Arsenal’s Top Seasons 1997-98 – Our 10th Best

November 21, 2017

This was Arsenal’s 100th season in competitive football and also Arsene Wenger’s first full season as our manager. In the transfer window, Arsenal purchased several players, including midfielders Marc Overmars and Emmanuel Petit and goalkeeper Alex Manninger.

Below are the comparisons of the 1997-98 season results for both Arsenal and Manchester United. The first ten games of the season saw Arsenal win 6 and draw 4 while Man U won 6 drew 3 and lost 1 leaving them a point behind Arsenal. Arsenal had victories over London rivals West Ham and Chelsea and drew with Tottenham.

Man U were a dominant team in the next ten games winning 8 drawing 1 and losing 1 while Arsenal only managed 3 wins 3 draws and suffered 4 losses – this left Arsenal trailing Man U by 12 points. After our away loss to Derby we were 4 points behind Man U and our next game was at home to them; a second successive defeat would have made it difficult for Arsenal to catch Manchester U, but not impossible. Striker Nicolas Anelka, standing in for Bergkamp, scored his first goal for Arsenal and Vieira added a second, leaving goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel rattled. Teddy Sheringham scored twice for Manchester United to level the score but midfielder David Platt headed into the far corner with seven minutes left of the match to score the winner for Arsenal.

Before our next game with Man U several of our games had to be rescheduled due to FA Cup replays. This meant that when we met United at Old Trafford in March, Arsenal still had 11 games left to play while United only had 8 games left.  After numerous attempts to break the deadlock in the match, Arsenal finally managed to score with 15 minutes left; Marc Overmars latched onto an Anelka header coming from a long ball and used his agility to flick it beyond goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel to give Arsenal the all important lead and win. This victory left us 6 points behind United with 10 games left to play (3 games in hand).

Arsenal then went on to win the next 8 games which completed an unbeaten run of 18 games. The unbeaten run culminated with a 4-0 victory over Everton at Highbury which clinched the title with 2 games to spare.

Arsenal’s season ended in double glory when we beat Newcastle 2-0 in the FA Cup Final to claim the second League and FA Cup double in our glorious history.  (The Port Vale tie was decided 4-3 on penalties, as was the West Ham 6th Round replay)

In recognition of the team’s achievement, Arsene Wenger was awarded the Carling Manager of the Year award and striker Dennis Bergkamp was given the accolade of PFA Players’ Player of the Year by his fellow peers and FWA Footballer of the Year by football writers.

Written by GunnerN5

 

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5 things we learned from Saturday

November 20, 2017
  1. I will start with this because IMO it is the most important. We had a proper 12th man. The fans were wonderfully raucous from before kick off until well after games end. It makes a massive difference to the players. Just imagine you were on the pitch (a dream, I know), which would inspire you, The Library or Saturday’s passion? We need the same every week.
  2. We work best when we have our first choice 11. Obvious. How many times this season have we lined up with the same defensive 6? Once or twice? People write about how there are open spaces across our defence and we are too gung-ho/undisciplined/tactically naive etc etc. Simple matter is that when we have AW’s chosen men we play better.
  3. Hard work pays. Ramsey led the ranks as usual, but all the players ran tirelessly. Surprisingly Spurs ran more than us! The difference was that our players ran with purpose.
  4. We should have scored more. We totally dominated the last 15 minutes and a 4-0 would have been even more dispiriting to the WHL miscreants. Subbing off Lacazette for Le Coq was unnecessary given how dominant we were. Mr Wenger has developed this habit of securing the points rather than going for the jugular but given the quality of the top 6 teams goal difference could be very important.
  5. Despite rumours to the contrary, Spurs are and always have been … merdre

 

written by BR


Spud Bashing – Player Ratings

November 18, 2017

Team up for it, crowd up for it, great day in the Red and White side of North London. Grown men singing Sweet Caroline at the tops of their voices as they left the ground – Good times never seemed so good – and Neil Diamond was not wrong.

