#Flashback Friday – Arsenal v Middlesbrough: Part Two
By Robert Exley
Recalling the history of the fixture ahead of the weekend’s visit
For Boro in the late sixties and early seventies, there would be a run of six consecutive top half finishes in the second tier, which meant that for a few years they were knocking on the door of top flight football. In October 1969, Boro suffered a 0-4 defeat to QPR in front of the cameras of ‘The Big Match’. Despite this, on two separate occasions they finished as high as fourth in the table. In 1970/71, the cameras would capture a 4-3 away win over Cardiff City. That same season, Boro eliminated Man Utd from the FA Cup in the third round. After holding United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford, three days later at a snowy Ayresome Park the side from the North East would run out 2-1 winners.
The following season, Boro would sign former Man Utd and England World Cup hero Nobby Stiles, also the ITV cameras would capture a 3-4 defeat to Terry Neill’s Hull City. In 1972/73, Boro achieved another high finish in fourth place, however they were a good fourteen points off of promotion. Boro manager Stan Anderson, who had been in charge of the club since their drop to the third tier seven years earlier handed in his resignation in January 1973. Alf Ramsey’s World Cup winning assistant manager Harold Shepherdson took over as caretaker boss until the end of the season, before the appointment of Jack Charlton who had only just retired from football and would arrive at Ayresome Park on his thirty eighth birthday.
According to his autobiography, Charlton laid down the law to the board at Middlesbrough with them effectively handing over to him the running of the club. He refused to sign a contact with Boro and accepted a lower salary than the board at Ayresome Park were willing to offer as long as a gentlemen’s agreement was in place that they would never fire him, that they would never interfere with team affairs and that they would allow him to only work three days a week so he could partake in his hobbies of fishing and shooting. Their concessions however paid off, as Jack got Boro back up to the top tier at the first attempt, with a side that included a young Graeme Souness (whose name mid-1970s commentators often oddly pronounced as ‘Sour-ness’) as who was rejected by Spurs just a couple of years earlier, as well as the prematurely balding David Armstrong and David Mills.
In September 1973, the cameras of LWT’s ‘The Big Match’ captured a 3-2 win over Crystal Palace in September. Like Jack Charlton’s old club in 1973/74, Middlesbrough were also running away with it in the second tier. After a run of seven straight wins, with a fifteen point gap over second place Luton, the Boro found themselves in a position to secure promotion at the end of March. According to his autobiography, Charlton wanted to secure promotion for Boro at home and told his players to settle for a draw. His players however ignored his instructions and beat Luton Town 1-0 at Kennilworth Road. The following week, the Second Division title was secured with a 4-0 win over Notts County – their ninth straight win.
After a reasonable start to 1974/75, Boro received a visit from Coventry City and played out a 4-4 draw before the cameras of local ITV station Tyne Tees for their weekly football highlights show ‘Shoot!’ with commentary from former voice of the BBC, Kenneth ‘they think it’s all over’ Wolstenholme. Despite being a football mad area, Tyne Tees’s coverage was poor in comparison to other ITV regions, as the station only possessed one Outside Broadcast unit, which was often required for racing coverage from Newcastle for ITV’s Saturday afternoon equivalent to Grandstand ‘World of Sport’. Because of this, Tyne Tees were unable to cover a local match, and viewers often instead had to watch LWT’s ‘The Big Match’. The station’s snapping up of Wolstenholme, who was cruelly discarded by the BBC in 1971, was an attempt to revamp the station’s football coverage.
The following week, Middlesbrough pulled off a 3-2 away win over that year’s eventual title winners Derby County at the Baseball Ground. In November, Boro visited reigning champions Leeds United who were now under the management of Jimmy Armfield after Don Revie took the England job and Brian Clough was sacked after forty four days. On Jack Charlton’s return to Elland Road, Boro came from two goals down to pull off a 2-2 draw. A fortnight later would be Boro’s first visit to Highbury in nearly two decades. A goal from Liam Brady and a penalty from Alan Ball gave Arsenal a 2-0 win.
In the FA Cup, Jack Charlton’s side would be drawn against non-league Wycombe Wanderers, which would be captured for posterity by LWT’s ‘The Big Match’. Boro would be held to a 0-0 draw. In the replay back at Ayresome Park, Boro would progress with a 1-0 win. Ten days later would be Arsenal’s return to Ayresome Park in mid-January 1975, where the two sides played out a 0-0 draw. A week later, back in the FA Cup Boro would defeat North East rivals Sunderland 3-1. Boro got as far as the Quarter Finals before losing 0-1 away to Birmingham. One week later, Graeme Souness proved his point to Spurs by scoring against them in a 3-0 win at Ayresome Park.
At the end of their first season back in the top flight, Boro achieved the respectable finish of seventh place (Arsenal in comparison finished sixteenth and just four points off relegation in 1974/75). The following season, Middlesbrough visited Highbury in October. Arsenal ran out 2-1 winners with goals for Alex Cropley and a nineteen year old Frank Stapleton, while David Mills would be on target for Boro. In February 1976, Arsenal managed their first victory at Ayresome Park for a quarter of a century as a goal for John Radford secured a 1-0 win. Boro’s second season in the top flight under Jack Charlton saw them finish further down in the table, this time in thirteenth position (four places above Arsenal in seventeenth), though in 1975/76 Boro made progress in the Cups.
