Arsenals Top Seasons 1988-1989 Our (last gasp) 11th Best

Eighteen years we waited for this to happen – eighteen very, very long and difficult years and we fans were wondering if it would ever happen again. Our last First Division Championship win had been in 1970-71 when, under Bertie Mee, we won the First Division and FA Cup double. However Arsenal being Arsenal they made winning this First Division Championship as difficult as they possibly could by waiting until the players had the last gasps of air in their lungs.

Following, is a game by game accounting of our 1988-89 season alongside Liverpool games. The GD Total column is accumulated goal difference, the Point’s Total column is accumulated points and the Arsenal Diff column is accumulated points difference between the two teams.

The season started off brightly with a 5-1 away win at Wimbledon and we won six of the first ten games, drew two and lost two games – one to a very poor Aston Villa at Highbury. This left us five points ahead of Liverpool and with a superior goal difference of seven.

The next ten games saw us win seven, draw two and lose just one to Derby, while Liverpool won four, drew four and lost two, so after 20 games we had a lead of twelve points and a better goal difference of sixteen.

We faltered badly in the next ten games winning only four, drawing four and losing two.

Liverpool went unbeaten winning eight and drawing two. Now they were only two points behind us and trailed by one on goal difference, setting up a tight race over the final eight games.

Arsenal drew the next game against Manchester United at Old Trafford while Liverpool beat Sheffield Wednesday 5-1 this left us tied on points and Liverpool three ahead on goal difference. We then won the next four games putting us ahead by three points and three goals with just three games to play. Little did we know how important our 5-0 home win against Norwich on May 1st would become? We only got one point from our next two games losing again to Derby and scraping a point against Wimbledon, while Liverpool won both games taking the Division one lead over us by three points and three goals for the first time since game six. Liverpool beating West Ham 5-1 in their penultimate game was a rapier-like riposte to our caning of Norwich.

Liverpool had only lost two home games all season with the last occasion being on December 17th 1988 and Arsenal had the unenviable task of having to go to Anfield and beat them by two clear goals.

A peak British television audience of over 12 million saw a first half of few chances as Arsenal successfully nullified Liverpool. Striker Alan Smith scored from a header as play resumed in the second half, but as the game drew to a close with the score 1–0, Arsenal needed a second goal to be crowned champions. In stoppage time, Arsenal’s Thomas made a run through the Liverpool midfield and scored a last-minute goal, in the process denying Liverpool the chance of a second League and Cup double.

The season ended with Liverpool and Arsenal tied on Wins, Draws, Losses, Points and Goal Difference so the First Division winner had to be decided on goals for and Arsenal had outscored Liverpool by 8 goals – 73 to 65.

1988-89 – Season trivia

Chelsea won the Second Division and Manchester City were runners up.

Twelve of the twenty teams in the First Division in 1988-89 namely – Nottingham Forest 3rd, Norwich City 4th, Derby County 5th, Coventry City 7th, Queens Park Rangers 9th, Millwall 10th, Wimbledon 12th, Charlton Athletic 14th, Sheffield Wednesday 15th, Luton Town 16th, Aston Villa 17th and Middlesbrough 18th – are not in the current Premier League.

May 6th 1989  Liverpool v Arsenal  0-2 (att: 41,783)

Scorers:  Smith (52), Thomas (90+1)
Arsenal Team: Lukic, Dixon, Winterburn, Thomas, O’Leary, Adams, Rocastle, Richardson, AM Smith, Bould (P Groves), Merson (Hayes)

Written by GunnerN5


120 Responses to Arsenals Top Seasons 1988-1989 Our (last gasp) 11th Best

  1. chas says:

    Cheers, GN5.

    I was up in Nottingham in 1988/9, relatively poor and not able to get to many games. I watched that final game on a tiny black and white portable and put a large stripe on the wall with my shoe when Mickey Thomas scored.

    Not the best quality but……….

  2. chas says:

    Everything’s so blurry 🙂

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Great stuff GN5.

    10.21 Oh dear, that is 90 minutes that I will have to find today. I went to almost every game that season.

  4. GunnerN5 says:

    Great video’s Chas, Like Raddy I will watch the season review later today, but it will bring some wonderful old memories flooding back.

    I remember as a nipper being in the streets around Highbury when we won big games the atmosphere was just electric but the celebrations when we won trophies were just insane and left me with memories that are etched in my head forever.

