Sunday’s 5 - 0 win over Nottingham Forest was Arsenal’s 300th at Emirates Stadium. Over the years there have been some monumental victories against some of the biggest and best in England and Europe, dating all the way back to a 2 - 1 win over Dinamo Zagreb back in 2006. But what are the ten greatest Arsenal wins at Emirates Stadium?
Number 10: ARSENAL 2 - 1 LEICESTER CITY (February 2016)
Arsenal and Leicester went into this game as title rivals. Leicester had an unbelievable run in 2016, especially away from home, so this was a game Arsene Wenger knew was going to be a real test of character and quality. Just before half-time, Jamie Vardy converted a penalty to give Leicester a 0 - 1 lead at the break, but that didn’t stop Arsenal roaring back.
After a Danny Simpson red card early in the second half, Theo Walcott equalised with twenty minute to play. Then, in his first appearance back after an injury, enter Danny Welbeck. The former Sunderland and Manchester United striker met Mesut Ozil’s free-kick with a deft flick in the 95th minute to take the ball beyond Kasper Schmeichel and send the Emirates into raptures.
This was a massive win for the Gunners as it put them in pole position for the title. Of course Leicester would go on to complete their fairy tale season in style, but the win and the celebrations sparked by the goal were absolutely glorious.
It’s only because of the fact that Leicester beat Arsenal to the title that this game doesn’t rank higher on the list. The performance and the character to come back and earn the three points was absolutely incredible, and certainly one of the wildest celebrations at the Emirates Stadium.
Number 9: ARSENAL 2 - 0 BAYERN MUNICH (October 2015)
In 2014, Arsenal had real hopes of going far in the Champions League, only for Bayern Munich to show their class and eliminate them. Going into this game in 2015, Arsenal had suffered shock loses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos already in Europe. But the Gunners pulled off a defensive masterclass to fend off Bayern Munich and win 2 - 0.
Petr Cech made two astonishing first-half saves from Thiago and Arturo Vidal which spurred Arsenal on to victory, with substitute Oliver Giroud turning in a 77th minute goal from a Santi Cazorla free-kick. Bayern continued to press for an equaliser, but just couldn’t break Arsenal down, with Mertesacker and Koscielny defending to a world class standard.
As Bayern continued to push forward, they pushed a little too far and Arsenal flew forward on the break, sealing the win with a fantastic finish from Mesut Ozil. This re-established Arsenal’s European reputation after a poor start in the Champions League, but also gave the fans a European night to remember against a Bayern side that had been in every semi-final since 2012.
Arsenal have never quite managed to put it all together in Europe, but that performance against Bayern Munich was as good as anyone managed against the German champions from 2011 to 2015.
Number 8: ARSENAL 4 - 0 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (2022) - WSL
Arsenal may not have won the WSL title since 2019, but this year, as with the mens team, there is something special about the group. That was epitimised by the display in a 4 - 0 win over Tottenham at Emirates Stadium. A headline figure of 53,737 ticket sales were made, and a WSL record of 47,367 attended the game, beating the record from Arsenal’s 0 - 2 win at Tottenham in 2019.
The performance itself from Arsenal was glorious. Beth Mead, having had a shot charged down, reacted instinctively to curl home a delicious opening goal. The Gunners continued to pepper the Tottenham goal with chances, before eventually a complete breakdown in communication at the back gifted Vivianne Miedema a simple finish to get her first of the season just before half-time. Rafaelle Souza scored the third with a thumping header just after the break before Miedema nodded home her second to complete the rout.
The attendance was a big talking point as well as it was an all-time high for a women’s league match, beaten only by the 2022 FA Cup final for a club game. For Arsenal fans though the main positive was the performance. Arsenal played stunning football, and went on to thrash Lyon in a famous Champions League win just a couple of weeks later. The Gunners remain unbeaten this season, winning every league game, and are dead set on winning their sixteenth league title.
Number 7: Arsenal 5 - 0 Burnley (May 2018)
There really is only one Arsene Wenger. Arsenal’s 5 - 0 win over Burnley in 2018 was largely insignificant in the Premier League, but it was game 1,234 of 1,235 for Arsene Wenger as Arsenal’s manager, and the final one at Emirates Stadium. The stunning performance was certainly a bonus, but that day was all about the legendary Frenchman.
Wenger had won the Premier League with Arsenal three times, winning in his first full season and of course going unbeaten in 2003/2004. He was presented with the gold trophy Arsenal received for that achievement to keep for himself. It was a fitting tribute, along with the “Merci Arsene” shirts worn by every single fan and member of staff in the stadium, to a manager who had completely changed English football forever.
It was an emotional day, and is emotional even to write about. Most Arsenal fans had never seen the kind of success Wenger brought to North London. In fact, many had never known any other Arsenal manager, given that Wenger finally hung up his famous coat after 22 seasons in charge. The 5 - 0 win was a fitting tribute to the greatest manager in London’s footballing history.
