Arsenal’s 1978/79 FA cup run – A trip down Memory Lane

November 21, 2018

This is the season that we won 5-0 at the lane and came 7th in the league.

We got bragging rights over the few Spurs fans at school for ages after that.
“We all agree, Rixie is better than Hoddle” was the song (He wasn’t really..)

I was at nearly all the home games plus one away at Loftus Rd, where I’d arranged to meet the only QPR fan in my class, who didn’t show up. Quaint little ground, we won 2-1.

We dropped out of the UEFA cup around this time of year, against Red Star Belgrade. Having beaten us at their place, they got a 1-1 at Highbury with their only attack of the game (if my memory serves me right.)
Hopes had been high, having knocked out Hajduk Split the round before. A team we knew as we’d played them a year or two before for John Radford’s testimonial. The lame excuse for choosing them for this match had been that they had ‘also’ won the double before in their country. We did have a ‘knees up’ on the pitch after the match though, good fun.

In the FA Cup third round we had to play Sheffield Wednesday FIVE times to get past them!

A routine win against Notts County at home in the fourth round, then Nottingham Forest away in the Fifth. They were the hound’s goolies at the time, and listening to the match on the radio was absolute torture…
They were hitting the woodwork, there were goal line clearances, the lot. Commentators going mad.

Next up, we beat Southampton at home, another replay.

For the semi final at Villa Park, the Bro and I had the idea to stay the weekend with our aunt and cousins in Brum (Aston to be precise, so it wasn’t too far to walk to the stadium.)
We were in the big standing area at one end, that was divided right down the middle by a fence….half Wolves half Arsenal. At the end of the match, the Wolves fans starting throwing stuff, including coins (Nothing more than 2p, the cheapo b*stards)
It got quite ugly.


After the match, realizing that all the Arsenal fans were going one way, and that everyone on the road back to our aunt’s was a Wolves fan or an old Bill on a horse, we tried to discreetly slip our scarves into our jackets. Discreet as a wet fart, this enormous effin Black country Welder type says to me:
“No yuse hoiding that mate, you’re DEAD” and punched me on the nose.
The Bro and I (16 and 15 YO respectively) managed a look at each other as we went to ground one hand on head, one on balls, hoping we’d see each other alive again.
The police on their horses did FA, was probably a good laugh for them seeing two ‘cockneys’ getting their heads kicked in.
Then a voice from heaven went:
“Loive’em alowwn, they’re only babbies!”
An old dear had run out of her house to save us and it worked.

They stopped kicking us, and we staggered on to our aunt’s place where there was a party that night. Suffice to say we played the Jack the lad cockneys all night and gave it large to the Wolves fans that were there amongst the mainly Villa contingent.

For the final, we couldn’t get tickets so watched it on telly. All was going smoothly, 2-0 up till near the end, then…….
Our mum walks in and asks “Anyone want tea?” United scored.

We told her ‘no’ and to please go back to the kitchen. The stress was on.

Two minutes later, she walks in and says “The kettle is on, sure you don’t want tea?” (ah, Irish mothers….) United scored again! We screamed ” No! Get out!”

Photo by Bob Thomas/Getty Images

Bewildered, she left us to it, and Sunderland scored the winner.

I seem to remember us sheepishly going to the kitchen saying “Sorry mum…any tea going?”

Written by John Matthews Legend

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Arsenals Top Seasons 2001-02 – Our 4th Best

April 10, 2018

2001- 02 was a very competitive season with several teams challenging for the top spot in the league. For the first 11 games an unbeaten Leeds team were the early leaders and in November they were top of the table. At the start of December Liverpool was three points clear with a game in hand, Newcastle took over as leaders at Christmas but by February Manchester United was in first place, looking to make it four titles in a row.  Arsenal was never far off the pace but they suffered their lowest point of the season during October and November taking only three points from four games. They responded to that four-game winless run in style with a 3-1 victory over Manchester United which was memorable for Freddie Ljungberg’s lob and two gift wrapped presents from Fabian Barthez which Thierry Henry happily accepted.

