Arsenal Nostalgia – Nwankwo Kanu’s heroic hat-trick at Chelsea, 1999/00

This is a throwback to when Nwankwo Kanu scored a fantastic hat-trick away to Chelsea on 23rd October 1999.

There had been a torrential downpour on the day of the game and had left many areas of the pitch completely saturated. Puddles had even formed in small patches of the pitch, making it difficult for the ball to be passed along the floor with any great efficiency.

Chelsea scored either side of half time to give them a commanding lead. The Arsenal fans, housed in the lower tier of the East Stand at Stamford Bridge watched on in dismay as first Tore-Andre Flo and then Dan Petrescu scored giving Chelsea a commanding lead.

Enter Nwankwo Kanu!

23 Oct 1999: Nwankwo Kanu of Arsenal scores a dramatic 90th minute winning goal from an acute angle during the FA Carling Premier League match against Chelsea played at Stamford Bridge, London. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY GRAHAM CHADWICK/ALLSPORT.

The lanky Nigerian hadn’t given up on the game and went on a personal crusade to turn the match on its head, firing in a hat-trick in the final quarter of an hour to give The Gunners all three points.

His first came on 75 minutes. Marc Overmars took a pot shot at goal from 25 yards, but Kanu got in the way of it. He had enough time to turn before toe-poking a low shot past Chelsea goalkeeper Ed de Goey.

Eight minutes later, Kanu got Arsenal on level terms. He got on the end of a low cross on the right that had evaded Chelsea’s midfielder Gustavo Poyet. His hefty touch took the ball between Poyet and Marcel Desailly as he powered the ball past de Goey at his near post.

His third and final goal of the afternoon was quite simply unbelievable. It all started when he raced out wide on the left and charged down an attempted clearance by the Chelsea right back. The ball skidded off the sodden Stamford Bridge turf and stayed on the field of play.

Nwankwo Kanu celebrates his goal against Chelsea as his hattrick won the Arsenal the game. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY JON BUCKLE/EMPICS VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Inexplicably, Ed de Goey chased out of his penalty area to get to the ball and slid in to tackle Kanu. A simple side-step was required to evade the Dutch goalkeeper’s lunge, but Kanu still had a lot of work to do.

Davor Suker and Marc Overmars waved to the Nigerian from the edge of the box, urging for him to lay the ball back for them. This would have been the simpler option, but Kanu had other ideas. From an almost-impossible angle about two yards off the goal-line and the edge of the penalty area, Chelsea’s Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf blocked his path to goal.

With a curling effort, he managed to get the ball around both World Cup winners and into the back of the net.

It was a quite sensational hat-trick that gave Arsenal all three points.

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