Number 6: ARSENAL 3 - 1 CHELSEA (December 2010)
Cesc Fabregas was an incredible player, and his performance in Arsenal’s 3 - 1 win over Chelsea in December 2010 was one of the greatest he delivered at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners hadn’t won any of their past eleven games against Chelsea or Manchester United, so beating their London rivals was a huge boost towards a potential trophy.
After a tense first half, the Gunners took the lead right before the break through a stunner from Alex Song. Chelsea were still shocked by the goal at the start of the second half, and Arsenal took full advantage, with Cesc Fabregas and Theo Walcott combining wonderfully to set each other up for quick fire goals.
At 3 - 0 it looked as though Arsenal could’ve hit Chelsea for five or six, but after Ivanovic restored the deficit to two for the defending champions, Arsenal calmed down and saw out a famous win.
Wenger had set up the Gunners defence perfectly, and after such a long streak without a win over Chelsea or Manchester United, this was a monumental occasion in North London to shift the balance of power in London back towards Arsenal after Chelsea had won the title earlier that year.
Number 5: ARSENAL (6) 5 - 0 (2) PORTO (March 2010)
The Champions League has never quite been the competition for Arsenal, but that hasn’t stopped the Gunners from producing some truly spectacular European performances. One of thse was against Porto in 2010.
Nicolas Bendtner, who was a bit hit and miss in his time at Arsenal, put in his best performance in an Arsenal shirt, helping the Gunners recover from a first leg defeat in Portugal. Just ten minutes into the second leg, Arsenal were level in the tie with Bendtner converting his first from close range. Fifteen minutes later he scored again to put the Gunners ahead in the tie.
Porto put up a good fight, and had a couple of chances each side of the break, but in the second half Arsenal really turned it on, producing two goals in the middle of the half from Samir Nasri and Emmanuel Eboue to kill the tie.
Bendtner scored a late penalty to complete his hat-trick, as Arsenal delivered a performance that well and truly reassembled a top European team who could compete among the very best in European football. The Gunners had never really recovered from the heartbreak against Barcelona in the 2006 final, but this was the first performance since then that looked like the performance of European Champions.
Number 4: ARSENAL 3 - 1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR (October 2022)
Of all the derby wins over Tottenham, the one in October stands out. In fourteen years of hosting Arsenal games, the Emirates has never had a noise like it did that afternoon. From the first minute to the last, the stadium was bouncing, especially when unlikely goalscoreres Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey scored.
Arsenal were (and still are) perfect at home in the 2022/23 season coming into the derby, but Spurs represented the first real test at Emirates Stadium. Title talk was floating around the Emirates, but the main focus remained a place in the top four, something the victory made look a real possibility.
Beating Spurs put the Gunners three points ahead of their rivals, and the day will forever be remembered for one of the best ever North London derby goals, a Thomas Partey rocket from 25 yards that flew past Lloris into the top corner. For years Partey has been taking pot shots for Arsenal from a long way out, and when he lined up the shot, every Arsenal fan was pretty much ready for the goalkick.
But the Ghana midfielder pulled it out of the bag and scored a famous goal to set Arsenal on their way to a famous win.
Gabriel Jesus scored in his first North London Derby, delivering in the big game as Arsenal needed him to. Granit Xhaka later added the third after Emerson Royal had been sent off to cap off a stunning display in the derby, in which Arsenal made Tottenham look like a mid to low table team.
Whilst this isn’t the highest ranking game on the list, it was definitely the loudest the Emirates has ever been (and we’ve had Killers concerts).
Number 3: ARSENAL 2 - 1 BARCELONA (February 2011)
Undoubtedly the greatest European night at Emirates Stadium came on 16th February 2011. Most Arsenal fans not only remember the game, but will tell you exactly where they were when Arshavin hit the late winner.
Not only had Barcelona beaten Arsenal in the 2006 Champions League final in incredibly controversial fashion, but they’d also eliminated the Gunners in 2010 on their way to winning the competition again, and amidst all that they’d stolen Thierry Henry. In 2011, Arsenal showed that they weren’t there to be bullied by Barcelona.
David Villa’s goal had put Barcelona 0 - 1 up at the break, but that wasn’t nearly enough to finish off a spirited Arsenal team. With twelve minutes to go, and after hoards of chances for both sides, Robin Van Persie fired Arsenal level from a seemingly impossible angle. But what came next was the stuff of dreams.
Andrei Arshavin, who scored some of Arsenal’s most iconic goals in his time at the club, steered home a wonderful winner to send the Emirates into delirium. Having watched Manchester United and Liverpool enjoy some incredible European nights in the few years before, it was Arsenal’s turn to boast a huge result in the Champions League. Wenger’s side held out for a brilliant win, beating arguably the best Barcelona team in history.