Middlesbrough reached the Semi Finals of the League Cup against Manchester City and led 1-0 after the first leg at Ayresome Park. In the second leg however, they were hammered 0-4 back at Maine Road. Boro also won their first honour in the shape of the inaugural Anglo-Scottish Cup with a 1-0 win over the previous season’s FA Cup runners up, Fulham. Jack Charlton lasted one further season at Ayresome Park and in February 1977 inflicted two heavy defeats on an Arsenal side now managed by Terry Neill within the space of eleven days. In the League, Arsenal suffered a 0-3 defeat with goals from Peter Brine, David Armstrong and David Mills. Arsenal returned in the fifth round of the FA Cup and goals for David Armstrong and a hat-trick for David Mills inflicted a 1-4 defeat on the Gunners, with Arsenal’s goal scored by Malcolm McDonald.
In the summer of 1976, members of the Middlesbrough board had felt that Jack Charlton was overstepping the mark with regard to his authority on decision making and voted to sack him. The club’s chairman however over-ruled the board and he remained for one further season. At the end of the 1976/77 season however, Charlton decided that he couldn’t take the side any further and resigned. He was replaced by Wrexham manager John Neal and one week later brought his new side to Highbury to face Arsenal. Goals for Arsenal’s Frank Stapleton and Boro’s Graeme Souness meant a 1-1 draw. Three games into 1977/78, Boro picked up a 2-0 win over local rivals Newcastle with two goals for David Armstrong which included a superb free kick curler @0.50.
Arsenal visited Ayresome Park in early December, where a Middlesbrough own goal gave the Gunners a 1-0 win. Middlesbrough’s visit to Highbury that season came on the final Saturday of the season one week before their FA Cup final meeting with Ipswich Town. A Frank Stapleton goal gave Arsenal a 1-0 win. Meanwhile, though the town of Middlesbrough lacked the famous fictional TV characters that their North East neighbours on Tyneside had with the Likely Lads, Auf Wiedersehen Pet or Byker Grove, Teeside had to make do with the Christopher Biggins character of Lukewarm from the recently reprised prison sitcom ‘Porridge’.
In the first episode of the spin off series of ‘Going Straight’ @15.23, Fletch cites the hard inflexible nature of Middlesbrough FC as an example of Lukewarm’s difficulty reintegrating into society on parole, though around this period the Boro lost one hard inflexible aspect of their play with Graeme Souness transferring to Liverpool. In late September 1978, Arsenal came back from Teeside with a 3-2 win secured by goals from David O’Leary, David Price and Steve Walford, while Billy Ashcroft and David Mills were on target for Boro. One week ahead of Christmas 1978, Boro thrashed Chelsea 7-2, which was caught before the TV cameras, sadly only one goal from Mark Procter is available on YouTube. The following February, Arsenal and Boro played out a 0-0 draw back at Highbury.
In 1979/80, Middlesbrough came to Highbury in September. Goals for Alan Sunderland and Frank Stapleton gave Arsenal a 2-0 win. That same term was a seventy game season for Arsenal, told in full in my article for the Online Gooner in 2013. After losing the 1980 FA Cup Final to West Ham and the European Cup Winners Cup Final to Valencia, game number seventy came away to Middlesbrough five days later with a 2-1 away win over Wolves in between. Arsenal required a win to secure qualification for the UEFA Cup for the 1980/81 season. However, a fan called Tony Turner, quoted in John Spurling’s account of Arsenal in the 1980s - ‘All Guns Blazing’ stated: ‘as I looked around at the Arsenal fans, they looked like the team; knackered and glazed’.
An Arsenal side dead on their feet suffered a 0-5 hammering at Ayresome Park and by all accounts it could have been an even heavier defeat. This was also the game in which Pat Rice, Sammy Nelson and Liam Brady played their final game for Arsenal with goals for future Liverpool pair Craig Johnston and David Hodgson, as well as Dave Shearer and two for David Armstrong. The following September, Arsenal minus Liam Brady returned to Ayresome Park and suffered a 1-2 defeat with goals for Mark Procter and David Armstrong, while Graham Rix was on target for the Gunners. Two weeks later at Ayresome Park, the Match of the Day cameras captured a 6-1 hammering of Norwich City.
Two months on, title challenging Aston Villa came to Ayresome Park. Boro however managed to scupper Villa’s chances with a fourth straight game without a win, as the North East side ran out 2-1 winners. In the third round of the FA Cup, Boro met second tier promotion challengers, John Toshack’s Swansea City away from home. John Neal’s side however scuppered a giant killing with a 5-0 win. Boro’s visit to Highbury in 1980/81 came at the end of February. The two sides played out a 2-2 draw, with goals from Frank Stapleton and a John Hollins penalty, while on the scoresheet for Boro would be Dave Shearer and another for David Armstrong.
