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The match took place with one week remaining in the Premier League calendar for the 2001–02 season. Arsenal were in first position, but still needed a point from their final two games to secure the championship, which they achieved in their next match with victory over second-placed Manchester United. Chelsea had to win their remaining fixture to confirm the position of fifth they held at the start of the match; they lost again and finished in sixth. In the league fixtures between the two clubs, Arsenal had the upper hand, with a 1–1 draw at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge on 8 September 2001 and a 2–1 win at Highbury on Boxing Day.
Arsenal's subsequent Premier League title triumph saw them equal Manchester United's record of three doubles.
The match is remembered for Chelsea fan Tim Lovejoy's famous quote "It's alright, it's only Ray Parlour", who seconds later put the ball in the top corner from 25 yards. Lovejoy had been doing the Sky Sports fanzone commentary with Arsenal fan Bradley Walsh when he spoke the famous last words.