By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Super Eagles captain Nwankwo Kanu has been remembered fondly by Arsenal for one of his memorable goals for the English Premier League club who travel to Riverside on Monday night to face Middlesbrough, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The club’s website on Sunday asked their fans to vote for Arsenal’s best goal against Middlesbrough in their 14 meetings in the Premier League era with Kanu’s beautiful goal in contention against other goals by Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Gilberto and Nicolas Anelka against Boro.
On April 24, 1999, the Gunners travelled to Middlebrough for a league game and claimed a 6-1 rout over their hosts.Kanu scored his second in the massive win with a typically sublime piece of skill which was rated the 26th greatest goal in the history of the club.
The lanky frontman had a hand in the build-up to the goal. Kanu laid a good pass to Marc Overmars halfway inside the Boro half. After a neat interchange with Ray Parlour, the Dutchman whipped a low cross towards Kanu in the centre.
Despite the close attentions of a Boro defender, Kanu let the ball run between his legs and sent a cute backheel across Mark Schwarzer into the bottom corner. Overmars, Nicolas Anelka and Patrick Viera were also on target in the game.
‘Papilo’ became very popular among the Gunners fans for his two-fingered salute as he celebrated the goal – something that he later explained was based on the team’s nickname, The Gunners.
Kanu made 198 apearances for Arsenal, scoring 44 goals between 1999 and 2004 (104 starts, 94 as a substitute) winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cup medals.
Kanu’s most remarkable goals in an Arsenal shirt were arguably the hat-trick against Chelsea in an amazing three-goal comeback on October 23, 1999 which English tabloid Daily Mail rated top of English Premier League’s top 10 hat-tricks.
Ahead of Monday’s game, Arsenal have conceded at least three goals in their last four away matches and have lost their last four away matches in the Premier League for the first time since April 1995.
Boro held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture earlier in the season but have not found the back of the net against the Gunners in any of their last three meetings.