Arsenal Hero Nwankwo Kanu Relives Chelsea Hat-trick And Last-minute Wonder Goal From Unforgettable 1999 Clash

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MARTIN TYLER’S immortal words summed up perfectly one of the maddest final 15 minutes of any Premier League game.

Chelsea had not even conceded a goal in the league at Stamford Bridge — let alone lost — by the time Arsenal crossed town in late October 1999.

Times Newspapers Ltd Nwankwo Kanu scored a screamer for Arsenal

But they were undone in the most spectacular fashion by the genius of Kanu, whose hat-trick saw the Gunners come from behind to sneak a 3-2 win.

Commentator Tyler delivered the  unforgettable line: “Kanu believe it?”

The pair were fierce rivals with title ambitions. The Gunners had been  runners-up to Manchester United the  previous season, with Chelsea third.

And everything was going to plan for Gianluca Vialli’s side as they went 2-0 up via headers from Tore Andre Flo and Dan Petrescu either side of half-time. All looked lost for Arsene Wenger’s men until Kanu wrote himself into football folklore with an unforgettable hat-trick in the last quarter-of-an-hour.

News Group Newspapers Ltd Nwankwo Kanu scored from an impossible looking angle

Times Newspapers Ltd Kanu’s hat-trick saw the Gunners come from behind to sneak a 3-2 win

Times Newspapers Ltd Kanu’s third the most memorable and secured him cult status

His first was a clever toe-poke on 75 minutes. The second came eight minutes later with a fine finish past Ed de Goey.

But it is his third, a 90th-minute goal out of nothing, that is the most  memorable and secured him cult status  at Highbury.

Kanu chased down a poor Davor Suker pass and dummied De Goey before brilliantly firing in from the touchline.

The Nigerian said: “Chelsea hadn’t lost a game at the Bridge that season and we knew that.

“We knew it was going to be difficult for us with the strength of their team.

“The game didn’t start very well for Arsenal. They scored a first goal and at that point I was like ‘Poo, what’s going on here?’ We went in at half-time and every player was like ‘This is not us, what is going on?’ ”

Mark Tattersall Nwankwo Kanu met with SunSport reporter Tom Barclay

 

Wenger, who had won the Double in 1998 in his first full season as Gunners boss, gave a team talk but refused to rant.

Kanu said: “Arsene said to go out and enjoy ourselves.

“He didn’t get angry. That’s a part of him that people don’t really appreciate. I don’t think I’ve seen him put a lot of pressure on players.

“Some coaches are like that, they keep shouting, but he didn’t do that.”

Arsenal fell further behind when  Petrescu scored but then the great  comeback began.

Kanu said: “I got the first goal. I knew the surface was slippery and when I saw that space I had to do what I had to do.

News Group Newspapers Ltd Nigeria star Kanu scored three for the Gunners

News Group Newspapers Ltd Kanu helped Arsenal come back from two goals down

“When you use the toe to hit the ball, it moves faster than when you side-foot it. So I had a chance and I did it.

“For the second goal, there was a cross on the ground and I took it with a good first touch. Thierry Henry was really helpful because he blocked off Marcel Desailly so he couldn’t reach me.

“I had to shoot from that range and even the keeper was not expecting it.

“When it went to 2-2, I was like ‘Phew, OK’ and the Arsenal fans were up for it then.

“They were shouting but nobody was expecting us to win — 2-2 was OK, a draw at Stamford Bridge? We can go home with that.

“But then there was a loose pass from Suker which was meant for me but he didn’t put it where I wanted it.

“I had to chase the ball and then the defender wanted to kick it out so I had to block it off.”

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