    My Dad got so drunk celebrating after we won the double in 1970/71 that he cried with pure joy, my Mum said “he’s had a hard life my boy and that is something that he will remember forever” and he did – it brought a smile to his face every time we talked about it.

  5. chas says:

    In other news, I went to see Sleaford Mods at Rock City in Nottingham last night.
    It was the last night of their tour in their hometown.
    It was rather good.

  6. chas mobile says:

    Could the last person to leave please switch the lights out. Cheers.

  7. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ll sweep up the pieces of the blog on the way out Chas – it seems to have fallen apart.

  8. chas says:

  9. VP of Oz says:

    Thanks Chas, I enjoyed watching the Sleaford Mods on youtube. Nice start to the morning.

  10. VP of Oz says:

    Nice post GN5.
    I watched the new Charlize Theron movie the other day, Atomic Blonde. It was set in 1989 with the Berlin Wall coming down etc. with scenes in England etc.
    Strangely no mention of Arsenal winning the league…

  11. VP of Oz says:

    in other 1989 news –
    Sky TV Launched In UK
    A UK 737 crashes on the M1 Motorway
    Toyota launches it’s luxury brand the Lexus
    Nintendo releases the Game Boy
    Exxon Valdez spills 240,000 barrels (11 million gallons) of oil
    death sentence on British writer Salman Rushdie for the Satanic Verses
    Ford buys Jaguar
    First release of Microsoft Office
    The first episodes of the Simpsons are shown
    Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    Lethal Weapon 2
    Back to the Future Part II
    Ghostbusters II
    The Little Mermaid
    Driving Miss Daisy
    Dead Poets Society
    Licence to Kill
    Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
    My Left Foot
    When Harry Met Sally.

    and in politics, wall came down, bush for pres, tiananmen square, russia leaves afghanistan, apartheid starts to dismantle, solidarity lech walesa and The Registered Partnership law is passed in Denmark which grants same sex couples many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage

  12. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5, this is a marvelous post. I will likely have to seriously disagree with this only plumping in at a mere 11th in our best ever seasons run down but will have to wait with anticipation for 10 to 1 before having a friendly remonstration with you 🙂

  13. Eddie says:

    Patrice Evra leaves Marseille and is banned for seven months by Uefa 🙂 🙂 prick

  14. Eddie says:

    US goalkeeper Hope Solo has accused former Fifa president Sepp Blatter of sexual harassment.
    The World Cup winner, 36, says the incident happened at the 2013 Ballon d’Or awards, before she went on stage to present an award.

    I am surprised she didn’t deck the midget

  15. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    I am going to the Denmark vs ROI game tonight. Expecting a dull match with O’Neill parking the bus and hoping for a breakaway or set play goal and Denmark being rubbish in front of goal. If you decide to watch, look out for the Danish winger Sisto.

    That Sleaford Mod gig looks fun.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    VP. Can you write a year post every day until the end of the Interlull?

    The ’89 synopsis gave really good memories.

  17. VP of Oz says:

    here you go BR…
    In other news today –
    Australia 0:0 with Honduras at the Tomb
    Hope Solo accuses Sepp Blatter of grabbing her arse
    In america, a clean sheet is a shutout
    Its the ref’s fault as Italy lose
    Neymar blames fake news

    #10 Raheem Sterling – £180,000 per week
    #9 Diego Costa – £185,000 per week (LOL)
    #8 David de Gea – £200,000 per week
    #7 Eden Hazard – £200,000 per week
    #6 Bastian Schweinsteiger – £200,000 per week (LMFAO)
    #5 Sergio Aguero – £220,000 per week
    #4 Yaya Toure – £220,000 per week
    #3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic – £220,000 per week
    #2 Wayne Rooney – £250,000 per week
    #1 Paul Pogba – £290,000 per week

    11am on the 11th November, remembrance day
    The Queen will not lay a wreath at the Cenotaph, over to Prince Charles

    Ellyse Perry posts double century as Aussies declare in Women’s Ashes Test
    Queensland Premier rubbishes One Nation’s claims schoolchildren taught masturbation

    yesterdays news
    Apple X, Swifty’s Reputation,

  18. VP of Oz says:

    Australia Women First Innings Runs
    Ellyse Perry not out 213
    Mins Balls 4s 6s SR
    466 374 26 1 56.95

  19. VP of Oz says:

    Tonga has created Rugby League World Cup history with a stunning 28-22 victory over giants New Zealand following an extraordinary second-half display in Saturday’s clash in Hamilton.