Meanwhile, in late April, Middlesbrough visited Villa Park to meet top of the league Aston Villa. A 0-3 defeat for Boro meant that Villa were just one point away from winning the title, which they duly did a week later at Highbury despite Arsenal beating them 2-0. As for Boro, they finished the season in fourteenth position and never once rose above mid-table. During the close season, John Neal left Ayresome Park to take over at Stamford Bridge as Chelsea manager. Former player Bobby Murdoch took over after Neal’s departure in July 1981, though with the loss of David Armstrong to Southampton and Craig Johnston to Liverpool by late October a 2-3 away defeat to West Ham left Boro languishing in the relegation zone.
By the time of their visit to Highbury in mid-February 1982, Boro were anchored to the bottom of the table and seven points adrift of safety. A 1-0 win for Arsenal in front of a paltry 13,738 fans, secured by a goal from Graham Rix made matters worse for Boro. Also dragged into a relegation dogfight were their North East neighbours Sunderland. Boro though were given hope with a 2-0 win at Roker Park which lifted them off of the bottom. One month later however, as Arsenal visited Ayresome Park at the start of May, Boro were back at the foot of the table.
Middlesbrough took the lead with a goal from Mick Baxter. However goals for Brian Talbot, Paul Davis and Graham Rix meant a 3-1 win for Arsenal and Boro needing six points from a possible nine in their last three games, as well as other results going their way in order to survive in the top tier. Boro managed to win their next two games against Notts County and Swansea, however a West Brom win over Notts County meant that Boro were needing a win over Champions Liverpool in their final game to stay up. A 0-0 draw at Ayresome Park (in which as many as seven Boro players had played their final game for the club) sealed their fate.
In 1982/83, Middlesbrough’s poor form carried on into the second tier, spending most of the season in the bottom half of the table. In October 1982, the flamboyant Malcolm Allison took over as manager at Ayresome Park. One bright spot for Boro was progression to the fifth round of the FA Cup, where they would be drawn at home to Arsenal. Graham Rix gave Arsenal the lead, however a late equaliser from Heine Otto earned Boro a replay with a 1-1 draw. In the replay nine days later, as Jon Spurling described in ‘All Guns Blazing’: ‘David Shearer, the Boro centre forward, played the game of his life….scoring two excellent goals and a thudding another drive against the post’.
At two down, goals for Paul Davis and Tony Woodcock pulled the Gunners level. Spurling goes on to describe that: ‘Highbury became a frenzy of nervous energy. At 2-2, as the clock ticked towards full time, Brian Talbot summoned up the resources to dash from his own area into their box and crash in our ejaculatory winner’. After Arsenal’s 3-2 win, five days later back in the League, a deflated Middlesbrough side were hammered 1-6 over on QPR’s plastic pitch (Rangers at the time managed by former Allison managerial protégé Terry Venables). Boro finished 1982/83 in sixteenth position and just three points away from relegation, while Arsenal progressed to the Semi Final of the FA Cup losing to Man Utd.
That defeat was the beginning of the end for Terry Neill’s reign and by the end of 1983 the Ulsterman was sacked as Arsenal manager. Exactly three weeks on, caretaker manager Don Howe’s Arsenal side were again drawn away to Middlesbrough for the second season on the bounce, this time in the third round of the FA Cup. After a period of five defeats out of six prior to Neill’s sacking, over Christmas 1983 Arsenal managed two wins and three draws. Jon Spurling described that the ‘away fans’ only entertainment for long spells was dodging the masonry which locals lobbed in their direction’. Goals for Garry MacDonald and Peter Sugrue put Boro two goals up, before Charlie Nicholas and Graham Rix pulled Arsenal level. With twenty minutes to go however, a header from Mick Baxter found the net and inflicted a 2-3 defeat on the Gunners.
Defeating Arsenal however was not enough to save Allison his job and he was sacked by Boro at the end of March 1984. Big Malc refused to sell his best players and even went as far as to state that it was: ‘better for the club to die than to linger slowly on its deathbed’. Jack Charlton took over as caretaker manager until the end of the season and in April 1985, the club was forced to obtain a loan of £30,000 from the Professional Footballers’ Association to pay the players’ wages. In wider society, by the mid-1980s the voodoo economics of the Thatcher government had been shrinking the economy of the North East and in turn the attendances and finances of Middlesbrough FC, exacerbating the club’s decline.
One year on from their heroics against Arsenal, Boro were drawn against lower division local rivals Darlington. In the first game at Ayresome Park, the two sides played out a 0-0 draw and three days later at Darlington’s Feethams Road ground after going two goals down a pitch invasion occurred and delayed the game for ten minutes and left police officers hospitalized. Boro pulled one back but ultimately crashed to a 1-2 defeat. Worse was to follow for Boro in 1985/86, after falling out of the top two divisions for only the second time in their history on finishing second from bottom. The turmoil on the pitch however was only half the story.
Off the pitch, Boro were placed in the hands of a liquidator to deal with over £2 million of debt and by July the Inland Revenue claimed over £115,000 in tax arrears which the club couldn’t afford, leading to a winding up order to be issued and a padlock placed on the gates of Ayresome Park. On the board of Middlesbrough for the last two years had been twenty six year old local Labour party councillor and haulage company owner Steve Gibson, who raised a consortium which included the local council, ICI, the Scottish & Newcastle Brewery and race horse owner Henry Moszkowicz.
