Following a strong start to the 1997/98 for Martin O’Neill’s Leicester City side, which had included wins against Aston Villa and Liverpool as well as a well-earned 1-1 draw at Old Trafford to reigning champions Manchester United, Arsenal would be the next test for the Foxes.
The visitors were also unbeaten heading into the fixture at Filbert Street with seven points from three games and under Arsene Wenger boasted an array of talent including Patrick Viera, Ray Parlour, David Seaman and many more.
It looked to be the Gunners’ day after Dennis Bergkamp and Arsenal’s third of the game arrived in stoppage time, however Leicester had other ideas and produced one of the most dramatic comebacks imaginable.
Bergkamp breaks the deadlock
Despite a bright start for the home side, who went close through Steve Claridge and a young Emile Heskey, it was the away side who would strike first.
Regarded as one of the most gifted talents in the late 1990s, Dutch striker Dennis Bergkamp didn’t take long to announce his arrival in the East Midlands.
With just nine minutes on the clock Bergkamp was able fire past helpless Leicester goalkeeper Kasey Keller, controlling the ball to allow him to open up his body and unleash a curling shot into the top right-hand corner of the net.
Arsenal double advantage but Leicester fight back
With the North Londoners well on top for large periods of the first-half, it was only going to be so long before they found a way through the Leicester backline.
After the clock had just gone past the 60-minute mark, English midfielder Ray Parlour spearheaded an Arsenal attack as he raced through the midfield to find Patrick Viera whose first-time cross found the feet of Bergkamp.
The Netherlands international only needed one touch before flicking the ball past the on-rushing Keller to put Arsenal well in control.
Foxes boss O’Neill had seen enough and promptly made two changes including the introduction of Garry Parker who helped spark Leicester’s revival as his cross caused confusion amongst the Arsenal defence, allowing the 19-year-old Heskey to tap home into an empty net and reduce the deficit to just one.
Stoppage Time Madness
Heskey’s goal six minutes from time had sparked real life back into the East Midlanders and with the roar of the Filbert Street crowd behind them the Foxes were duly rewarded for their valiant efforts with a 90th minute goal from Matt Elliott.
A flick-on from a desperate ball into the Arsenal defensive third found its way to the centre-back, who found time on the edge of the box to shift the ball onto his right foot and strike a low-driven shot into the bottom corner to send the stands into pandemonium.
Arsenal however were not ones to give up and cheers were soon met with sudden silence after Bergkamp secured his hat-trick and what looked to be the winner in the classiest of styles.
At first what looked to be a rash attempt to get the ball forward, Bergkamp was able to control David Pleat’s hopeful punt in the air with his right foot before flicking the ball past the goalscorer of Leicester second Elliott with his left to then compose himself with one final touch, then slot past Keller to the shock of the crowd.
The goal itself was worthy of winning any game and would be the type of finish Bergkamp would produce many more times throughout his career – however it wouldn’t be the winner in this game as Leicester won a corner in the dying moments.
Substitute Parker’s ball into the box found the head of Steve Walsh, who played an intuitive one-two with Spencer Prior before nodding the header past Seaman to turn agony into ecstasy once more for the Leicester faithful.
The draw, which provided twists and turns from minute one would go on to be renowned as one of the greatest games in Premier League history, with magazine publication FourFourTwo ranking it as the eighth greatest post 1992 top-flight game of all time.