Arsenal 4 Everton 0
Merciless, magnificent, and now rightly champions, Arsenal paraded around
Highbury in red and white triumph after claiming their 11th title in the most
emphatic of manners.
It was the day the red half of North London had planned since hope and faith
had turned into genuine championship belief with that vital win at Old Trafford
two months ago.
And when the opportunity arose, Arsenal took it, grabbing the glory with a
performance that sums up the essence of Arsene Wenger's managerial philosophy, a
high-octane display of non-stop movement, power and precision.
Goals as well of course, the jet-heeled Marc Overmars grabbing two - taking
his return on Wenger's £7million investment to 15 - after Slaven Bilic had
undermined his side with an own goal after five minutes.
There was even that rarest of sights this year, an appearance from Ian Wright,
only the second time he had been spotted in red and white since mid-January.
And with a minute to go, the perfect ending, Tony Adams - yes, that Tony Adams
- blazing through a hole a mile wide to rip a left-footer into thebottom
Adams, a fixture in the Gunners' sides that George Graham guided to
the ultimate high in 1989 and 1991, took the Premiership trophy, proof that the
Premiership crown had left the north west for the first time.
Since losing to at home to Blackburn on December 13, the Gunners have picked
up 48 points out of 54, including a Premiership record 10 straight wins.
Even Wenger's cool got lost for a few seconds as he joined in the hugs and
kisses, the moments of ecstasy.
And as Adams received the glittering prize, Highbury's biggest crowd of the
year - 38,269 - joined in as he raised it aloft, a host of blow-up trophies
mingling with the red, white and yellow cavalcade.
The victory parade was joyous and let there be no doubt that Wenger andhis men
deserved the plaudits too, not just for today's mauling of theToffees, but for
their displays all year.
By contrast hapless Everton trooped off, heads bowed as they face up to the
prospect of Nationwide League football at Goodison next term, aware that even a
win over Coventry next week might not be enough.
And they could, indeed should, have been further shamed, Don Hutchison knowing
he should have seen red for a brutal two-footed lunge on Emmanuel Petit that
might have spelled the end of the pony-tailed Frenchman's World Cup dream.
Thankfully Petit was back in the dug-out by the final whistle to join
the victory parade and nothing could dampen the triumphalism of the Arsenal fans
who had filled Highbury with an expectant wall of noise and colour before the
Nerves might have been exposed against Derby in midweek, but even without
Dennis Bergkamp or Wright, the North Bank was wearing its party hat - flag,
shirt and banner too - and the Gunners could not have asked for more obliging
The fact that Everton were staring over the abyss into the nether world of
Division One did not seem to have filtered through, Kendall's team a pitiful
shower from the word go.
Inside two minutes, after Bilic, supposedly screening the back five, had been
caught upfield, Myhre had to produce a fine diving stop to foil Chris Wreh.
And just three minutes later, the home fans had the goal they craved, even if
it was not exactly the way they wanted to claim the title.
When Petit flashed over a free-kick from the Arsenal right, Adams soared at
the back post, the ball trickling down and past Myhre's right hand just inside
Highbury acclaimed its captain marvel, but Adams' shuffle away suggested he
might not be the scorer, subsequent video replays proving Bilic had made the
Not that it mattered too much to Arsenal, and with Everton, growing
increasingly spiteful but absolutely dreadful - Duncan Ferguson scuffling with
Martin Keown at every opportunity, John O'Kane and Hutchison both jumping in
with studs flying - the only question was how many.
Myhre did his best to delay the inevitable as his defence was cut open time
and again, brilliantly foiling Ray Parlour - after a flowing move -soon after
Nicolas Anelka had stroked wide when played in by Nigel Winterburn, on his 500th
It was too easy, Everton showing no conviction, precious little will ordesire,
just nastiness, Arsenal happy to take advantage.
Craig Short rescued Myhre after Anelka had raced unopposed onto a simple chip
by the ailing Petit, Lee Dixon also denied, but the clincher came in the 28th
minute, when Anelka caught Peter Beagrie idling on half-way, as Petit lay stunned
on the ground.
Overmars needed no second invitation, bursting forward with pace and power and
sucking two blue shirts in, and while his shot was not the best, it squirmed
through Myhre to trickle over the line.
Only over-elaboration - and an incredible miss by Patrick Vieira - kept the
margin down to two at the break.
David Platt had replaced Petit following Hutchison's vicious assault, referee
Gerald Ashby, in his final match before retirement, wrongly lenient.
Kendall's decision to make a triple-swop, Mickael Madar, Gareth Farrelly and
John Oster replacing Bilic, O'Kane and Beagrie, and reverting to a back four,
showed his desperation.
But this die was long since cast, no way back, Arsenal's biggest concern to
avoid the flailing boots and arms, to ignore the urge to retaliate.
The crowd, keen for retribution, had its part to play as well, but 12 minutes
after the break, as Overmars raced on and on and on before sliding past the
exposed Myhre, the mood became celebratory again.
Now it was all smiles, a stroll in the sun, taunts in the direction of White
Hart Lane and Old Trafford, a call for Wright to get a run-out.
Everton were simply victims as the show went on, outclassed, Myhre springing
right to foil Anelka before Wright made his grandstand entrance with 19 minutes
No fairytale ending for Wright perhaps, but Adams' scintillating strike was
straight out of dreamland. Half-way to the double, half-way to paradise. Are you
Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Vieira, Adams,
Anelka (Wright 72), Overmars, Wreh (Bould 80), Keown, Parlour,
Petit (Platt 44).
Subs Not Used: Manninger, Grimandi.
Goals: Bilic 6 og, Overmars 28, 57, Adams 89.
Everton: Myhre, Watson, Barmby, Ferguson, Hutchison, Short,
Beagrie (Madar 46), Tiler, Ball, Bilic (Oster 46),
O'Kane (Farrelly 46).
Subs Not Used: Gerrard, McCann.
Booked: Hutchison, O'Kane, Ferguson, Oster, Barmby.
Arsenal F A Carling Premiership Champions
Att: 38,269Ref: G R Ashby (Worcester).