Three days ahead of the start of the 1986/87 season, in which Boro were lined up to play Port Vale at Hartlepool United’s Victoria Park stadium, the Football League ruled that Boro had to have £350,000 in working capital and show it could pay all creditors in full by midday on the Friday before the game, before they could be allowed compete in the old Division Three that season. The local ITV station – Tyne Tees TV – had already pronounced the club as dead, though with just ten minutes to go before the deadline was due to expire the Football League granted permission for the newly formed Middlesbrough Football & Athletic Company (1986) Ltd. to compete.
The shenanigans of the summer of 1986 meant that the Boro side (now managed by future Arsenal boss Bruce Rioch since the end of the previous season) had played no pre-season friendlies whatsoever. In their opening fixture with Port Vale, Boro took a two goal lead though were ultimately pegged back to a 2-2 draw. Four games into the season, Boro returned to Ayresome Park. The efforts of Bruce Rioch’s side on the pitch overshadowed the finances of Boro off the pitch and an run of fifteen games unbeaten (eleven wins, four draws), meant automatic promotion as third tier runners up as covered here in an end of season review by BBC’s Look North.
The momentum of Bruce Rioch’s side, which included upcoming young local stars such as Gary Pallister, Tony Mowbray and Stuart Ripley, took Boro further. By the following February, Boro were in contention for a second promotion on the bounce and featured on a rare occasion in which ITV’s ‘The Big Match’ covered a Live game outside of the top tier, when top of the table Aston Villa turned up at Ayresome Park in February 1988. Villa took the lead with a goal from Tony Daley, before goals from Alan Kernaghan and Tony Mowbray in the last ten minutes gave Middlesbrough a 2-1 win and pushed them up to third place. At the end of April, despite never having played in the top tier, twenty two year old Boro centre half Gary Pallister made his England debut alongside Tony Adams in a friendly with Hungary which ended 0-0.
Two weeks later, Boro required a win at home to Leicester to secure their passage back to the top tier, however though this chance was fluffed with a 1-2 defeat, their passage to the play offs was secured. Under the old play-off format, after beating Bradford City in the Semi Finals, Boro faced a Chelsea side who finished one place above the bottom three in the old Division One, in what was a two legged final. In the first leg at Ayresome Park, goals from Trevor Senior and Bernie Slaven gave Boro a 2-0 first leg win. Back at Stamford Bridge in the Second Leg, Chelsea could only pull just one goal back meaning a 2-1 win for Boro on aggregate. This meant that Boro were back in the top flight, while Chelsea were relegated (a defeat which their fans dealt with in good grace – by invading the pitch and rioting!).
Rioch’s achievements received praise from none other than Boro legend Wilf Mannion. On their return to the top flight in 1988/89, Boro’s first Tyne-Tees derby at St. James’s Park with a beleaguered Newcastle side at the foot of the table ended in a 0-3 defeat with an own goal from Gary Pallister and two goals from Mirandinha (the first ever Brazilian import to top flight English football). Ahead of Boro’s first visit to Highbury since their promotion, five Arsenal players were selected to start in an England international away in Saudi Arabia – who were Alan Smith, David Rocastle, Michael Thomas, Brian Marwood and Tony Adams.
The latter was partnered with Boro’s Gary Pallister in the centre of defence and also got himself on the scoresheet in a 1-1 draw (looking at this footage, it’s hard to imagine there being as many empty seats today should so many stars of the English game be playing a match in the Middle East). The following Saturday at Highbury, two goals for Paul Merson and a sublime solo goal from David Rocastle gave Arsenal a 3-0 win and a fourth straight victory for the Gunners which narrowed Norwich City’s lead at the top of the table to just two points.
The two sides were to meet again three weeks on at Manchester’s G-Mex arena for the Guinness Soccer Six tournament which, in the days of the post-Heysel European ban was regularly shown on BBC’s ‘Sportsnight’. This footage is a rarity in that it was Kenny Sansom’s final appearance in an Arsenal shirt (side lined as he was by George Graham throughout the first half of 1988/89, before transferring to Newcastle United) as well as an appearance from FA Youth Cup winning squad member Dino Connelly. It also includes two superb goals from Gus Caesar and Perry Groves (bet you never saw that sentence coming!) in a 2-0 win.
Despite reaching as high as seventh in the top tier in 1988/89, Boro’s form nosedived in the second half of the season. At the end of March, Boro were in thirteenth position when they played out a 3-3 draw with Everton. Arsenal visited Ayresome Park in the League on the penultimate Saturday of the season. A goal from Martin Hayes gave Arsenal a 1-0 win, which gave George Graham’s side an eight point lead over Liverpool, who because of the Post-Hillsborough fixture backlog had two games in hand over Arsenal. Defeat for Boro however left them hanging perilously above the relegation zone by just one point, though Sheffield Wednesday in eighteenth place had two games in hand.
Ironically, Boro’s final game of the season would be away against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough (as you can see from this footage, the Leppings Lane end was still closed off after the disaster of just a few weeks prior). A 0-1 defeat for Boro meant Wednesday had overhauled them and that like their North East neighbours Newcastle, they too would be dropping down to the second tier. In 1989/90, Newcastle and Middlesbrough would clash on the final day of the season, with the Geordies looking to secure automatic promotion back to the top flight, while Boro were languishing in the relegation zone and needing a win to avoid another drop to the third tier. An emphatic 4-1 win kept Boro up, while Newcastle had to do with a play-off place and a denial of an instant return after losing to their other North Eastern rivals, Sunderland.