Number 2: ARSENAL 2 - 1 MANCHESTER UNITED (January 2007)
Manchester United and Arsenal had dominated the Premier League from the late 90s through to the early 2000s. But during Arsenal’s move to Emirates Stadium, Chelsea had entered the fray, winning two titles in 2005 and 2006 under Jose Mourinho. So in 2006/2007, the first season at Emirates Stadium, both teams were desperate to return to the summit of English football.
This game, the first between the sides at the Emirates, had seen Manchester United look set for victory through a Wayne Rooney header. But Arsenal weren’t having any of that. In the 83rd minute, Robin Van Persie converted Tomas Rosicky’s cross, but broke his foot in celebrating his equaliser. So Arsenal had to turn to another striker who knew where the net was.
With just seconds to go, Thierry Henry met Emmanuel Eboue’s cross to crash the ball into the United net, giving Arsenal victory in what was their 200th game against Manchester United.
It was perhaps the last time Thierry Henry took matters into his own hands in a huge game as he’d so often done. Goals against Liverpool in the Easter comeback, against Manchester United on the turn from the edge of the penalty area and of course the winner at the Bernabeu all come to mind, but this was the one time he pulled it off at the Emirates before leaving for Barcelona.
In a game that was so crucial, Arsenal refused to lie down despite looking set to lose to Manchester United just ten minutes from time. Arsene Wenger’s team found that extra gear, and sunk United with some Fergie time or their own.
Before looking at number 1, here are five honourable mentions from the past fourteen years that didn’t quite make the top ten;
Arsenal 1 - 0 Manchester City (2012)
Mikel Arteta scored his best goal for Arsenal to fire the Gunners to an unlikely win over leaders Manchester City. Whilst the impact of the result was huge for the title race, it was a superb win for Arsenal on their way to a strong third place finish.
Arsenal 2 - 1 Wolves (2022)
Having been beaten poorly on several occasions during the COVID years, Arsenal were on a decent run of form at the start of 2022. It looked like it might end with a sloppy loss to Wolves, but a late equaliser from Pepe prefaced a last gasp own goal set up by Alex Lacazette, sparking some of the wildest celebrations the Emirates has ever seen.
Arsenal 3 - 1 Tottenham (2021)
Tottenham had won their first three games and then lost games four and five in the league, whilst Arsenal had done the exact opposite. The Gunners produced a stunning display with goals from academy graduates Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe taking them above their rivals just three weeks after enduring their worst ever start.
Arsenal 3 - 0 Manchester United (2015)
The Gunners blew away Manchester United with three goals in the first twenty minutes. Less than a minute separated the first two goals, scored by Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, before Sanchez added a fantastic second with a glorious strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Arsenal 3 - 0 Chelsea (2016)
Arsenal hammered eventual champions Chelsea with a stunning display in N5. Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil were combining as beautifully as ever, before Theo Walcott rounded off the scoring with a fantastic strike of his own. This was one of only two occasions where Chelsea conceded three goals in the 2016/17 season, and the only game they lost by three goals, such was the quality of Arsenal’s first half display.
Now for the winner…
Number 1: ARSENAL 5 - 2 TOTTENHAM (February 2012)
Arsenal were on the ropes in terms of their 2011/2012 season. Having been thrashed by AC Milan in the Champions League and knocked out of the FA Cup by Sunderland, tensions were high at the Emirates. That wasn’t helped when former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor scored a penalty to put Spurs 0 - 2 up and the fans made their discontent heard.
But in true Arsenal style, the Gunners turned it on against their bitter North London rivals.
With less than ten minutes to go before the half-time, Bacary Sagna delivered an unlikely goal with a header. That got it started. Robin Van Persie won the golden boot in 2012, and the goal he scored in this derby was the best of all 30 that season. The Dutchman hit an outrageous curling shot from the edge of the box into the far corner to draw Arsenal level before the break.
After half-time, Spurs were pummeled. Arsenal quickly broke five minutes into the second half, and after Benayoun was denied, Tomas Rosicky fired in the rebound to put Arsenal ahead. The Emirates erupted. Of all the teams to complete a season-changing comeback against, Arsenal had done it on derby day against Tottenham. And it was far from over for Harry Redknapp’s team.
Theo Walcott, who was booed in the first half, delivered two absolutely clinical finishes, one fired past Friedel emphatically and the other a delicate chip over the American to all but finish Tottenham. After the game, Arsenal were seven points behind their North London rivals, but the astonishing comeback set them on their way not only to finish in the top four, but eclipse Tottenham to third behind the Manchester sides.
PERSONAL NOTE: English football began competitively 160 years ago. From all 160 of those years, this is my favourite photo. I watched this game having seen Arsenal knocked out of the FA Cup by Sunderland and battered in the Champions League by Milan in the previous couple of weeks. At 0 - 2 down Theo Walcott, my favourite Arsenal player, was being booed by our own fans. Then he did this. The coolest man in the stadium to finish off an absolutely unbelievable comeback win over Spurs with a chip over Brad Friedel. Whilst of course every Arsenal fan will have their own special memories, this is the one that tops the lot for me.