In the fourth edition of our Classic Match series, we delve into the archives once more to relive a memorable encounter with tonight’s visitors to The London Stadium, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal.

Cast your minds back to the torrid autumn of 2006, “Star Girl” by McFly was the British Music Chart No1 and the 21st in the James Bond Film series was about to be released in The United Kingdom, “Casino Royal”, Daniel Craig’s debut in the role.

Meanwhile, in the world of The Premier League, The Hammers, under Alan Pardew, had endured an underwhelming start to a second season back in The Top-Flight after Promotion via The Play-Offs in 2005.

Off the back of a rare but important home win over Blackburn Rovers, The Irons sat 19th as they welcomed the fearsome Arsenal to The Boleyn Ground for a feisty matchup.

The Gunners, just two years after their remarkable invincible’s season of 2003/2004, had been victorious in five of their last six games, firmly instigating themselves in the top four, but only managing an Emirates Stadium draw with Everton last time out.

The clash was to be played out on Guy Fawkes Day 2005, a chilly Saturday afternoon in East London at a traditional kick-off time of 3 PM, Upton Park was full to the brim.

At the announcing of the two teams, the danger men were clear to spot in both sides, the likes of Yossi Benayoun and Matt Etherington for the home side, while such stars as Robin van Persie and French great Thierry Henry led the line for the visitors.

The game that would follow led the away side down a path of frustration much to the delight of The Claret & Blue Army.

Try as they might, The North Londoners just couldn’t find a breakthrough, the likes of Tomas Rosicky, van Persie and Henry all coming close, and Alexander Hleb having a penalty appeal turned down by Referee Rob Styles.

All of this was down to, in part, a superb Hammers defensive showing with the backline of Jonathan Spector, Anton Ferdinand, who was replaced by George McCartney in the first-half, Danny Gabbidon and Paul Konchesky holding out well.


They were complemented by an admirable showing by Rob Green between the sticks as he was forced to pull off a number of excellent saves, most notably denying a powerful van Persie volley.

Meanwhile, the home side also couldn’t make the most of attacking opportunities, substitute Teddy Sheringham and Marlon Harewood the main culprits, but this would all change on 88 minutes.

Etherington, exchanging passes with the veteran Sheringham, was able to launch a delicious ball into the area, this met was by the outstretched leg of Harewood the Englishman as he stroked the ball past a stunned Jens Lehmann.

The goal sent on-watching Hammers delirious, as well as sparking one of the most famous touchline feuds in Premier League history.

Unhappy with the way that Pardew was celebrating the late winner, Wenger, in his tenth season in England, confronted him and the pair clashed, having to be separated by a ruck of bodies.

But, the West Ham United Boss didn’t care, he had just delivered a pivotal three points that took his team up as far as 15th, out of immediate danger.

Pardew would be sacked a month later, after losing three of the next four games, although the East Londoners did manage to stay up in the end under Alan Curbishley, a feat that was dubbed “The Great Escape”.

Meanwhile, The Gunners’ landmark first campaign at The Emirates wouldn’t quite pan it the way they would have hoped, finishing fourth in The League and losing out to Chelsea in The League Cup Final, their only real achievement.

But, can they take London bragging rights tonight in Stratford? Stay right where you are to find out with our Live Blog of The Premier League clash, live and exclusive from London Stadium Press Box.

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