That same year, Boro would also reach Wembley in the Zenith Data Systems Cup Final, though would lose 0-1 to Chelsea. Bruce Rioch meanwhile had left Boro to take up the vacant manager’s job at Millwall. Boro’s fortunes however though would turn around with the appointment of former Charlton manager Lennie Lawrence. In 1991/92, Boro secured their place in the line-up for the inaugural Premiership season after finishing runners up in the old Second Division, secured by a 2-1 win over Wolves on the last day.
And - as will be seen in Part three which will feature next April, when Arsenal visit Teeside, the Premiership era for Boro would bring a change of home, the rise of boyhood fan Steve Gibson to chairman and majority shareholder, as well as another prolonged spell within the top tier of English football.
21st October 2016 09:00:00
Comments and Reaction
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Jamie 13:00pm 21st Oct 2016
Thanks as ever for an informative article, Robert. Just to clarify though - the 5-0 hammering at the end of the 79/80 season was the match in which Rice and Nelson 'started' their final first team game. However, each made minor substitute appearances in the 1980/81 season with Rice coming on at Coventry and Liverpool, with Nelson coming on in midfield (with Sansom at Left Back) in the final match of the season when Aston Villa clinched the league at Highbury. - Post No. 99540
Ron 17:25pm 21st Oct 2016
Love Robert's posts about these match histories! Look at that kit from back then guys. Proper Arsenal kit. A football kit as it should be It would look out of place if used today though as its not nancyfied enough! It encapsulates Arsenal but reminds us (me any way) of what we ve now lost. Ant offers who that is? Rice maybe? Alex Cropley? I cant really tell. - Post No. 99541
Jamie 18:55pm 21st Oct 2016
It's Pat Rice, Ron. Cropley was blonde and skinny as a rake. - Post No. 99542
Redshirtswhitesleeves 9:36am 22nd Oct 2016
Yes Ron, that was the kit Arsenal had when I started getting into footy as a young boy, not just the ultimate Arsenal kit but in my (biased) opinion the best footy strip of all time, if I ran the club we would still be playing in it now! - Post No. 99546
Far far away fan 13:56pm 22nd Oct 2016
Wilshere looks horrible. Bournemouth are suffering because of Arsene. What game are you watching Rupert? - Post No. 99548
Smithy 15:53pm 22nd Oct 2016
So far it is after the Lord Mayors show- let's hope we put in some more effort after half time - bring on Perez , iwobi and Adelaide ! - Post No. 99549
Far far away fan 16:52pm 22nd Oct 2016
Not surprised how poor we are. Get rid of Walcott, for heaven's sake. Can't stand Ozil's dull face - Post No. 99550
GS 16:54pm 22nd Oct 2016
Reality check , shame winning run ended at home , 2pts dropped , boro could have snatched it too, no dressing room selfies today boys ?? - Post No. 99551
jeff wright 16:59pm 22nd Oct 2016
Drab typical result against ordinary oppo once the pressure was onto go top .Wengo's birthday as well ...you couldn't make it up. - Post No. 99552
Mad Monk 17:07pm 22nd Oct 2016
Awful performance can't wait for the usual excuses such as the player's were slightly fatigued after their efforts on Wednesday against a crap team who were made to look quite good ( regardless of the score) So what if we are top it won't be for long. Same team same substitution's at the same time with no change to the formation. We will never win anything with second rate player's such as Coquelin Walcott or uninterested lazy sods like Ozil - Post No. 99553
Bonzo 17:14pm 22nd Oct 2016
Those two imbecile Wenger fanboys Leekey and Jambie can bitch and moan all they want. We're going to get this all season long so if our goals dry up its goodbye title. Leekey's going to be gutted as he spends more on Arsenal than everyone else put together. Apart from Westie of course who once spent the equivalent of a years wages in 1968 and never went again. - Post No. 99554
Augustus Flair 17:19pm 22nd Oct 2016
Yep, back to the same old dreary, ineffectual stuff. Two points gone against a team with one of the worst away records ever. And so history begins to repeat the endless repeats of itself. Same with the comments here, including this one. - Post No. 99555
mbg 17:38pm 22nd Oct 2016
GS, your right mate and that reality check has come even sooner than I thought it would, back down to earth with a sore arse, you see what a team with a plan and tactics can do, yes no selfies and silly hand gestures in the dressing room today I bet. wenger out. - Post No. 99556
GoonerRon 17:55pm 22nd Oct 2016
A lot of people have said how we do against the top teams will determine how we get on, but last year we were top for points against the top teams. It's these games at home where we dominate possession that we have to improve on in my opinion. Undoubtedly 2 points dropped in terms of expectations at the start of the game and a shame the winning run has ended, but need to regroup so we get back to winning ways pronto. - Post No. 99557
jeff wright 18:12pm 22nd Oct 2016
GR, the reason we dominate at home with possession is because those teams are happy to allow us to do so it's like watching paint dry all that Wengo(yawn) tippy-tappy siseways passing . These park the bus sides look to hit us on the break and on set-pieces. Kloppo's pressers have just ironed out Pulis's sweaters as it stands they look likely to go top at least until City play . Ozil and Sanchez ,Glum and Glummer, a pair of over-sexed up play-boys who failed to cut the mustard at Real and Barcelona -that's why they are with Wengo celebrating his 67th birthday . I can see him being with us when he is 70 because supporters like you keep the clown in a job. - Post No. 99558