Notably, on the player front David Seaman, Martin Keown and Ray Parlour were still going strong, while both Tony Adams and Lee Dixons careers were winding down.

Arsene Wenger brought in Sol Campbell, Giovanni van Bronckhorst and Kole Toure while John Lukic. Sylvinho and Nelson Vivas left the club.

The Arsenal 2001- 02 Squad.

Seaman (17), Dixon (13), A. Cole (29), Vieira (36), Keown ( 21), Adams (10), Pires (28),Ljungberg (25), Bergkamp ( 33), Wiltord (33), Lauren (27), Taylor (10), Henry (33), van Bronckhorst (21), Edu (14), Grimandi (16), Upson (14), Luzhny (18) Campbell (31), Wright (12), Kanu (23), Stepanvos (8).

Four games after beating Manchester United we suffered our third defeat, at home to Newcastle but it proved to be the final loss of the season. (ed: this was the game  in which Graham Poll came close to being lynched after sending off Ray Parlour for two bookables and handing the game to Newcastle late on with a disgraceful penalty decision; it still makes my blood boil thinking about it). 

In the next two games we defeated Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield with only 10 men and followed that with a 2-1 win over Chelsea on Boxing Day with Sol Campbell scoring his first goal for Arsenal. The next six games saw us win 3 and draw 3 ending in a 1-1 draw with Southampton at Highbury on February 2 which left us toiling in 3rd position.

It would take a special effort to beat off the many competitors to the title and the draw against Southampton proved to be the game that spurred us on – it would be the last time we dropped points all season. In the final 13 games we went unbeaten, including a 2-0 win at title rivals Newcastle which will be forever remembered by Denis Bergkamp’s stunning goal. He made it look so simple, pirouetting within a split second of his flick to score the goal and leaving no doubt as to whether it was intended. Nobody has pulled off anything as special since, suggesting it was a more remarkable piece of skill than he made it appear. The fact that we all talk about it 17 years later is an indication of just how wonderful Bergkamp’s touch and intelligence was to create such an incredible goal.

Five games later we beat Tottenham 2-1 at Highbury with Lauren scoring the winning goal from a late penalty. With 2 games left in the season we met Manchester United at Old Trafford, to have any hopes of retaining their crown United had to beat Arsenal, but Sylvain Wiltord’s 55th minute winner sealed a second Premier League title for Arsene Wenger’s side. We ended the season seven points clear of second-placed Liverpool, who sneaked ahead of United on the final day.

We finished the season off in style with a 4-3 win over Everton on the final day that saw Tony Adams lift the title trophy in front of the home fans as he bowed out alongside Lee Dixon.

Credit: Stuart MacFarlane / Arsenal Football Club.

Henry, Pires and Ljungberg  all made huge contributions to our season. Henry finished the season with 24 goals in the Premier League and the Golden Boot, Pires recorded a league-high 15 assists and won the Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year award, Pires was so good that when he took his turn to lift the Premier League trophy on the last day, his team-mates bowed down in front of him.

Freddie Ljungberg scored 12 times in just 25 games and claimed the official Barclaycard Premier League Player of the Season honour.

We lost only three games, all at Highbury and went the full season unbeaten away from home in the league, scored in every game and finished the season with 13 consecutive wins.

Not to be forgotten is the fact that a week before the season ended we won the FA Cup Final beating Chelsea 2-0 with stunning goals from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg.

Unsurprisingly Arsene Wenger was named as the Manager of the Season after winning his second double in five seasons.

Written by GunnerN5


Suddenly the FA Cup is Worth Winning?

March 19, 2018

2014

So, Arsenal FC win the FA Cup in 2014 and finish 4th in the League.

Arsenal fans …………. No-one’s happy as we didn’t beat anyone decent on the way to Wembley – only the spuds, Liverpool and Everton – yeah, but they were all at home. Fourth placed trophy again – we should be finishing above City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

2015

Then we win it the following year, crushing Villa and also come 3rd in the Prem.

Arsenal fans …………. Not good enough – still didn’t beat anyone any good on the way to the Final – only Man Utd at the Old Cowshed and a few other sh*te teams. Fancy comin 3rd to the chavs and blue mancs, why do we always finish behind them?