    Down 16-2 at the break, Tonga ran rings around the Kiwis in the second half, scoring four quick tries to become the first tier-two rugby league nation to beat a team belonging to the top tier.

  20. VP of Oz says:

    Lewis Hamilton ✔@LewisHamilton
    Some of my team were held up at gun point last night leaving the circuit here in Brazil. Gun shots fired, gun held at ones head. This is so upsetting to hear. Please say a prayer for my guys who are here as professionals today even if shaken.

  21. Eddie says:

    and what the feck are you looking at pug?

  22. VP of Oz says:

    In 1989, the Queen was Britain’s richest person.

    The 2015 Sunday Times Rich list marked the first year Queen Elizabeth II was not among the list’s top 300 most wealthy since the list began in 1989.She was number one on the list when it began in 1989.

    in 2007
    #2 Roman Abramovich

    in 2013
    #1 Alisher Usmanov
    #5 Roman Abramovich

    in 2017
    #5 Alisher Usmanov
    #13 Roman Abramovich

  23. Big Raddy says:

    VP. Lovely stuff. Thank you

    Spent last night at the Parken stadium. Suffice to say that the pints downed with the Irish fans were by far the highlight of the evening. O’Neill’s team tactics were effective but dreadful, simply dreadful entertainment.

  24. fred1266 says:

    Hi everyone hope all is fine trying to book my hotel for my trip next week and I was wondering if Croydon is in London

    Thanks in advance

  25. Eddie says:

    no fred, Croydon is in Croydon, south of the river

    you need your hotel near Holloway Road or Archway, N19 or anywhere else with the postcode starting with N and a number, not NW not NE, but N and number

  26. fred1266 says:

    OK thanks Eddie for the speedy response

    So if I stay in Croydon would I still be able to use my oyster card or is it only be able to be used in the Zones in London

  27. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Fred, Croydon is in fact a southern borough of London and is in travel zone 5 which should enable you to your Oyster card.

  28. Eddie says:

    it takes a Canadian to give directions to a Jamaican in London 🙂 I love this diversity 🙂 oh yeah, and a Pole to take the piss

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    This proud Canadian is also proud of the fact that he was born and bred in Highbury.

    Oh – and he can also use Google to fill in the gaps in his current knowledge.

  30. Eddie says:

    is Highbury in Croydon?

    How old were you when you moved out to America?

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    No it’s near Poland.

    I didn’t move to America – where is it?

  32. fred1266 says:

    Am a Trinidadian Eddie

  33. Eddie says:

    I know fred, but I wouldn’t know how to spell it

    GN5 – I am trying to establish who, you or I, lived longer in London. I think me.
    My brother and his partner are touring California and are disappointed. He says it is poorer, dirtier and less friendly than Warsaw. And for some reason all the streets seem to be empty, no people. I suppose they all drive door to door.

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    Were you affected by the recent Hurricanes Fred – or was Trinidad far enough south to miss them?

  35. Eddie says:

    Trinidadien? it is a fooking long word

  36. GunnerN5 says:

    Eddie, I’ve travelled the USA extensively for both business and pleasure and I’ve visited dozens of different places in most states. California is one of the richest states in the USA. I’ve visited the at least the following cities, Sants Rosa, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Palm Springs and San Diego. Like all cities they have some very rough and poor areas but the East coast cities like New York, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, are far worse.

    They must be touring the wrong places or the wrong areas of the right places to come up with that conclusion.

  37. fred1266 says:

    No G5 wasn’t affected thank God

  38. fred1266 says:

    Not as long as Englishman

  39. GunnerN5 says:

    Glad to here that Fred. I hope you enjoy your trip to London and get to see the Gunners live.

  40. fred1266 says:

    Yea I will be attending huddersfield man United and Bate games

    Am praying for a victory in all 3 game

  41. Eddie says:

    fred – what is your religion? Some gods are more receptive than others. I just don’t want you to waste your time praying if you are the wrong religion 🙂

    Do you mean you have tickets to those 3 games??

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Made the mistake of watching N.I vs Switzerland to see how Xhaka plays for his country. 90 minutes wasted.

    Relatively easy to get to the Emirates from Croydon, though why anyone would choose to stay there, let alone live there, is a mystery.