In The Luton End When Caesar Fell 18:14pm 22nd Oct 2016
There seems to be no end to the bizarre and interesting methods with which this crew are able to access in order to shy away from securing top spot for any meaningful length of time. Last week, it was Theo's freeform jazz finishing exploration. Today, there appeared to be less bottle than an Amish cellar. But for a display of close range shot stopping that the Czech Republic Olympic ice hockey keeper would have been proud of, it could of and should of been worse. Some wag may retort along the lines of "last season we would have lost that", well great - that means we're on track for 72 points instead of the usual 71, yes? Yawn etc. - Post No. 99559
Mark from Aylesbury 18:15pm 22nd Oct 2016
Gooner Ron - can't disagree with that comment, teams will park the bus at the Emirates and at their home grounds . Plan A,B and C will be needed. - Post No. 99560
Mad Monk 18:28pm 22nd Oct 2016
Best comment of the day/month/year is on Untold some bozo wants FIFA to give out points for team's that have the greater possession! So on that assumption Ludo should have got some points on Wednesday for having more territory and more passes than Arsenal. They also state that Dean was ignoring blatant fouls and deliberately got in the way when we had the ball, no comment's about how ineffective our striker's are ( they reckon Ian Wright was a liability in his day and we don't require another of his ilk) Can't wait for Walter Mitty's match report !!! - Post No. 99561
Leek fc 18:41pm 22nd Oct 2016
The funniest thing is on this comical website whom claim to support the Arsenal is that Anusol and "always right" posted negative comments after today's game before 5pm and Jeff is back again loving every minute of the home point a while later....So called Arsenal fans..... My Arse. Quick to criticise and negative beyond belief. Grow some online gooner. Arse blog, Untold et all blow you lot away. - Post No. 99562
GS 18:44pm 22nd Oct 2016
5pts dropped at home already, why Wenger has no plan B , and maybe change things at the start of the 2nd half , rather than at 65/70mins, when away teams will dig in to protect what they have . I hope this is just a blip, but with Wengers track record and Nov coming up , maybe that's wishful thinking ......Cech saying it's tough have 4 home games in a row , don't get that ??? - Post No. 99563
GS 19:01pm 22nd Oct 2016
Er leeky : pointless comments once again, what about the game, you were there ?? How much did the day cost you? - Post No. 99564
GS 19:11pm 22nd Oct 2016
Plonker leeky: what part of my 1st post is negative? You claim to have been at the game, but do not give us your view , you just attack others who post and never have any observations about matches - you are a prized plonker and I very much doubt you are a Gooner or were at today's game . - Post No. 99565
mbg 19:11pm 22nd Oct 2016
Far far away, any chance/opportunity to make their messiah look good, the name Rupert says it all. - Post No. 99566
mbg 19:28pm 22nd Oct 2016
If only we could play Ludo every week. - Post No. 99568
jeff wright 19:30pm 22nd Oct 2016
GS, lee kfc thought West Brom play in black and white shirts he has never been to a football match in his life .He is obviously a spud on a pathetic attempted wind -up . - Post No. 99569
Leek fc 19:33pm 22nd Oct 2016
GS.... Not one but 4. Gooner my Arse. - Post No. 99570
GoonerRon 19:40pm 22nd Oct 2016
@ Jeff - you're right, some sides come to The Emirates and are definitely happy to let us dominate, that's why I said we need to improve against these teams. We've been really good at scoring first this season and that is a crucial factor in these games. As for me keeping Wenger in a job, you hit the nail on the head but calling me a supporter - give me that any day over being a follower of the club who refers to a 6-0 win as a farce. FYI - (I'm sure you're gutted but) we are still top. - Post No. 99571
GS 19:43pm 22nd Oct 2016
Leeky: why don't you ever answer a question, always avoiding them... Try these: 1. How much did it cost you today ? ( we're you really there ) 2. What was your view of the game 3. Do you know your Arsenal from your elbow 4. Tell me what you know about Santa falling off the roof .....I doubt I will get an answer , just more abuse, which is your style . - Post No. 99572
mbg 19:51pm 22nd Oct 2016
Always the sign and proof it's a top top blog/website when others come on slagging it off and bigging others up. - Post No. 99573
GS 19:56pm 22nd Oct 2016
mbg: parasites most of them , if untold is the gospel , why do they bother pushing on here, might be cos they are allowed to and not banned like Untold where any anti Wenger views are not allow,.....lets see if leeky answers any of the questions, he claims he went to today game but offers no view of the performance , just comes on here to have a pop at others . - Post No. 99575
mbg 20:02pm 22nd Oct 2016
Funnily enough was just waiting for someone to come on with the immortal AKB statement, but we're still top, lol you couldn't make it up. - Post No. 99576
Leek fc 20:16pm 22nd Oct 2016
So because my opinion is different to others on here. Anusol has to have me answering every question that is relevant to him. Having a raving hard on at 16:54 because we took a point today sums you and your negative pals up. - Post No. 99578
GoonerRon 20:17pm 22nd Oct 2016
Ironically, I was just waiting for one of the WOB brigade to moan about someone daring to mention we're top, as if a club you support leading the league is a bad thing. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 99579
jjetplane 20:22pm 22nd Oct 2016
