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

 

Advertisements

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


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


Number 6 – Mr. Arsenal

October 26, 2017

Whenever I look back on my 70 years of supporting Arsenal and the hundreds of players that I’ve watched one name always stands out in my memory – Number 6, Tony Adams who is rightfully known as Mr. Arsenal. He was born in Romford on October 10th 1966 and grew up in Dagenham. From 1971 to 1978 he was a pupil at Hunters Hall Primary School and from 1978 to 1983 at Eastbrook Comprehensive School.

He was still a 15 year old schoolboy when he signed for Arsenal in 1980 and one of his tasks was to clean the players’ boots after games.

He made his first team debut just four weeks after his 17th birthday. Along with Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould he was part of the “famous back four” that formed Arsenal’s formidable defence; he became Arsenal captain at the age of 21 and remained as club captain until his retirement – 14 years later.

Adams’s strong discipline of the defence was considered a factor in Arsenal winning the League Cup in 1986–87.

For Arsenal fans, there has arguably been no other player in the Club’s history who has encapsulated the spirit and quality of the club more than Tony Adams, a colossus of a defender who is considered by many as one of the finest to have played for England and Arsenal.

Sir Alex Ferguson often attempted to sign him, and at his testimonial stated, “I would love to have had him in my side, and I don’t think it’s any secret that there were inquiries made at one time from Old Trafford.”

Pat Rice, Arsenal assistant manager, stated, “what a leader, what a player, what a man.”

His successes on the field were challenged by a decade long (1980-1990) battle with alcohol. On 6 May 1990 he crashed his Ford Sierra into a wall and his blood alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit. He was imprisoned for four months and freed after serving half of his sentence. He became one of the most high-profile recovering alcoholics in the UK and his battle with alcohol is detailed in his autobiography, Addicted, which was released to critical acclaim in May 1998.

He won the First Division championship twice; the first being after our famous Friday night victory over Liverpool at Anfield which secured the 1988–89 Championship. The second was in 1990–91, after losing only once all season – (W24, D13, L1, GF74, GA18).

In 1992–93 he gained the distinction of being the captain of the first English side to win the League Cup and FA Cup double. Then in 1993-94 he was captain when we won the European Cup Winners Cup.

ClubArsenalFootball League First Division / Premier League (4): 1988–89, 1990–91. 1997–98, 2001–02

FA Cup (3): 1993, 1998, 2002

Football League Cup (2): 1987, 1993

Football League Centenary Trophy: 1988

European Cup Winners Cup: 1994

FA Charity Shield (2): 1991 (Shared), 1998

PFA Young Player of the Year: 1987

PFA First Division/Premier League Team of the Year (4): 1987, 1994, 1996, 1997

PFA Team of the Century (1907–2007): Team of the Century 1997-2007

Premier League 10 Seasons Awards: (1992-93 – 2001-02) Overseas Team of the Decade

English Football Hall of Fame: 2004

Football League 100 Legends

Number 3 on Arsenal.com top 50 players.

Number 3 on Arsenal Arsenal top 50 players.

 

Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE)

A statue honouring Adams was unveiled at Emirates stadium on 9 December 2011.

Written by GunnerN5


Arsenal’s Top Seasons – 1952-53, our 12th best

October 9, 2017

The 1952-53 season started well for Arsenal as we won the opening two fixtures but then only managed to win two of the next eight matches. A 5-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield on November 15 helped to inspire the team and the goals continued to flow throughout that winter. We beat Bolton 6-4 (away from home on Christmas Day), Wolves 5-3, Spurs 4-0 and Derby 6-2 in the next couple of months.

April proved to be the decisive month; the Gunners played eight league matches during the month, including a run of five straight wins. The last game of the month though, was away to title rivals Preston. Arsenal was two points ahead with two games remaining and could seal a league title with a victory at Deepdale. However Arsenal suffered a 2-0 defeat and both sides were level with one match left. Preston played first, beating bottom side Derby 1-0 on Wednesday. Two days later Arsenal knew that only a home victory over Burnley would give them the title. Burnley took an early lead but Alex Forbes, Doug Lishman and Jimmy Logie all found the net to make it 3-1. Burnley made in 3-2 in the second half but Arsenal held on for the crucial two points and we won our 7th League Division 1 Championship. It was two points for a win in 1952-53 so we ended the season tied with Preston on 54 points each; we won based on goal average (Arsenal 1.516 – Preston 1.417) – goal average being the rule back then, not goal difference as it is today. (goal difference, Arsenal 33 – Preston 25)

Jimmy Logie sneaks in at the back post to score Arsenal’s third against Burnley 1st May 1953

We had reached the FA Cup Final in two of the previous three years, but in 1952-53 we lost to eventual winners Blackpool in the quarter-final.

