The early 2000s became the era of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, and Thiery Henry. Under the cold hands of Wenger and the sharpness of Henry, Arsenal managed to grab the primary league title, FA Cup and Community Shield.
Arsenal had many unforgettable moments during their ‘Invincibles’ season in 2003/04, but there were only a few stunning performances like their victory against Inter Milan at the Stadio Giuseppe Meaza.
In European Champions League 2003/04 season, Arsenal joined the group B with Inter Milan, Lokomotiv Moscow, and Dinamo Kyiv. The trip to Giuseppe Meaza in the last week of November 2003 was their fifth matchday in the group phase.
When Arsenal players lined the aisles of the Giuseppe Meaza stadium, they contemplated on a bad start to their Champions League campaign. Towards the kick-off, Arsenal only armed with four points from four matches.
Inter Milan destroyed them when they won 3-0 in the first match that took place at Highbury. Arsenal then drew in the Russian capital against Lokomotiv Moscow, before losing 2-1 to Dynamo Kyiv.
Luckily in the fourth game, they struggled to beat Dynamo Kyiv with a thin score 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ashley Cole. On the other hand, Inter had already collected 7 points from two wins, one draw and one defeat.
Something special was needed on the fifth matchday to change the mood of the Arsenal players. At that time, Arsene Wenger performed his best squad, including Henry and Robert Pirez. Since they should win the match, Arsenal started swiftly, but Inter soon gained control of the match.
Marco Materazzi almost scored a free-kick, while Obafemi Martins began terrorizing Arsenal defender, Pascal Cygan. Arsenal’s first magic began to appear when the game entered the 25th minute. The collaboration of Robert Piresoration, Ashley Cole and Henry was completed perfectly by Henry.
Eight minutes later, Inter responded by kicking Christian Viery, when the ball that had hit the foot of Sol Campbell failed to reach Jens Lehmann.
A balanced position lasted until halftime, while in the dressing room Arsene Wenger encouraged the players since three points became very valuable at that time. Entering the second round, they struggled to get the score.
It only took four minutes for Henry to be once again, a frightening specter for the Inter defense. Moving on to the left side, this French striker stabbed into the penalty box through an impressive skill. Henry then deceived two Inter defenders before sending a pass to Freddie Ljungberg who was free-standing in front. Ljungberg did not waste the opportunity to break into Toldo’s goal. The London cannon was again in the lead.
The game continued. Both teams attacked each other but, with time eroded, Arsenal increasingly crazes, three goals in the last five minutes seemed to have destroyed the entire Giuseppe Meaza stadium.
Arsenal’s third goal was created by Henry, starting from a failed Inter corner. This London cannon then launched a quick counterattack. Ray Paylor who headed the ball towards Henry from the middle of the field. This bald man accelerated quickly into the penalty box which at that time was only guarded by Zanetti.
With fantastic skills, Henry then made a fake move and thrusting a deadly left kick into the far post that was unavoided by Francesco Toldo.
Henry then celebrated the goal by running towards the corner of the field and sliding on the grass with both feet. The cheers of Arsenal supporters accompanied him at that time.
Three minutes later, Arsenal changed the score to 4-1 where Henry again played an important role. His flat kick to the penalty box failed to be received by Ljungberg who was then facing Toldo, but the ball was then successfully welcomed by Edu who was without escort and stroke the ball into the goal.
Arsenal completed the evening’s perfection through a fifth goal created by Robert Pires in the 89th minute. After getting the ball from Jérémie Aliadière, the player who replaced Henry a minute earlier, Pires managed to create a goal for Arsenal.
5-1 victory for Arsenal also lasted until the long whistle sounded by the Referee.
At the end of the match, Henry got the title as the best player thanks to his two goals and a pair of assists. That night was certainly a perfect night for Henry and Arsenal and a bad night for Inter and his supporters.
Arsenal then managed to ensure themselves qualify for the knockout phase after the last matchday 2-0 win over Lokomotiv Moscow. With 10 points they finished as Group winners who defeated Inter in third, despite having the same point of 8 but Inter lost productivity goals from Lokomotiv Moscow which made it fail to qualify.
Meanwhile, Arsenal in the league championship that season stopped in the quarter-finals, losing to fellow London team, Chelsea. Even so, they continued that season perfectly when they won the premier league without defeat.