'Whom claim to support the Arsenal' sayeth Leekspeare of Untold Dubai. According to Untold of Belgium this was the day Santi (little smirky Santi) was needed to break into the bus parketh doth upon fielding of Hollween. Tis jester like to report that the man of Czeh with fortified head was the monster at the heart of such broken birthday jousting with selfeth displayed merrily half naked in the fellowes changing quarters. **** it - Asano are pants and much bleeding of nostrils will verily spoil the very long time of the Ostrich. Amen .... - Post No. 99580
jeff wright 20:29pm 22nd Oct 2016
It's where we are in May that counts GR and I know it will not be on top of the table.The 6-0 was a farce -today's result was a reality check on that. Will United win 4-1 tomorrow>? Perspective is needed when looking at results .Glum posting selfies of himself and the other clowns after the 6-0 win is par for the course with them doing it after beating Leicester at home ,rather fortunately and we all know how that worked out. Tbh we have been more than a tad fortunate recently with results when things have gone our way - but luck is a transient thing and today you would have to be very tunnel-visioned to believe that we deserved to beat Boro. In reality we were fortunate to nick a point off them. Wengo has struggled for donkeys years to find a way to beat these park the bus sides he drops points at home every season against them since he started playing tippy-tappy pass the parcel football .He will drop more before the season is done . The Bulgers the other night were not clued up like Prem sides are when they come to the Coliseum of profits. Wengo is and has been for donkeys years a busted flush just making up the numbers in Europe and in the Prem -if you and others are happy with that bully for you - but please don't try and dress this up as meaning that you are true supporters -true supporters want to see the back of all of this yawn inducing Wengo malakey that he serves up season after dreary season in Europe - where and now I will become a prophet and predict that another hammering is waiting for us - plus the usual ,as in today's case, the cowardly cave-ins in the Prem when the chance to lay down a marker is there - but are NEVER made . Wengo will win nothing this season again and you can write down the number of this post and tell me about it in May ! I'm confident that I will be proven right. I gave up on the optimism years ago with Wenger - who in my view is a cretin of the highest order. He just never sees these results like today's coming does he>? Once again the clown was unable to think on his feet he just made his pre-planned subs 10 minutes earlier - not that they made any difference - Wengo's tactics or what passes for them just stayed - as is always the case - the same .He really is clueless sitting there hoping that something will happen as against Swansea so he can do his smug little smile and weird one off the wrist with his clenched hand celeb.Today as is the cae now and then every season against average teams at home he came up short and deservedly so.The sooner he is gone the better it can't come soon enough for many of us. - Post No. 99581
GS 20:42pm 22nd Oct 2016
Leeky : you haven't got a scooby have you, this is a fans site for all views , even yours , if we follow your logic , all is well. You claim you went to the game, so what was your view ?? - nothing , you remain silent , except to have a pop at others , you claim you spend more than others following Afc, so I ask , how much did you spend today --- you are a teolling fraud who knows f all about Afc , you have never posted any evidence ... I have at least bought " 3 bags of sweets for a £1 " , can you say the same .... I await another ambiguous reply . - Post No. 99582
Leek fc 21:36pm 22nd Oct 2016
GS. How about if I send you the match day programme and you can raise a proper hard one thumbing through it with your mate Bonzo. - Post No. 99583
GS 21:52pm 22nd Oct 2016
Leeky : how's about posting something about football/Arsenal , rather than justify your existence , so you bought a programme , your a bigger muppet than I thought , match day programme ?? More like Wengers propaganda- he claims the players were a little tired from weds night , excuses again, we were 4-0 up by 55mins, why did he not rest players then ?? If your happy with his pathetic excuses, good luck to you , enjoy your programme . - Post No. 99584
GoonerRon 22:23pm 22nd Oct 2016
@ Jeff - why was the 6-0 a farce and why is today a reality check? We were really incisive then and weren't today. It happens. I'm sure we'll drop points at home in the rest of the season, most teams will, it's to what extent we minimise the lost points that will count. Whether we deserved to beat Boro today is largely irrelevant - we've won games we didn't deserve to and lost games we should have won - welcome to the world of being a football supporter. It's funny how you're quite happy to criticise the club for apparently NEVER laying down a marker, yet you very rarely provide any positivity after a victory so it's highly unlikely you'd even know (let alone acknowledge) that we've ever laid down a marker in any case. - Post No. 99585
jeff wright 22:41pm 22nd Oct 2016
