A strong start to their league campaign, with one defeat in their first 12 matches saw Arsenal begin November in first spot. "Wenger's rude introduction to English game", "English Premier League table, 28-10-1996", "Arsenal exploit their stroke of good fortune", "English Premier League table, 26-02-1997", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1996–97_Arsenal_F.C._season&oldid=977652529, Short description with empty Wikidata description, Pages using football kit with incorrect pattern parameters, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 10 September 2020, at 04:12. The 1996–97 season was the 99th season of competitive football played by Arsenal. Back-to-back draws against Leeds United and Tottenham Hotspur, was followed by defeat to Manchester United.  In the match, Wright put Arsenal into the lead through a penalty, but after 57 minutes, Sol Campbell headed on a long throw for Tottenham and the ball fell to Andy Sinton, whose shot "cannoned off the inside of the near post, then hit Lukic on the head and rebounded into the net".  The result prompted Wenger to rule out any chance of winning the league: "The best team [Manchester United] has won. " Attention soon turned to the North London derby, where Arsenal faced Tottenham Hotspur on 24 November 1996. Arsenal, without Seaman, Adams, Dixon and Vieira, succumbed to a 2–1 defeat, following the dismissal of Wright. Midfielders Rémi Garde and Patrick Vieira were purchased from RC Strasbourg and Milan respectively. In Europe, the club were eliminated in the UEFA Cup first round to Borussia Mönchengladbach of Germany.  Arsenal won the replay by five goals to two, but exited the cup in the fourth round against league rivals Liverpool – the result marked the first time in four years that Arsenal had conceded four goals.  Hughes increased the team's lead on the hour mark, by heading the ball in at the far post; it was his first goal at senior level. A run of two draws and losses in February was more severe, as it moved Arsenal down to fourth spot.  October concluded with a home fixture against Leeds United; a 3–0 win for Arsenal marked defeat for former manager George Graham, who made his managerial return to Highbury. The match had ramifications in the league: a win potentially placed Arsenal in a position to move into first spot, if other results went in their favour. " On New Year's Day, Wright scored his 200th English league goal in Arsenal's 2–0 win against Middlesbrough; he began a three-game suspension thereafter, because of his red card against Nottingham Forest.  The game marked the debut of Patrick Vieira, who came on as a substitute for Ray Parlour.  The team responded with a 2–0 win at Leicester City in a game where Wright started as a substitute but scored the decisive goal.  An own goal by Nigel Winterburn against Manchester United ended the champions run of three matches without a win and extended a barren run of Arsenal failing to score at Old Trafford since the creation of the Premier League. , Together with the other clubs playing in European competitions, Arsenal entered the Football League Cup in the third round. At Upton Park , the team recorded their sixth victory in seven visits to West Ham and moved second, behind "the … Arsenal had not beaten their neighbours in over three years and Tottenham were unbeaten at Highbury since September 1991. Read about Arsenal v Liverpool in the Premier League 1997/98 season, including lineups, stats and live blogs, on the official website of the Premier League. Arsenal used a total of 28 players during the 1996–97 season and there were 12 different goalscorers. , A week before the start of the league season, Arsenal sacked manager Rioch and cited the decision was in the "best long-term interest of the club".  At Upton Park, the team recorded their sixth victory in seven visits to West Ham and moved second, behind "the advancing Manchester United".  West Ham conceded a penalty in the second half when Marc Rieper handled Lee Dixon's cross; Bergkamp, in the absence of designated penalty taker Wright, struck the ball low to Luděk Mikloško's right, to score the team's second goal.  This did not keep Monchengladbach quiet, for it was they who scored the opening goal, through Juskowiak.  Arsenal ended their league campaign against Derby County, who staged their final match at the Baseball Ground.  It was anticipated "by the game's conventions", Blackburn should have thrown the ball back unchallenged, but striker Chris Sutton forced a corner. In spite of winning by three goals to one, having played with ten men for the majority of the game, they missed out on second by goal difference to Newcastle. Two goals, both scored by Wright extended Arsenal's winning league run to four matches and helped consolidate their position. Add to Watchlist. A win on the final day against Derby County meant the club finished third, level on points with Newcastle and Liverpool.  A 3–3 draw with Chelsea in the first week of September was described as "outstanding" by Houston after the team had recovered from a two-goal half-time deficit. The highest scorer was Wright, with 30 goals, followed by Bergkamp who scored 14 goals.  Wenger described Bould's dismissal for a second bookable offence as "hard", before congratulating his opponents: "Liverpool are the best team we have played against since I've been at Arsenal.  The player received the ball from Merson and with the Sunderland defence closing in, twice dragged the ball with his studs, before curling it beyond goalkeeper Lionel Pérez' reach.  Houston put his name forward for the job, but upon being told that he would not be considered, resigned to take over as manager of Division One side Queens Park Rangers, leaving Rice as the team's second caretaker manager of the season.
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