  43. Eddie says:

    raddy – my sentiments precisely. I told Fred – only postcodes beginning with N are safe

  44. chas mobile says:

  45. Eddie says:

    we’d better get used such scenes for 2022

  46. Big Raddy says:

    Awesome pic. Perhaps this is why we have not heard a peep from Didit 🙂

  47. chas mobile says:

  48. chas mobile says:

  49. fred1266 says:

    Am a Baptiste Eddie and yea have I purchased tickets for those games so I think all I need to do is swipe my membership card when entering the stadium

  50. fred1266 says:

    BR wish you had told me about staying at Croydon earlier, I stayed north Acton last time I came so wanted to try some place else

  51. GunnerN5 says:

    Fred – don’t let the place you are staying spoil your trip, many areas of London are far worse and you are only a tube or bus ride away from wherever you wish to visit. Overall London is a wonderful place to spend some vacation time and it has some outstanding sites.

    Enjoy your stay and I hope the Gunners are good to you.

  52. fred1266 says:

    Thanks G5,

    hope to meet a few of you, last time around I was so desperate to go and see the stadium didn’t even think about hanging out with you all

  53. GunnerN5 says:

    I hope you get to meet up with some other AAers Fred.

    Given that I live 3,600 lies away I have never met any of the group either.

  54. Eddie says:

    fred – Baptiste is good, God likes singing happy people 🙂 I went to a singing church last month (Life chuch in Cuffley), didn’t like it, the pastor was a terrible dancer and he took the centre stage and would not get off, not a nice show. I am back to being a catholic I think,

    how the hell did you get hold of all those tickets?? Are you sure they are ligit?

  55. fred1266 says:

    How come G5, find that hard to believe

  56. fred1266 says:

    I bought them on Arsenal site, the hardest to get was man United got it via ticket exchange

  57. chas says:


  58. GunnerN5 says:

    Mike Dean reffing Arsenal

    PL P W D L
    home 21 11 6 4
    away 29 10 11 8
    overall 50 21 17 12
    FA Cup
    home 5 2 2 1
    away 2 1 – 1
    overall 7 3 2 2
    League Cup
    home 2 – 1 1
    away 2 1 – 1
    overall 4 1 1 2
    FA Community Shield
    home 1 1 – –
    overall 1 1 – –

  59. GunnerN5 says:

    Hard to follow so here it is in brief……

    W26, D20, L16

    Not as bad as I thought.

  60. Eddie says:

    well done Fred!! Enjoy the ride

  61. fred1266 says:

    Thanks Eddie hope to see you

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Interesting game tonight for Italy. It would be crazy if they don’t go to the WC

  63. Eddie says:

    no chance fred
    I’m not exactly an oil painting, better that you imagine that I am 🙂

  64. fred1266 says:

    Alway meant to ask u Eddie how come your profile picture is bellerin is he your favorite player also

  65. Eddie says:

    fred – sort of. I love small Spanish midfielders. It was Cesc and Santi before Hector. I think I like Kolasinac best now

    How is your fav fred?

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    Evening all

    Dropping in to watch the Iti’s
    Crikey, how did they end up in the play-offs?

    Reckon if it stays 0-0 too far, at least one Italian will end up in the bath early

  67. fred1266 says:

    Mines Is bellerin

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    Have to say, the Italian footballing gentlemen do carry the larger short rather well

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    My favourite is Mesut
    So there

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    Bloody hell, come on Italy

  71. Eddie says:

    knocked out, shocking 🙂 Gigi crying, ooooohh
    Hopefully we will have less diving and drama next summer

  72. Zee says:

    Good Morning,

    You wrecked it for them, Dun Didit.

    The WC without Italy seems a bit odd – good football teams over the years, plenty of dramatics and I like their national anthem.

  73. Eddie says:

    oh yeah zee, I forgot their anthem, the best by some distance

  74. Zee says:


    A terrific Post – as usual. A nice read in the morning — starts the day well.

    I’ve told you before, but it is worth repeating; you guys are lucky that when the US was on the verge of invading Canada, in the last century, the British warned them off – if the US had gone ahead, you would now have life under Trump.

    [Near miss?] 🙂

  75. chas says:

  76. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Can’t believe that Italy lost. 80% possession over 20 shots. Horrible result as Sweden are a dull team to watch and apart from Forsberg have no creativity.

    Though to reach the WC they beat 3 former WC winners (Netherlands, France and Italy) which is impressive.

    Only one of the Sweden squad plays in Sweden 😦

  77. Big Raddy says:

    Anders was one of my favourite players. Shame GG didn’t rate him thanks to his dislike of a sliding tackle

  78. chas says:

    Two different versions of xG calcs for the Italy v Sweden game………..

