Friday, February 14, 2014

14 February 2005 - The United Nations Of Arsenal

On 14 February 2005, Arsenal fielded the first all-foreign sideincluding subsin English football history and won 5-1.

Arsenal, the defending league champions, were hosting newly-promoted Crystal Palace. Their team sheet included players from eight different countries, but not a single one from the United Kingdom. France had the most with six (Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Gael Clichy, Pascal Cygan, and Mathieu Flamini), followed by Spain with three (José Antonio Reyes, Cesc Fabregas, and Manuel Almunia) and the Netherlands with two (Dennis Bergkamp and Robin van Persie). The other countries included Germany (Jens Lehmann), Cameroon (Lauren), Ivory Coast (Kolo Toure), Brazil (Edu), and Switzerland (Philippe Senderos).

It wasn't much of a contest, as the Gunners were up 3-0 at the break with goals from Bergkamp (32'), Reyes (35'), and Henry (39'). Vieira added a fourth (54') before Crystal Palace finally got on the board when Andrew Johnson struck from the penalty spot (63'), then Henry scored again (77') to seal the final 5-1 margin.

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