Cech: his maturity counts for a lot, solid as ever and a great save at the end to keep an impressive clean sheet. 8

Bellerin: excellent going forward, always there to offer an outlet on the wing, some decent defending and some down right worrying defending towards the end. 7

Mustafi: there was a reason why the defense worked today rather than not on other occasions and that was because of the return of Shkodran. A general in his organisation and a tower of strength to the other defenders around him and if that isn’t praise enough he set us on our way to the fine weekend that we are having now with a brilliantly headed goal, my motm: 10

(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Koscielny: seemed to be inspired and lifted by his fellow CB, some superb defending and some down right poor passing in the first half. Maybe this is harsh as the noticeable thing was that he was the only player who was looking for the Lacazette runs, I noticed in the week that the French national team understand our number 9’s runs and know how to find him, they are still working this out at THOF. 7

Monreal: a very calm, sensible performance nothing fancy nothing silly just went about his job in his professional way. 7

Kolasinac: the honey moon period is over now and there is a touch of the Emperor’s new clothes going on here, don’t get me wrong I am as pleased as punch with the Oxlaide-Chamberlain upgrade but I am still struggling to see exactly what he brings to the table and is what he brings enough? That said if you play in a team that beats spuds 2-0 you will always be worthy of praise and so should his compact, no frills performance today. 7

Ramsey: probably the player that raised his game the least today and as for playing in trainers for most of it, sliding all over the place and loosing possession cheaply, that was not good; he finally changed his boots and got a bit more to grips with things. 7

Xhaka: this player always worries me as it always only seems like a matter of time until he gets sent off — but he didn’t today, I am not known to be the biggest Wilshere fan but I would have Jack in that team ahead of him everyday of the week. Granit sprayed the ball around well and clearly has a lot of self belief which is a useful asset. 7

Ozil: here’s a question, were you a Bergkamp fan or an Henry fan? If you were like me a Berkamp fan and are of a certain age then there is a linage that you have followed: you loved Liam Brady, you secretly admired Paul Davis more than Rocastle, you liked Merson, you thought and think that Bergkamp was and is the greatest player you have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt and you were a great admirer of Pires and yes you still have a soft spot for Fabrigas. Why all this? Because they are all a similar type of player and can be traced through the decades; the more skillful type rather than the pure goal scorer and as such, you, like me, love Ozil more than any other player at the club. We’ve got Ozil, Mesut Ozil, I just don’t think you understand. 9

Lacazette: he is getting close isn’t he, you can sense that there is so much more from him to come but it is coming isn’t it. Interesting that Wenger remains cautious wit him, only ever playing him for 70 minutes. I suspect Wenger knows the levels of fatigue that the Christmas calendar has on players and wants to make sure he is still standing in the new year. Good day today. 9

Sanchez: another brilliant performance, committed as ever and Johnny on the spot again to fire home our second. 9

Match thoughts from a jubilant LB


Form is Temporary, Class is Permanent

November 18, 2017

The last two posts have given begrudging admiration towards  the positive developments happening down the Seven Sisters Rd, but let’s be honest … you can’t polish a Richard 😀 😀

Always in our shadow. Flash in the pan, One swallow – summer, a pig’s ear doth not a purse make etc I am sure you can add a few more.

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Our Trophy Cabinet (for Aaron)

You know the stats, it will take a generation of poor results for the heroes in Red and White to be overtaken by the incestuous, heathen hordes from Wembley.

We have had to wait for 50 years to see a Spurs team capable of finishing second 🤡🤡

As to their fans – have they developed along with their team? Sadly not. They remain fur covered knuckle-draggers, only slightly up the evolutionary tree from Orcs.

As to today, Arsenal still have selection difficulties. If fit, should AW find a place for Welbz? Iwobi is unlikely to start given his heroics midweek for Nigeria. Is Mustafi ready? Dare we play a back 4 given the current form of Eriksen (the papers over here are comparing him to Maradona!!)?