    “xG map for Italy – Sweden. The Azzurri got a bunch of shots off, but this is not a performance to get the two or more goals needed.”

  79. chas says:

    Second version more favourable to Italy with extra stuff.

  80. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Zee, I’m happy that you enjoyed my post, there are so few bloggers around these days I question the worth of writing them.

    I will miss Italy and the Netherlands in the World Cup Finals. Italy is a 4 time winner and always added to the competition in style and attitude. But I guess that neither team was good enough to advance. If the competition is going to be reduced to Sweden’s level then we will not have much to look forward to in Russia.

  81. Big Raddy says:

    Love those graphics.

    Hugely important and very tense night ahead. Kom Nu Danmark

    GN5. Many more people read the posts than make comments on them. I understand your frustration but what are the alternatives?

  82. GunnerN5 says:

    There is no alternative that comes to mind Raddy. But like your goodself I will continue to write new posts. I have 10 more to write on our top seasons but I will discontinue them if they are unpopular.

  83. Eddie says:

    GN5 and Raddy – you both are heros. I often forget to comment on your posts, or have no time to do so, but they always make a good read and I am grateful to you for taking the trouble of writing them.

    Raddy is right, many people read, think about it but don’t comment and that usually happens when the posts are good. Try publishing a bad one and see how many critics will come on the site to put their two-pence

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. You are so right. If I make a factual error there is always someone ready to correct me 😀

  85. GunnerN5 says:

    Thank you Eddie I really appreciate your comment.

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    Well at least that means they’ve been read Raddy 🙂 🙂 🙂

  87. Eddie says:

    GN5 – they are read, always!!! it is like a good film, you see it, enjoy and move on.
    If you happen to watch shit often nominated for an Oscar you make sure you tell others what a waste of time that was 🙂

    you’ve got me going now…you receive good service, that’s all fine no need to do anything.
    If you receive a shoddy deal then what do you do? you complain! Well, I do

    BUT I consider myself fair. Churchill insurance were so marvellous dealing with another car that I wrote off that I will have all my insurances with them. Mind you, maybe they don’t want my custom?

    And my favourite – you go to a party attended by 100 people. 99 of them are nice and friendly but one guy hates your guts. Who do you remember most? or even who do you want to please most? The bastard that almost ruined your party

  88. GunnerN5 says:

    Eddie, Another wise person on the blog said that I should not take it personally and I accept both of your observations so I’ll shut up and start writing my next post.

  89. Eddie says:

    excellent 🙂 top man

  90. Big Raddy says:

    Now is time to get behind the red and white 🇩🇰

  91. GunnerN5 says:

    I’ve only been behind them since I was knee high to my Dad.

  92. GunnerN5 says:

    Bum ? – Oh I see Ireland scored.

  93. Big Raddy says:

    Get in.

    Kom nu …

  94. Big Raddy says:

    Hope Eriksen doesn’t finish like that on Saturday

  95. Big Raddy says:

    Iwobi (2) and Lacazette score.

    Arsenal 3 Spurs 1

  96. Big Raddy says:

    Eriksen hatrick – what a player

    AFC 3 THFC 3.

  97. Big Raddy says:

    oooh Lacazette scores another

    AFC 4 THFC 3

  98. fred1266 says:

    Iwobi scored to nice goals

  99. VP of Oz says:

    I am getting ready for our final world cup qualifier game vs Honduras in about an hour.
    Hoping to be joining Croatia in Russia:-)

  100. Eddie says:

    I am delighted ROI are out, on their green arses. Good!! and well done Denmark

  101. VP of Oz says:

    sad about ROI, happy about Italy and Greece
    Australia 0:0 half time. its getting tense

  102. VP of Oz says:

    Jedinak 2nd half hat-trick and we are going to Russia

  103. Big Raddy says:

    Men at Work. The sound of Oz.

    Deep joy here in Dk, tempered by the fact that Eriksen returns to the knuckle draggers

  104. GunnerN5 says:

    Lets hope he’s used up all of his tricks Raddy……….

  105. chas says:

  106. Eddie says:

    I think it is time to start coming back to the blog. It is only 2 days of preparations for the derby. I have already washed and iron the lucky shirt, the lucky mug has a tea bag in ready, the lucky piggy bank has more coins inserted. What else, I must not forget anything

    Raddy – are your lucky socks ready?

  107. chas says:

  108. chas says:

  109. chas says:

    Beware bad language

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    A slider. Great start to the day

    As Eddie points out, just 2 days .

    I think a post may be in the offing …

  111. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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