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December 2003 Results & Match Reports

Continuing on from their brilliant performances, December proved to be another fruitful month for Arsenal in all three competitions.

The Gunners maintained their onslaught at the summit of the Premier League table by earning 11 points from a possible 15, while sensationally managing to finish top of their Champions League group despite enduring a woeful start; with their turnaround complete following a fine victory over Lokomotiv Moscow.

Arsene Wenger’s men also managed to book their place in the semi finals of the League Cup after the youngsters breezed past Wolverhampton and West Bromwich Albion in an emphatic manner.

2/11/2003 – Arsenal 5 – 1 Wolverhampton, Venue – Highbury (League Cup)

The Arsenal youngsters were making quite an impact in the League Cup and they continued to impress after tearing apart Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-1.

Star of the show, Jérémie Aliadière opened the scoring in the first half before Kanu got into the act after the interval with a well taken goal. Aliadière grabbed his second of the game with a wonderful solo effort in the 71st minute and then Sylvain Wiltord grabbed one for himself by scoring Arsenal’s fourth.

Alex Rae pulled one back for Wolves with a fine effort but Arsenal found the net for the fifth time as a certain Cesc Fabregas scored his first ever goal for the Gunners and in the process became the youngest ever goalscorer for the club.

Apart from the victory, another pleasing fact was the return of Patrick Vieira from injury after a lengthy lay off.

6/11/2003 – Leicester City 1 – 1 Arsenal, Venue – Walkers Stadium

Despite their fine run of form, Arsenal started to stutter in the league after dropping points for the second consecutive game following a draw against Leicester City.

After a tight first half, Arsenal managed to take the lead through a fine Gilberto header on the hour mark and looked set to stroll their way to victory. However, in the 72nd minute, the complexion of the match completely changed after Ashley Cole was sent off for a poor challenge on Ben Thatcher.

While the Gunners did manage to keep the Foxes at bay after going down to ten men, Craig Hignett popped up in the 90th minute to slot in the equalizer and break Arsenal hearts.

10/12/2003 – Arsenal 2 – 0 Lokomotiv Moscow, Venue – Highbury (UCL)

Following their disappointing result in the Premier League, Arsenal shifted their attention back to the Champions League and knew that a win against Lokomotiv Moscow would seal their qualification to the knockout stages.

Having beaten Inter Milan so convincingly, the Gunners were certainly confident and it showed in their performance. Lokomotiv shot themselves in the foot after Jacob Lekgetho got himself sent off as early as the 8th minute and Arsenal certainly capitalized almost immediately after Robert Pires fired in a fine goal from close range.

After missing a host of opportunities, Arsene Wenger’s men finally sealed the result after a brilliant Thierry Henry pass was finished off by Freddie Ljungberg.

The result meant that, not only did Arsenal qualify but finished top of their group - an amazing achievement considering their horrendous start.

14/12/2003 – Arsenal 1 – 0 Blackburn Rovers, Venue – Highbury

Arsenal got back to winning ways in the Premier League after seeing off the challenge posed by a resolute Blackburn Rovers side with a narrow victory.

Dennis Bergkamp got the only goal of the game as he turned the ball home from close range after some wonderful play down the right channel by Kolo Toure.

While the Gunners did create a couple of chances throughout the game, they could not grab the second and had goalkeeper Jens Lehmann to thank for the victory as well after the German custodian made a couple of fine saves.

16/12/2003 – West Bromwich Albion 0 – 2 Arsenal, Venue – The Hawthorns (League Cup)

Arsenal marched on into the semi finals of the League Cup after registering another convincing victory over West Bromwich Albion.

Kanu scored the opener in the 25th minute with a good close range finish before Arsenal’s star man in the competition, Jérémie Aliadière, continued his rich vein of form by grabbing the second after simply being handed the ball on a plate by Baggies’ goalkeeper Russell Hoult.

20/12/2003 – Bolton Wanderers 1 – 1 Arsenal, Venue – The Reebok Stadium

Bolton Wanderers had been Arsenal’s bogey team in the last couple of seasons and it proved to be the case once again as the Gunners had to fight hard to claim a point.

Following a bruising first half, Arsenal finally took the lead on the hour mark as Robert Pires slammed home the rebound after Bolton keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen had pulled off a good save.

The Trotters put Arsenal under immense pressure after going behind and it paid off as Henrik Pedersen equalized for the hosts with a beautiful strike in the 83rd minute to earn a point for his side.

26/12/2003 – Arsenal 3 – 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Venue – Highbury

Following their hard fought point against Bolton, normal service was resumed at Highbury as Arsenal romped their way to a 3-0 win over Wolverhampton.

Wolves’ Jody Craddock had a torrid first 20 minutes as he scored an own goal and gifted the hosts the second after some slack defending allowed Thierry Henry to pounce.

With a two goal lead, Arsenal looked comfortable throughout the game and managed to put the icing on the cake in the 89th minute through another brilliant goal from Henry to claim a fine victory.

29/12/2003 – Southampton 0 – 1 Arsenal, Venue – St Mary's Stadium

Arsenal carried their momentum from their victory against Wolves to claim another three points with a narrow win over Southampton.

Robert Pires handed the Gunners the lead after being delightfully played in by Thierry Henry and while Arsene Wenger’s men had a host of chances to double their lead, Saints goalkeeper Antti Niemi pulled off some brilliant saves to deny the away side.

Despite not being able to find the net again, Arsenal held on and claimed a vital victory to keep the pressure on leaders Manchester United at the top of the Premier League table.







League Cup

Wolverhampton Wanderers





Leicester City




Champions League

Lokomotiv Moscow





Blackburn Rovers




League Cup

West Brom





Bolton Wanderers





Wolverhampton Wanderers














Man Utd



















December 2003 Results

League Table

Player Of The Month: Robert Pires

Arsenal enjoyed a wonderful month due to their collective effort in defence as well as in attack and perhaps the man who was most impressive for the Gunners was Robert Pires.

The Frenchman put in some sensational performances throughout and managed to score a couple of vital goals both in the Premier League as well as in Europe to hand Arsenal some crucial victories.