My Team:

Cech

Mustafi    Koscielny     Monreal

Bellerin    Xhaka    Ramsey    Kolasinac

Ozil

Lacazette    Sanchez

 

I know he is a  bit marmite but Theo loves a goal against Spurs and should certainly get at least 30 minutes. I really do not want to see Coquelin on the team sheet. We have enough strength to cope with Spurs attack assuming that the lads play as a team and CONCENTRATE.

As always, we have a very strong bench even without Giroud and Iwoi.

One fly in the ointment is the referee. How can Mike Dean get another Arsenal game? The stats show that this man is not just incompetent, he is also biased. The Man City game was evidence that refs can ruin what could be a good performance. We got stuffed at Stoke and the Etihad, and No, it does not even out over a season.  Whatever happens we can be sure Dean will be in the spotlight and it is a forlorn hope that he will shaft the Lillywhites. Grrrr

So, what do we expect from this afternoon (another stupid k.o. time)? Certainly a fighting performance. Some artistry and lightning fast attacks would be good. A few long distance shots on target (no Lloris). A goal or two.

Win, lose or draw, Spurs will always be in our shadow

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COYRRG

 

 


Spurs. An Obsession?

November 17, 2017

Over the years of AA we (or should I say “I”) are often accused of being “obsessed” by Spurs. Is it true?

Judge for yourself.

Firstly, I was born in North London, equidistant from AFC and THFC. Most of my friends were Spurs, my father was Spurs, thankfully my Uncles had more sense, though one had a season ticket at Chelsea 😦

Before girls and music football was everything, break time at school, after school, all weekend we played or talked about football. It was always Arsenal vs Spurs in the park, playground, wherever. It mattered and it mattered big time. Was I obsessed – certainly. We all were.

I expect this is different for those born away from North London but it seems the principle remains; it is almost impossible to love Arsenal and have anything but begrudging respect for Spurs.

Let me ask you this, which is the first result you look for after Arsenal’s? For a select and deluded few, it will be United, perhaps Chelsea, but for the vast majority it is Spurs. If we lose the only thing which eases the pain is if Spurs lose. It has been so for as long as I remember.

If you happen to support Spurs and read this Arsenal blog, tell me it is not the same in reverse for you?

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Just think back to when we won the League at White Hart Lane in 2004, Spurs fans celebrated as Keane scored a dodgy penalty to get a draw. It was more important than the realisation that we had become Champions at their ground (for the second time :_D )

For 20 years there was little rivalry thanks to the descent of the Lillywhites into mediocrity, this was good and bad because IMO we need a NL challenge to enliven the season. Their temporary improvement also brings another team into the fight for a Top 4 place. 75 points may no longer be enough.

IMO we are very interested in Spurs, they are our noisy neighbours, it has been thus for  almost 100 years. Obsessed … No.

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Written by Big Raddy


Spurs. A worrying trend.

November 16, 2017

Remember when they were a laughing stock? Doesn’t seem that long ago. This is the  bunch who employed Harry Redknapp thinking he would bring back the Glory Days  😀

Times have changed and it started a few years back. I loved it when the muppets had to sell their best assets and then waste the money on overpriced dross. Modric and Bale wouldn’t stay and who can blame them.

Spurs have always been good at getting top money for ordinary players and even better money for their stars, the difference today is that they are developing players and keeping them. With 3 players who would certainly cost upwards of €100m a piece they are looking good. Eriksen, Kane and Ali are hot properties with a host of European Giants willing purchasers, though Pochettino says he will not sell.

They have accidentally found a proper manager, a young man with competence. Add in the new stadium and Spurs look as though they will be a force to reckon with for some time.

Thankfully, they remain Spursy.

Oh, and in case Spurs fans get lairy,  just point out the empty Trophy Cabinet. 😀

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written by Big Raddy


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

November 10, 2017

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