Friday, September 18, 2020

On this day in sport: Wenger begins Arsenal goodbye, Jordan´s playoff record

SoccerNews in English Premier League 20 Apr 2020

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Arsene Wenger began his long goodbye at Arsenal on this day in 2018, while April 20 is a day fondly remembered by Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan and racing driver Danica Patrick.

The end of a near 22-year love affair, which admittedly soured a little by the end, was announced by Wenger who revealed the 2017-18 season would be his last with the Gunners.

NBA great Jordan posted an astounding new playoff benchmark, while Patrick earned her own place in history.

Here’s a reflective look at April 20 of yesteryears.

 

2018 – This is Gunner be tough. Wenger prepares for Arsenal goodbye

The news that Wenger was to leave Arsenal after almost 22 years had a certain inevitability about it.

‘Le Professeur’ oversaw one of the most successful periods in the club’s history, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups – including the double in 1998 and 2002, while he was the man in charge of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’, who produced an unbeaten top-flight campaign in 2003-04.

But there was an increasingly growing “Wenger Out” brigade and, with Arsenal set to miss out on Champions League football, there was little surprise when he announced 2017-18 would be his last in charge.

“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. To all the Arsenal lovers, take care of the values of the club,” Wenger said.

2008 – Patrick makes history in Japan

Three years previously, Patrick had made history by becoming the first female to ever lead the historic Indy500 race.

And on April 20, 2008, she etched her name further into the record books by winning the Indy Japan 300 in Montegi, Japan.

It was the first time a female driver had won a race in the IndyCar series.

Patrick was 5.8 seconds clear of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves, with leader Scott Dixon having pitted with five laps to go and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan doing likewise a lap later.

“It’s a long time coming. Finally. It was a fuel-strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn’t believe it. This is fabulous,” said Patrick.

1986 – Jordan’s playoff heroics the best ever game?

The history books show a double-overtime 135-131 defeat for the Chicago Bulls and a 3-0 first-round defeat to the Boston Celtics.

But in one of the NBA’s greatest arenas – the Boston Garden – Jordan, regarded by many as the greatest of all time, put on the performance of a lifetime.

Jordan scored 63 points – a record in a playoff game – to take it to the champions, and saw Larry Bird utter the famous “God disguised as Michael Jordan” assessment.

The Celtics went on to win the Championship that year, but Jordan would become a six-time NBA champion, winning the Finals MVP in each of those successful series with the Bulls.

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