Match of Their Day: Ian Wright picks his classic games

Tim Daniels Soccer

Match Of Their Day: Ian Ian Wright relives the game that changed his life

Cup finals and title-winning runs are the highlights of most successful footballers’ careers.

Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright clearly thought that way as well when he selected his classic games for Match of Their Day.

Wright made over 500 club appearances, with the majority at Crystal Palace (225) and Arsenal (221), although he also had spells at West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley.

The forward scored 239 senior goals, winning the Premier League and two FA Cups with Arsenal, and claiming the First Division golden boot in 1991-92.

He also won 33 caps for his country and is now a regular BBC presenter and pundit on TV and radio.

Here are Wright’s three classic matches, with one of those having to be one he did not play in.

Crystal Palace 3-3 Manchester United

FA Cup final, 12 May 1990

Wright takes on Steve Bruce in the 1990 FA Cup final

Wright had missed the semi-final with a broken leg, but he recovered just in time to be named in the Palace squad for the final against Manchester United.

The striker was only fit enough to make the bench, but came on in the second half and scored twice as the sides drew 3-3, before United won 1-0 in the replay five days later.

Wright: “I always wanted to play in the cup final. It was a real dream, fairytale stuff. I’d been out for eight weeks and my rehab had me being OK to play literally on the day of the final. We were underdogs and I was devastated I wasn’t starting.

“All I thought when I went on was ‘I don’t care where I am when I get the ball, I’m having a shot – I’ve got to do something in the FA Cup final’.

“My whole life was leading to that moment. When my first goal went in the emotion flooded right up from my boots and my face went red hot. I was contorted. The only thing that snapped me out of the emotion and crying was when everyone bundled on top of me, because I don’t like bundles!

“When we kicked off again after scoring my second I was thinking ‘I’ve scored twice, I’m going to be a hero’. But we missed our chance and in the replay we couldn’t deal with it.

“But when I left the stadium after that first game people knew me, they were coming up to me in the streets, I was kissing babies. It was unbelievable.

“It became so evident to me that something had changed in my life.”

Arsenal 3-2 Manchester United

9 November 1997

Nicolas Anelka had a major impact for Arsenal after joining from Paris St-Germain, including a fine goal against Manchester United

Arsene Wenger’s side welcomed Sir Alex Ferguson’s champions to Highbury in a top-of-the-table clash.

David Platt’s late winner secured a 3-2 win for the hosts, as Wenger overcame his old rival for the first time, en route to his first Premier League title.

Wright: “This was the start of the proper battle between Arsenal and Manchester United. The noise was brilliant, it was intense and it was a fantastic atmosphere.

“I didn’t get too many chances in that game but I set up Christopher Wreh for two sitters – I was so gutted he missed! I wanted the credit for a brilliant assist.”

Everton 3-2 Wimbledon

7 May 1994

Everton avoided relegation from the Premier League with victory over Wimbledon on the final day in 1994

Relegation-threatened Everton knew victory against Wimbledon on the final day of the 1993-94 season may not have been enough to keep them up.

The Toffees trailed 2-0 before a Barry Horne goal, and two from Graham Stuart, saw them clinch all three points, as results elsewhere ensured their survival.

Match of the Day that night was notable for the absence of regular pundits Alan Hansen and Trevor Brooking – the pair perhaps surprisingly replaced by Frank Skinner and David Baddiel.

Wright: “Everton have always been one of my favourite teams in the Premier League – and not just because I always scored against them! I remember before this game thinking ‘oh my goodness, Everton could go down today and they’ve never been relegated’.

“My friend Anders Limpar was playing and for him to give away a penalty – I couldn’t believe it. Then he won a very dubious penalty. Wimbledon were the last team you’d want to play that day – they’d have finished fifth with a win – but Everton clawed it back.”