Arsenal 4-2 AC Milan: Kanu hits hat-trick in legends’ rematch

Arsenal 4-2 AC Milan: Kanu hits hat-trick in legends’ rematch
September 04 13:01 2016

Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires rolled back the years as they pulled on the red shirt of Arsenal again to see off Milan Glorie.

The Invincibles pair – 39 and 42 respectively – combined for Arsenal’s fourth goal and produced trademark one-touch football, the type that would give modern Premier League footballers a run for their money. They hadn’t lost it.

Neither had Kanu, the 40-year-old forward filling in for Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp. The Gunners greats were unable to take part in this match against Milan but, in their absence, Kanu got three goals for Arsene Wenger’s side.

‘Arsene, sign him up, Arsene, Arsene, sign him up,’ the supporters sang about the hat-trick hero, who had predicted he would score three goals beforehand.

The fourth goal was one made in 2003-04. A cross by Ljungberg on the right wing found Pires who, once again wearing the No 7 shirt, put it away.

Yet it was not all about those at the front because at the back was David Seaman.

There was no ponytail or moustache but the talent was still there, as he repeatedly proved against a Milan team that included Cafu and Paolo Di Canio and managed by Fabio Capello.

As well as the players, Howard Webb was still sharp too. The former World Cup final referee counted 12 men in the red of Arsenal before kick-off – because Kanu thought that he was starting.

He wasn’t and the forward had to be marched off, much to Arsenal manager Wenger’s amusement on the substitutes’ bench.

Arsenal’s first glimpse of goal came courtesy of Ray Parlour after less than five minutes.

The 43-year-old tried to recreate his 2002 FA Cup final goal from 30 yards against Chelsea. Instead he got closer to the corner flag, and injured himself in doing so as he was substituted.

The football from Arsenal was exquisite at times, with Ljungberg and Pires – winners of two Premier League titles and three FA Cups together – at the heart of it all.

Then, Kanu got what he wanted, as he came on for Gilberto in the 25th minute and took no time to score the opener.

A cross by Emmanuel Petit found the former Nigeria international, whose header beat Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Minutes later, he was inches away from making it 2-0.

Paolo Di Canio turned out for Milan and he and Arsenal’s Nigel Winterburn had something up their sleeves.

Kanu then made sure Milan were as good as done. He got a second goal with a diving header before dispatching a penalty for his third after Pires was fouled inside the area.

Pires wanted his own goal and got it when Ljungberg found him for a tap-in.

A penalty for Milan allowed them to complete the 4-2 scoreline. Jens Lehmann, having replaced Seaman at half-time, produced a superb save to deny Vieri but could not keep out the rebound.

Amid the legends on show and the half-and-half scarves, it was easy to forget what today was actually about.

After this the Arsenal Foundation will donate £1million to build football pitches for children in London, Jordan and Somalia. It was a day for fans to remember as, just like old times, Arsenal’s stars stole the show.

 

Daily Mail UK