2016

No cup but a 2nd place finish, ♫ It’s happened again ♬

Arsenal fans …………. We only finished second thanks to the spuds spursing it up by coming 3rd in a two-horse race. We should have won the league and only came second because the spuds are bigger bottlers than us.

2017

Arsenal finish outside the top 4 for the first time in 20 years but manage to win the FA Cup for the third time in 4 years beating Abu Dhabi FC and the Fulham Oilers in the Final.

Arsenal fans …………. Tinpot trophy again – why can’t we win the League or the CL? Sack the board, sack the manager and get rid of most of the players. Spurs finishing above Arsenal for the first time in 22 seasons – that’s the final straw.

2018

This season Spurs, Man U and Chelsea all went out in the CL Round of 16 and all three are clinging on to the hope of an FA Cup win to save their season. At least two of them will finish potless this season (hopefully all three, cmon Soton! 🙂 ). Then again, probably 2 of them will have a 4th place trophy as well for consolation.

Arsenal fans………..Wish we were still in the FA Cup and had a shot at the CL, other than via the Europa.

Do we need some perspective?

chas

 

 

 


Oil Money FC losing to Wigan – Good, Bad or Irrelevant to The Arsenal?

February 20, 2018

So, the quadruple is off. What effect might that have on Sunday’s game at Wembley?

Good

Seeds of doubt sown.

Shows that anything is possible in a one-off game – even when you have only 17% possesion.

Aguero might be banned for throwing a punch at a supporter.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Delph is banned?

City look less effective without De Bruyne.

Bad

They could be after revenge against the footballing gods and take it out on us.

Mancs, spuds and chavs path to the trophy got easier.

De Bruyne will be playing.

They can’t be as bad as in last season’s semi.

Irrelevant

What happens in a different competition six days prior to a Final has no bearing whatsoever.

In a one-off game even the BFG can play in Beckenbauer fashion.

Auba will be playing.

Good, bad or not relevant to Sunday? What do you think?

Mink DeVille 

 


Should we sign a Forward?

January 7, 2018

FA Cup. It has been good to us in recent years having only lost once in 4 seasons, can this run continue?

Away at Forest is a potential banana skin, especially as Mr Wenger  is expected to rotate his squad. Xhaka, Ramsey, Giroud, Kolasinac, Koscielny and Monreal are all injured, so the potential for rotation is limited. Wilshere needs to be rested and with Xhaka out we will struggle to be creative. Should be interesting to see if Iwobi, Coquelin and Elneny can find space and provide the ammunition for the front men.

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I know nothing about the current NF team. Once Cloughie left and they dropped out of the PL I lost interest. Thankfully for the Forest owners, their fans have not and they average over 25k attendance at the new City Ground (more than 7 PL teams).

Forest have a caretaker manager having sacked the previous incumbent, (what a lovely word) Mr Warburton after 9 months of difficulty. This is often bad news for The Arsenal as players try to impress the new manager.

My Team:

Ospina

Debuchy   Chambers   Holding

Nelson  Coquelin      Elneny    Maitland-Niles

Iwobi

Welbeck   Walcott

Not sure about this attack as Mr Wenger must have a reason to freeze out Walcott,  if it is because Theo is leaving then he is unlikely to play. In which case we are struggling to find a fit forward. Could Nelson be played upfront or Akpom? Mr Wenger has stated we are not interested in signing Aubameyang.

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Both teams could use The Lord

Mr Wenger starts his 3 match touchline ban, punished for telling the truth. Referees have ruined our season which may cost Arsenal millions of pounds. Where is their accountability (a post in the making?)?

Can we continue AW’s astonishing run of never having lost in the FAC 3rd round?

Hope so.

COYRRG


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

 


Arsene’s fantastic Vision of Beautiful Football

July 2, 2017

So, here we are, a year on and openly or sneakily looking at the myriad of transfer rumours flowing around us, not just about Arsenal, but around all our rivals too – who is buying whom, who is asking for the humongously ridiculous salary and so on.

