Games between Arsenal and Chelsea are not, perhaps, the first games that come to mind when thinking about feisty London derbies but make no mistake, this fixture has thrown up some amazing encounters over the years.
Undoubtedly two of English football’s most famous and successful clubs, the Blues and Reds will renew hostilities in today’s 139th FA Cup final at Wembley.
So ahead of today’s clash let’s take a look back at five of the best Chelsea v Arsenal games ever…
CHELSEA 2-3 ARSENAL, SEP 1997
This game was bonkers and had pretty much everything that fans of both sides would want in terms of nostalgia. This was the great Chelsea side from the 90’s that had players like Gianluca Vialli, Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit, Frank Leboeuf, and Roberto Di Matteo. Arsenal meanwhile could call upon the likes of Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit, Tony Adams, Ian Wright, Marc Overmars, Nicolas Anelka and Dennis Bergkamp, to name just a few.
Gus Poyet got things going for Chelsea before a Bergkamp double put the Gunners ahead. Zola equalised and it looked as though the game was heading for a draw when the ball fell to Arsenal full-back Nigel Winterburn around the halfway line. Charging forward he let loose a 30 yard thunderbolt that sealed all three points and set Arsene Wenger on his way to first League and Cup double.
CHELSEA 3-1 ARSENAL, FEB 1998
A little later in the season, Chelsea had a chance to exact some revenge. It was the second round of the League Cup semi-final and the Gunners were going into the game with a 2-1 lead.
Gianluca Vialli had just been installed as player-manager for the Blues and goals from Mark Hughes, Di Matteo and Dan Petrescu helped Chelsea to record a stunning comeback and get the Italian coaches tenure off to a flying start.
CHELSEA 2-3 ARSENAL, OCT 1999
Arguably the best of the lot now as 79-year-old striker Nwankwo Kanu etched his name into Arsenal folklore. Chelsea were 2-0 up and seemed to be cruising before the Nigerian striker decided turn it on. His first two goals were tidy, well-taken finishes but his third, the winner, well have a look for yourself.
ARSENAL 1-2 CHELSEA, APR 2004
Oh dear, what is it about Arsenal and losing to Chelsea over two legs? Domestically the Gunners were imperious. striding along unbeaten to the title but in Europe, things went sour. The first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash at Stamford Bridge had finished 1-1 and with the Highbury leg seemingly going the same way the teams were preparing for extra time.
That is until Wayne Bridge popped up on the end of a tidy one-two and finished firmly into the bottom corner. Jose Mourinho’s Porto won the Champions League that year and given Arsenal’s wealth of talent, that probably should have been the year they won the competition.
CHELSEA 3-5 ARSENAL, OCT 2011
The 2011/12 season was a memorable one for Chelsea fans. The club managed a very impressive FA Cup and Champions League double. In the league though, their form was poor. Arsenal weren’t up to much either but when the two clubs met in October they produced one of those madcap games we have come to expect from the Premier League.
It was frantic, the defending was poor, but it was thrilling, with Robin van Persie doing the damage late on to secure the win for the Gunners.