 26/04/2004 05:29:00 AM Comments (0)

Arsenal wrapped up their 13th English title with four games to spare after a 2-2 draw with north London rivals Tottenham.

Needing only a point to secure the title, Arsenal laid down a perfect foundation with a delightful first-half display, capped by exhilarating goals from French stars Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires.

But they were tested by a determined Spurs fightback in the second half and after Jamie Redknapp had scored his first Premiership goal of the season, Robbie Keane converted a stoppage time penalty to snatch a much-needed point for the home side.

The draw meant Arsenal's multitalented, multinational generation of 2003/04 emulated the achievement of the legendary 1971 double winning side, who also clinched their championship at the ground of their nearest and fiercest rivals.

Keane's late penalty, conceded after he was manhandled by goalkeeper Jens Lehmann, took some of the edge off the celebrations.

But it was still an afternoon to savour for an Arsenal side who have displayed remarkable mental strength and determination this season to bounce back from the trauma of the late collapse which saw them gift the 2002-03 title to Manchester United.

The title is the third Arsenal have won in eight seasons under the shrewd guidance of their manager, Arsene Wenger.

The Frenchman could have his pick of any job in world football but he has committed himself to staying in London until at least 2006, when Arsenal will move from Highbury to a new 60,000-seat stadium that will give them the financial firepower to compete with United on a level playing field.

Wenger's previous Premiership triumphs were achieved in seasons - 1997-98 and 2001-02 - in which Arsenal also won the FA Cup.

Yet despite winning doubles those Arsenal sides never achieved the kind of shift in the balance of power in English football that most observers agree has taken place this season.

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