Arsenal’s XI When They Beat Real Madrid At The Bernabau Was Outrageous

Famous European nights have been few and far between for Arsenal in recent years. Unless you count constant maulings by Bayern Munich and Barcelona as ‘famous’. Which we’d rather not, to be fair.

But today celebrates the 13th anniversary of one of the Gunners most historic nights on the continent.

Coming during the incredible run to the 2006 Champions League final, Arsenal’s visit to the Bernabeu to face Real Madrid in the round of 16 was not expected by many to yield a positive outcome.

Los Blancos had never lost to an English side on home soil in their history and could boast a squad containing Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Raul, Roberto Carlos, Sergio Ramos, Iker Casillas and, erm, Thomas Gravesen and Jonathan Woodgate.

However, that night the Gunners turned expectations on their head and made history, with a single, solo effort from Thierry Henry (who else?) settling the game and, it would turn out, the tie, with Arsenal advancing to the quarter-finals, where they would dispatch Juventus 2-0 on aggregate.

Villarreal would be narrowly dealt with in the semi-finals before a legendary Henrik Larsson cameo from the substitutes bench inspired Barcelona to a 2-1 victory in the final in Paris.

What is more amazing than the Gunners victory in the Bernabeu, however, is the fact they did so with such an untrustworthy looking defence.

Of course, going forward the likes of Henry, Jose Antonio Reyes, Freddie Ljugberg and a young Cesc Fabregas were always likely to cause Real a few problems, but consider that Arsene Wenger lined up his defence with Philippe Senderos, Emmanuel Eboue and MATHIEU FLAMINI AT LEFT-BACK and you can only scratch your head and wonder how on Earth the Gunners survived the first-leg with their lead in tact.

Just take into account the fact there’s no Ashley Cole, Lauren or Sol Campbell in that starting defence, with no Dennis Bergkamp or Robert Pires further forward either and it really brings home just what an outstanding achievement that victory was.