Arsenal 1952-53 appearances: Daniel 41, Roper 41, Wade 40, Lishman 39, Forbes 33, Logie 32, L Smith 31, Goring 29, Mercer 28, Kelsey 25, Milton 25, Shaw 25, Holton 21, Swindin 14, Chenhall 13, Cox 9, Marden 8, Platt 3, Oakes 2, Bowen 2, Dodgin 1.

Arsenal 1952-53 goalscorers: Lishman 22, Holton 19, Roper 14, Goring 10, Logie 10, Milton 7, Daniel 5, Marden 4, Mercer 2, Cox 1, Forbes 1, Oakes 1, own goal 1.

Also that season… Stan Mortensen scored a hat-trick for Blackpool in the FA Cup final but the game was remembered for the contribution of his team mate, 38 year old Stanley Matthews. Blackpool beat Bolton 4-3 in the (Matthews) final, and Mortensen’s hat-trick remains the only one in a Wembley FA Cup final.

And – Marilyn Monroe graced the cover of first ever edition of Playboy magazine in December

Tom Whittaker became the Arsenal club’s new manager in 1947.

During WW2 he was an Royal Air Force pilot and achieved the rank of Squadron Leader.

For his service in missions on D-Day, he was awarded an MBE.

Tom Whittaker’s league record –

Games 378, Won 171, Drawn 101, Lost 106,

Goals for 677, Goals against 509,

Goals for per game 1.79, Goals against per game 1.35

Points won 58.6%.

Average League Position 5.22

Total # of trophies won – 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 Charity Shields.

Arsenal Footballer (1931-52) Leslie Compton serving a pint to Tom Whittaker in Compton’s pub in Henley

Sadly Tom passed away far too early from a heart attack in 1956, aged 58.

Written by GunnerN5

 


The best Arsenal players NEVER to have won a major trophy with us

October 4, 2017

mickydidit89 says:

October 2, 2017 at 7:30 pm

Lads lads lads

Had an idea for a mini series of posts

  1. The best Arsenal players NEVER to have won a major trophy with us
  2. The worst Arsenal player to HAVE won a major trophy with us
  3. The best player for us who then did jack shit after leaving
  4. The player who did jackest shitest for us who went on to greater things elsewhere

Wha’d’ya reckon?

While the great hopes of English International Football snuggle up for two weeks, we’re left in the void, picking our noses and scratching our arses. Bloody awful situation.

Things at Arsenal are looking considerably brighter than at the onset of the last ghastly international break, and frankly, while Arsene continues to pick the right players, in the right positions, and we continue winning, there’s bugger all to moan about, so I’m afraid we’re treading water until we play Watford.

Let’s start with No.1 from above and see how we get on. I use the term “major trophy” and by that I’d say League, FA Cup or a European thingy.

courtesy of Stuart MacFarlane

Some of you can be really quite nit-picky and will talk about squad members who don’t really play but get medals and shit like that, so if that’s your bag, then fine. The detail is not my thing.

Written by MickyDidIt89


Premier League Top 6 Teams – Next 6 Games

October 3, 2017

(Before we start I realize that Burnley is currently in sixth position on goal difference but this post is about the most likely top six at the end of the next six games).

Here is each team’s schedule of the next six games plus their current standings.

Man C has the easiest looking games as they only play 1 other top 6 team – Arsenal at home.

Man U’s run of 7 easy games is over and they face Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea in the next 6.

 

Tottenham play 3 top 6 teams Liverpool at home and Manu and Arsenal away.

Chelsea play Man U at home and Liverpool away.

This could be a great opportunity for Arsenal to move up the table but their 2 games against the top 6 look tough.

Liverpool could drop out of the top 6 as they are vulnerable on defence and play 3 high scoring top 6 teams.

My question to you is in what order do you see the teams after the next 6 games?

Written by GunnerN5