Saturday, January 1, 2011

Birmingham City vs Arsenal 17:30 GMT

Arsenal :may have been off the pace in the inaugural Premier League season in 1992/93, but they made up for it by winning both the FA and League Cups.
The Premier League crown eluded them until 1998 - two years into manager Arsene Wenger's tenure - when they did the league and FA Cup double. Under the Frenchman, the Gunners shook off their "boring" image and began to play some of the most attractive football in England.
In eight of his 14 seasons at the club, Arsenal have finished first or second. And together with star players such as Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp, Wenger took Arsenal to another "double" in 2002.
The Gunners reached the Champions' League final in 2006, becoming the first London team to do so, but lost to Barcelona. Their Barclaycard Premiership title in 2003/04 saw them become only the second team to win the league without losing a match - earning them the title "The Invincibles." Overall they went 49 matches unbeaten, which is a national record.
Birmgham City: inexploded onto the Barclaycard Premiership stage in 2002. Having suffered play-off heartbreak in the previous three seasons, they won the play-offs under former manager Steve Bruce and seemed determined to make up for lost time.
In their first season, they finished a highly creditable 13th and did the double over arch rivals Aston Villa. Another mid-table finish in 2004/05 was followed by relegation a year later and a mass clear-out in an effort to reduce the wage bill.
But Birmingham bounced straight back up in the 2006/07 season, clinching automatic promotion as Championship runners-up. They became the first senior club in English history to postpone a match because their newly-laid pitch wasn't ready. The Blues have the dubious honour of playing on what was originally the spare pitch for the new Wembley.
After suffering the heartbreak of relegation on the last day on the 2007/08 season, Alex McLeish's side bounced back at the first time of asking, winning promotion back to the Barclays Premier League by finishing the 2008/09 season as Championship runners-up.
An impressive first season back in the top flight in 2009/10 saw the Blues finish ninth, their best season in the Barclays Premier League.

Club Heritage

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