The season finished on something of a mixed bag of results – some terrific football to win the FA Cup at a canter from Chelsea, the Premier League champions, but all culminating in a somewhat disappointing relegation from the fabled ‘top four’ finish, and thus we are relegated to the Europa League, taking the place of the Spuds.

The cockles of the fans heart were warmed by the scintillating finish to the season by the way the team played at the season finale, and the captivating style of total football that was on show for all the world to see.

Where did this performance come from? Was it a one off? Will we treasure it and hold it to our manly chests as we slip back into the old slip slop ways of yore?

Not if Arsene Wenger has his way!

Looking back to last summer, we can remember the constant and probably unfair criticisms of Arsene for his apparently dilatory decisions in not addressing the perceived weaknesses of the team, at least as far as the fans were concerned.

Where is the desperately needed holding midfielder we need, many have asked, seemingly year on year, season on season? Where is the top notch CF we need? And why are our full backs encouraged to frequently desert their defensive duties and hare upfield in support of the attack?
[OK, that last one is not transfer related, but when were fans logical in their complaints?] 🙂

On the face of it, there appears to be a hotchpotch list of gripes that have resulted in the fulminating anger of the fans spilling over from time to time when results have not gone our way, and this has led to many supporters despairing of Arsene ever changing his spots.

The transfer acquisitions made last summer did cheer up the fans by addressing addressing some of the issues, but it did not take long for the moans to re-start after the first game we lost.

The suppurating anger of some fans has not been helped by Mr Wenger appearing to refuse to explain his vision, his strategy and his tactics in a way that would, perhaps, allow everyone to understand better what he is striving to achieve, and to explain his supposed reluctance to caulk over the defensive and offensive holes in his team by buying more suitably qualified players and addressing the long term issues concerning the fans.

Arsene, like many highly intelligent men when they are confronted with the seemingly incomprehensible angst of fans regarding, what appears to him, as a straightforward situation, sometimes shows an inability to understand why there is even a problem, when his vision, motives and methodology are so obvious to him.
Perhaps he needs to learn to use the English colloquialism “What’s your problem, mate?”

The answer, I believe, lies in his vision of the beautiful game. Football, so he advocates, is not broken down into the micro or macro analysis and management of defense and or offense, he really does see the game as being one unified, flowing, seamless whole. To him there is no need to assign specific responsibilities to one type of player or the other, because the whole team should be capable of defending and attacking as one smoothly working unit.

Every Wenger team is expected to play in a certain way — his way — conforming to his vision, and to hell with worrying about the opposition. He wants to win, and win beautifully, by playing football as an art form with each cog of the team working synchronically like a perfectly functioning and exquisite Rolex watch, and stuff the Timex teams which may be acceptable to the other clubs and other fans.

Therein lies the problem. Most fans want to win trophies to give them bragging rights, and it matters not to them if it was the result of a fluke deflection off someone’s ass, or a bad refereeing decision, or playing against 10 men or whatever advantage the Gods threw at them.
A win is a win, is a win, innit?

But maybe Arsene needs to promote and explain his vision to the fans better, and to reassure them that he does indeed want to win trophies, but also to win them in a style that would make them proud to support a club who fostered such a vision of perfection — a vision of playing beautiful footie.

Arsene also needs to appreciate, if he doesn’t already, that every Rolex or Hublot needs to be made of the very best of materials, and to have a thorough annual overhaul in order to hit the amazingly high standards of perfection they lay claim to, and so too does his Arsenal team. Hence the transfer turmoil every summer when defective parts need to be replaced.

Buying the very best players possible for his team, and leaving others to worry about the cost of doing so, is an essential requirement which not only will make his vision for Arsenal more achievable, but also marry up his desires with those of the loyal fans who crave success and would give their unstinting support to this magnificent project if this was the case. But ….. AW does care about the cost, unlike every other top manager – and that leads to its own problems.

There are very many of us who would love to see this man reach his visionary goal, and not appear in history as just another footballing Don Quixote, futilely tilting at windmills, and not just for his sake, but also for the sakes of those of us who have supported Arsenal all our lives, and will do so until the end.

Written by Zee