GR, I have not seen any markers laid down regarding challenging for the title for years I will avoid mentioning Europe ! The last proper challenge was way back in 1004 .You make rather a lot out of wins such as the 6-0 one GR when in reality just like United's 4-1 win over ordinary opponents they are just red herrings following in the wake of the trawler .Wengo always ends up trailing someone in the Prem EVERY season -that is a fact .That can't be down to bad luck but rather his bad management .Youi know and so does everyone else that Wengo should have won the Prem last season but he was not upto doing it . He will not be up to doing it this season either and no amount of excuses about the vagaries of football results will change this. Wengo's 'a leetle tired' after playing at home midweek is a pathetic one .Leicester also played midweek -amazing how they managed to win today though ! - Post No. 99586
jeff wright 22:52pm 22nd Oct 2016
Even 2004! Mind you it seems like 1004 since we last made a title tilt . - Post No. 99587
GoonerRon 23:23pm 22nd Oct 2016
@ Jeff - I didn't make a lot of our 6-0 win, I chose to mention that game given your stunning assessment of it being a farce. Just on the laying down a marker comment - you said "plus the usual ,as in today's case, the cowardly cave-ins in the Prem when the chance to lay down a marker is there - but are NEVER made." So just say we beat Boro today and I said in comments 'we've laid done a marker' - would you have agreed with me? Or perhaps your not-laying-down-a-marker bashing is just a convenient hindsight covered stick to bash Wenger with.... - Post No. 99588
Bonzo 7:48am 23rd Oct 2016
Leek the squeak is hammering hard on that extra large keyboard of his. Words have always been difficult so memorising Wenger must stay is the best policy. Poor squeaks getting like Westie with his bitching and moaning on how much he spends on his Arsenal. Probably like Westie he never gets to a game either. Preferring Pokemon instead. The cretin Jambie aka Rupert goes on about couch potatoes, well lardarse as I've just been prepping for another half marathon you've been a supping potato Juice in that old rust bucket of yours. You Sir are a Potato sizzled buffoon. - Post No. 99590
Bard 8:53am 23rd Oct 2016
Whilst yesterday wasnt a disaster by any means it confirmed my view that as well as fragile defence we still havent addressed the striker issue. We still need far too many chances to score goals. Theo is his usual self and Sanchez isnt a striker. Add in Weng's lack of tactical nous and I dont see a real challenge. We have struggled against the last three Prem teams who have all been relegation fodder , we looked unconvincing against Swansea, lucky beyond belief against Burnley and 0-0 against a side in the bottom 5. Not title challenging form. On a different note, if our squad is as strong as Weng says why doesnt he rotate instead of playing moreoroless the same players and then come out with tiredness as an excuse ? - Post No. 99591
Mad Monk 9:44am 23rd Oct 2016
A lot of comments about 'fickle fan's' and 'so called fan's' on here. We fan's were sold a vision of moving to a grand stadium where we would compete with the best but this has failed to evolve, why? Only one person to blame for that! I went every week during the 70's and 80s not expecting to win anything but now I demand that we at least compete. Please don't tell me about finishing 2nd last season we were well and truly out of contention long before the season ended and cannot see any change this one either. We could have truly put a marker down against a 2nd rate team but we huffed and puffed and should really have lost. - Post No. 99593
Bonzo 10:02am 23rd Oct 2016
Rupert - I can't be arsed this time to merge your name so I will just refer to you as Jambie (Jamerson + Bambie). Quick question! Wasps Rugby club players had a boat party very similar to your Caravan swinging. Did you gain inspiration from them? Or as a billionaire man about town did you introduce the behaviour to them? I think they may have left soggy biscuits on the poop deck. - Post No. 99594
Nick 10:38am 23rd Oct 2016
So as has been the way of things for far too long we once again FAILED to take advantage of our rivals not playing or dropping points ! And as usual against a perceived lesser team whose only ambition was to defend and hope to steal a goal and perhaps the extra two points ! It happens far too often and I'm not buying the playing midweek excuse ! A win yesterday even in a grind it out fashion would have sent a strong message to our rivals as it is they now know it's the same old Arsenal with questionable bottle ! There is much talk of our strong squad and of rotation but Wenger only rotates it would seem where he absolutely has to with the exception of the league cup of course ! The league cup is wide open with so many premier league big boys playing each other and us with a relatively easy task vs Reading it's a competition we could go all the way in and others before us have used it as a springboard for title success but I doubt Wenger sees it that way even though it's a cup he has never won , like the CL except that the league cup is winnable the CL is NOT ! Oh well rant over and a note to self MANAGE MY EXPECTATIONS this is the ARSENAL under Wenger were talking about! Wise not to allow hope to enter your thinking! - Post No. 99595
mbg 0:25am 24th Oct 2016
Nick, we've been doing that now for season after season mate, and what have we been told every time it happens ? and will again no doubt tomorrow when TOF and wally make an appearance to tell us so ? we've learned from it etc, but of course they haven't they never do, it's the mentality of the manager he never learns, that's beneath him, and on and on we go until he goes. - Post No. 99632
Nick 11:06am 24th Oct 2016
Mby I do believe that was exactly the point I was making mate,as a Gooner who bleeds red not white I do however always HOPE for better but as I said I should KNOW better. - Post No. 99641
27th April 2017
Online Ed: Arsenal leave it late v Leicester in front of subdued crowd