Dennis Bergkamp may have made a famously slow start to his spell at Arsenal, but there was to be no stopping the Dutch maestro once he was up and running in north London. There is now a statue of him outside Emirates Stadium, with the classiest of playmakers helping to transform the Premier League with his own brand of magic dust.
He registered 120 goals for the Gunners in total, helping them to three title triumphs and four FA Cup successes, with many memorable strikes included on a glittering CV. One of those came against Newcastle on March 2, 2002, with GOAL turning the clock back to cast an eye over that stunning strike…
Watch: The story of Dennis Bergkampb s remarkable goals vs NewcastleHow did Dennis Bergkamp score stunning goal vs Newcastle?
That is the question that many of those at St Jamesb Park, and watching on from afar, found themselves asking themselves after witnessing a remarkable effort that appeared to defy logic.
There were just 11 minutes on the clock in the North East when Patrick Vieira fed the ball into a talismanic No.10.
Bergkamp quickly moved it on to Robert Pires on the left wing, with the World Cup-winning Frenchman then spotting a dart towards the penalty area from his Dutch colleague.
A pass was pinged towards the edge of the box, where the Netherlands international had his back to goal and Nikos Dabizas in close attendance.
Rather than take possession, shield the ball and look to bring others into play, Bergkamp produced a nonchalant flick with his left boot and pirouetted around his marker.
With an impressive show of strength then displayed to hold off his man, Bergkamp retrieved the ball ahead of Dabizasb desperate lunge and calmly slotted beyond the outstretched leg of Magpies goalkeeper Shay Given.
It was a blink-and-youb ll-miss-it moment, with members of the home and away support both left rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger told reporters afterwards: b You will not see many goals like that, it was an unbelievable goal. You are blessed to see that when you come to a stadium.b
Bergkamp, in a bid to explain what happened, said: b The quickest way to go towards the ball was turning that wayb & so it looked a bit special or strange or nice, but that was for me the only option and the quickest way towards the ball and towards the goal.
b The finish was just to try and get it past the goalkeeper in such a way that he canb t reach it. The whole move was probably inch-perfect. It could have gone completely wrong but that time it worked.b
Bergkamp went on to assist Arsenalb s second of the game with a pinpoint free-kick that picked out Sol Campbell, with the Gunners ending the 2001-02 campaign as double winners b with their Premier League title triumph confirmed against arch-rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in May.
Did Dennis Bergkamp mean his iconic goal for Arsenal vs Newcastle?Getty
Sitting comfortably alongside the questions of how Bergkamp was able to pull off a moment of individual brilliance was a debate regarding whether he meant for things to play out exactly as they did.
Did he have a picture in his mind of what was about to unfold when Pires played the ball into him or did he get a tad fortunate as everything fell perfectly into place?
Bergkamp has told FourFourTwo when quizzed on whether he meant his remarkable effort: b The week after that goal, b Did you really mean it?b was the question everyone was asking me.
b I couldnb t understand what people meant by the question. I didnb t see the goal on television for several days, and so many people were asking me that I thought, b OK, I have to see what they sawb .
b I watched it back, and then I could understand what they meant. The pass from Pires was slightly behind me and I was adjusting myself to the situation, because I wanted to go through on goal with one touch. I touched the ball, but my body was already turning the other way, so it looked quite good!
b For many goals, players just decide at the last moment what theyb re going to do. That was the same with me. Ib m glad it looked like that, and that everyone is still talking about it today.b
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, who formed part of the Newcastle team lining up against Bergkamp that day, told the Match of the Day: Top 10 podcast when picking out the best goals of the Premier League era: b No-one has ever scored a goal like that and I don\’t think anyone will ever score it again. He absolutely meant it, the touch, the technique and the finish was exceptional.b
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