Five of the best Anders Limpar goals for Arsenal

Anders Limpar

1. Manchester United, First Division, 20 October 1990

This match is best remembered as the scene of the ‘Old Trafford brawl’, the infamous scrap between United and Arsenal players which resulted in the deduction of two points from the Gunners. This didn’t stop Arsenal ultimately clinching their second championship title in two years - in fact the challenge and adversity seemed to inspire them.

Arsenal had made an excellent start to the season and were unbeaten. Anders Limpar’s impact had been immediate and he came into this match in great form, with three goals in his previous four games.

Half-time was approaching in a closely fought game when Arsenal were awarded a corner. Paul Davis played it short to Limpar, and the Swede whipped an unexpected shot towards the near post. Les Sealey got both hands to it, but referee Keith Hackett decided the whole ball had crossed the line.These were the days before Alex Ferguson had full control over all refereeing decisions at Old Trafford.

Arsenal held on for a famous win. However no-one was discussing the result, or the goal, by the end of the match.

2. Coventry
, First Division, 3 November 1990

Coventry City must have dreaded the prospect of an Arsenal visit by the early 1990s. On the whole, games between the sides were relatively even, but Arsenal developed a habit of nicking late winners at Highfield Road.

In 1986, Coventry actually went 1-0 up with five minutes to go, and still managed to lose. In 1989, Paul Merson scored a stunning late winner. And in 1991, it was Anders Limpar's turn.

Arsenal were unbeaten in their first ten league games - and top of the table - when they visited Coventry. A closely fought contest was settled late on. Limpar picked up the ball on the right wing with a wall of defenders in front of him. The Super Swede dribbled along the edge of the area and faked to shoot a couple of times, before finally letting fly with an unstoppable left-footed drive.
Limpar still wasn't done. He put the match beyond Coventry with a second goal minutes later, this time with the benefit of a huge deflection.

3. Leeds United
, FA Cup 30 January 1991

Arsenal visited Leeds for an FA Cup fourth round replay, which ended up being the second of a four game epic. The first match at Highbury had ended goalless, but the replay was a bit more eventful. Former Arsenal flop Lee Chapman opened the scoring with his traditional goal against the Gunners, before Limpar equalised with a brilliant goal.

Michael Thomas and Alan Smith combined to find Limpar on the left, but the Swede still had loads to do, being nearer the half way line than the penalty area. Limpar – who had scored twice at Elland road in the 2-2 draw in the league the previous September – drove at the Leeds defence and cut inside, before beating John Lukic with a fine finish.

It took Arsenal another two games to get past Leeds. After another 0-0 at Highbury, the Gunners eventually beat Leeds 2-1 at Elland Road thanks to goals from Lee Dixon and Paul Merson.

4. Liverpool, First Division, 20 April 1992

Before Beckham at Wimbledon, there was Limpar at Highbury.

Arsenal, the defending champions, had a first half of the season to forget, falling out of a title race that was mainly fought between Manchester United and Leeds United. During the second half of the season however, Arsenal put a smile back on the fans' faces, going unbeaten in their last 17 league games.

For some reason, Liverpool adopted an absurdly high defensive line for their visit to Highbury. Ian Wright was brilliant at beating an offside trap and, predictably, he made merry and scored two fine goals on the way to winning that season’s Golden Boot.

David Hillier had opened the scoring and Limpar had already created Wright’s first, with a perfect pass, when the ball came to the Swede around 40 yards from goal. Playing a high line requires the defending side's goalkeeper to be on his toes. Limpar was an extremely intelligent player and had been eyeing up the opportunity all game. This time he went for it. He floated the ball over the totally stranded Mike Hooper and into the net.
As Martin Tyler said in commentary: “Limpar, what’s he trying? That’s one you’ll never forget.”

5. Everton, Premier League 24 October 1992

George Graham’s record in the transfer market, in his early years at Arsenal, was phenomenal. But for an example of the decline in his effectiveness, how about his decision to replace Anders Limpar with Eddie McGoldrick in 1993? To be fair to Graham, Limpar’s form had declined, in part due to injury. Limpar’s last goal for Arsenal came more than a year before he eventually left the club.

Limpar was on as substitute for the injured Ian Wright - who had opened the scoring. After a good spell of possession in midfield, Paul Merson found Limpar with a neat through ball. Limpar’s change of direction on receiving the ball was subtle, but enough to deceive the defender and give him the space to fire the ball past Neville Southall.

It was certainly not as spectacular as some of his other efforts, but, almost unbelievably, less than two years after George Graham had called Limpar “the most exciting player in the English league”, he had scored his last goal for Arsenal.

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