2006-04-15

Bergkamp still in Arsenal hearts

We can say that the game was what it was intended to be: Dennis Bergkamp’s Day. Coming on as a substitute in the 72nd minute, the illustrious Dutchman almost immediately saw West Bromwich Albion score a potentially devastating equaliser. Yet three minutes after that it was Bergkamp who hooked the ball back across the Albion goal, enabling Frenchman Robert Pires, to score.

And then Bergkamp scored. On 89 minutes, receiving from Emmanuel Eboue, Dennis calmly and irresistibly slammed a right-footed shot wide of Tomasz Kuszczak in the Albion goal to secure maximum points for the Gunners.

“I really think it was disrespectful,” declared his manager Arsène Wenger afterwards, “to say to Dennis, you came on because it was your day. I felt we needed his vision. We needed somebody because Van Persie looked tired and Hleb looked tired.”

It's important to mention that Bergkamp will retire this summer and Arsenal may find him irreplaceable. Time after time, whether playing up front, never his favourite role, or just behind the striker, he has shown himself, in the old Italian phrase, “capable of inventing the game”. And we know it.

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