When the Gunners visited Eindhoven in 2002, they got right to work and will be looking for a similar outcome on Thursday.cemented his place in Champions League history at that precise time. On September 25, 2002, when Arsenal took on PSV, Arsene Wenger’s team anticipated a difficult night against the Dutch team. But the Gunners were in cruise control as soon as Gilberto scored after only 20.7 seconds.
Gilberto’s volley off Thierry Henry’s cross broke Alessandro Del Piero’s record for the quickest-ever Champions League goal, which had been held by Juventus against Manchester United. They went on to win 4-0 at the PSV Stadion. Although the record has since been broken, the Brazilian still treasures that moment as he considers his lengthy and accomplished career. He claimed it was a very joyful time. I was shocked to learn that it was the quickest goal in the competition’s history. After, it was shattered, which slightly hurt my heart.
Where is the Arsenal starting lineup from that historic game 20 years later?
David Seaman: A true Arsenal hero, Seaman made 564 appearances and won eight major trophies with the club before departing for Manchester City in 2003. Soon after, he announced the end of his playing career, and since then, Seaman has frequently appeared on TV programs. The 59-year-old has participated in everything from Carp fishing with Seaman and Gazza to Dancing on Ice.
Lauren: Lauren was a true warrior on the football field, and the club still holds him in high regard. During his time in north London, he won two Premier League championships and played a significant role in the storied 2003–04 Invincibles team. He currently works as a football analyst on Spanish TV and represents Arsenal as the club’s ambassador.
Sol Campbell: Campbell, a former Spurs star, became a behemoth for Arsenal after moving to north London in 2002. In his debut season, Campbell helped Arsene Wenger’s team win both the Premier League and the FA Cup, making him the perfect successor for Tony Adams, who was nearing the end of his playing days. Before joining Portsmouth in 2006, he played for Arsenal in 146 Premier League games overall.
Martin Keown: Keown is now recognized as a football analyst and frequently appears on networks like talkSPORT and BT Sport. After his playing career ended, he did briefly transition into coaching, working with Arsenal for a while. During his two stints with Arsenal, Keown won three league championships as a player. In 2004, after Arsene Wenger’s team finished their storied Invincibles season, he played his final match for the club against Leicester City.
Ashley Cole: For Arsenal supporters, just thinking about Ashley Cole still hurts. Even though a lot of time has gone by since his 2006 move to Chelsea, the wounds left by his contentious departure have not healed. Cole continued to achieve great things with the Blues, taking home league, FA, and Champions League championships. Cole is now a member of Everton’s coaching staff under Frank Lampard.
Gilberto Silva: Silva, the player who only took 20.7 seconds to score a goal against PSV! Gilberto made history at Arsenal for several reasons during his tenure in north London. Along with being a member of the Invincibles and scoring the first goal scored by an Arsenal player at the Emirates Stadium against Aston Villa on the first day of the 2006–07 season, he also broke the Champions League scoring record.
Patrick Vieira: When Patrick Vieira made his debut for Arsenal against Sheffield Wednesday at Highbury in 1996, it was obvious the Gunners had acquired a unique player. The Frenchman was the Invincibles’ captain and went on to win three Premier League championships while he was with the team. Before leaving for Juventus in 2005, he amassed 279 Premier League matches and was one of the best players to have represented Arsenal.
Freddie Ljungberg: The sole member of the Arsenal Invincibles to manage the team, albeit briefly. He was brought in from Halmstad in 1998 as a relatively unknown player, scored against Manchester United on his debut, and never looked back. Ljungberg returned to Arsenal as a youth coach when his playing career was over and had success leading the Under-23s. After Mikel Arteta was chosen as Emery’s long-term replacement, Ljungberg joined his coaching staff, however, he left the team in August 2020.
Sylvain Wiltord: Wiltord, the player who famously scored the goal that gave Arsenal the Premier League championship at Old Trafford in 2002, may not have reached the heights of some of the other legendary French players to play for the Gunners during the Arsene Wenger era, but that goal alone is enough to ensure his name will always be etched in club lore. By the time the 2003–2004 Invincibles season arrived, Wiltord was primarily a bit-part player, although he nevertheless contributed during his final season in north London.
Thierry Henry: Few could have predicted what Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer, would accomplish when Arsene Wenger brought him to north London following a dismal stint with Juventus. In 258 appearances, he tallied 175 league goals and 74 assists. Henry earned four Golden Boots, two league championships, and the Premier League Player of the Season award twice. At the moment, Henry assists Roberto Martinez with the Belgian national team.
Dennis Bergkamp: Few could have predicted what Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s all-time leading scorer, would accomplish when Arsene Wenger brought him to north London following a dismal stint with Juventus. In 258 appearances, he tallied 175 league goals and 74 assists. Henry earned four Golden Boots, two league championships, and the Premier League Player of the Season award twice. At the moment, Henry assists Roberto Martinez with the Belgian national team.
Sub: Pascal Cygan: Between 2002 and 2006, Cygan spent four years for Arsenal, where he won the Premier League in 2004. The French center-back, unable to establish himself in the team, left for Villarreal before concluding his playing days with Cartagena. Since his retirement from football, he has not played.
Sub: Kanu: Kanu was a talent with the ball at his feet and will always be a club icon at Arsenal. A man who accomplished just as much off the field as he did on it. However, his outstanding work with the Kanu Heart Foundation since quitting football is perhaps more noteworthy than any of his outstanding accomplishments while playing. The Kanu Heart Foundation continues to serve those in need throughout Africa while saving the lives of hundreds of youngsters.
Sub: Kolo Toure: Toure’s place in Arsenal history is ensured by the prominent role he and Sol Campbell played during the Invincibles season. He later played for Celtic, Manchester City, and Liverpool before retiring and transitioning into coaching. He spent time with the Ivory Coast organization before joining Celtic in 2017. Toure is presently employed by Brendan Rodgers’ coaching staff at Leicester City.
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