Five of the best Arsenal Champions League goals

Thierry Henry Two

It is eight years to the day since Thierry Henry scored a wonder goal in the Santiago Bernabeu to set up a 1-0 win over Real Madrid.

Eight years ago today, Arsenal headed to the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium to take on Real Madrid in their own back garden, and weren't given an iota of a chance by critics, with 'Los Galacticos' heavy favourites to progress to the Champions League quarter finals.

Madrid had never lost to England opposition at home but the record books were torn up and shredded to little pieces thanks to a moment of magic from Arsenal's former talisman in Thierry Henry.

The Frenchman, picking the ball up just inside the Madrid half, embarked on a trademark barnstorming run which saw him speed past Ronaldo with ease before surging away from desperate challenges from Alvaro Mejia and Guti.

The goal was within his sights and, having muscled his way past a fourth challenge from Sergio Ramos, he slotted the ball home expertly with his left foot into the bottom corner past the stranded Iker Casillas.

It gave the Gunners an away goal they would protect and take back to Highbury before securing a 0-0 draw to progress en route to the final, where they ultimately lost 2-1 to Barcelona.

So, to celebrate the anniversary of Henry's strike - and to cheer Gunners fans up from the chastening defeat to Bayern Munich on Wednesday night - here are Arsenal's top five goals in the Champions League, along with Henry's strike below... 

1) Freddie Ljungberg: Arsenal 3-1 Juventus - 5 Dec 2001

Arsenal were cruising at 2-0 up thanks to goals from Ljungberg and an outstanding Henry free-kick in the first half but a freak own goal from Stuart Taylor pulled Juventus back into the match.

It was the second match of the now defunct second group phase in the Champions League and the Gunners were keen to lay down a marker. They soon would thanks to the Swede's goal, after Dennis Bergkamp had released him with an impudent flick to lob Gianluigi Buffon late on.

2) Dennis Bergkamp: Arsenal 4-1 Bayer Leverkusen - 27 Feb 2002

The Gunners stormed to a comfortable victory over eventual finalists Leverkusen by blowing them away inside the opening 10 minutes, thanks to goals from Robert Pires and Henry.

The third came soon after the interval as Patrick Vieira nodded home before the latest in a catalogue of Bergkamp majesty as he controlled the ball on the edge of the area, swivelled, and unleashed the most sublime chip over the stranded Hans Jorg-Butt.

3) Thierry Henry: Roma 1-3 Arsenal - 27 Nov 2002

Having already proven their new-found credentials on the road in Europe with a thumping 4-0 win at PSV Eindhoven in the opening group stage, Arsenal headed to Rome and good spirits and left even happier thanks to a magnificent hat-trick from the main man at the time.

He scored with one of his trademark curled finishes to equalise an Antonio Cassano strike just moments before and then turned the game on its head in the second half with a clinical finish and sealed victory and a personal treble by curling a delightful free-kick beyond a statuesque Francesco Antonioli. 

 

4) Thierry Henry: Inter Milan 1-5 Arsenal - 25 Nov 2003

It was an astonishing result in the circumstances. Arsenal were blowing away all that went before them domestically but had struggled in Europe, having lost two of their opening three games, including a 3-0 reverse at home to the Serie A giants.

Ashley Cole's late goal against Dynamo Kiev had given the Gunners a glimmer of hope which they duly snatched in the San Siro with a phenomenal display which yielded one of Henry's best-ever goals in an Arsenal shirt.

Leading 2-1, Inter were pressing for an equaliser but had left Henry largely unguarded on the left-hand side. Speeding away from Javier Zanetti, the Frenchman checked and spotted Robert Pires' run before going once again past the Argentine and firing a bullet into the bottom corner beyond Francesco Toldo to send the travelling Arsenal faithful into raptures.

5) Cesc Fabregas: AC Milan 0-2 Arsenal - 4 Mar 2008

The Gunners struck twice late on to become the first English club to inflict defeat on Milan at the San Siro in the Champions League thanks to a mercurial display from Cesc Fabregas, who capped his stunning performance with an equally brilliant strike from range.

He had earlier hit the bar as Arsene Wenger's men dominated but they were forced to wait until the 84th minute for their breakthrough as Fabregas advanced in midfield and sent a searing low effort flying into the bottom corner from all of 30 yards before Theo Walcott teed up Emmanuel Adebayor to make it two.

 

image: © marklunch1

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