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GCR Books

Do trophies really matter? Only up to a point.

Arsenal’s season 1992/3 is one that, if remembered at all, is remembered for a unique double achieved by George Graham: the FA Cup and the League Cup.

I was there, and I followed the club that season, and of course celebrated the fact that we were the first club to win the cup double.

But at the time I despaired.  Despaired because of the awful league form of the club.  Not so much because we came 10th but because we were so utterly awful and boring boring boring,

Yes, of course, under Wenger I’ve chanted Boring Boring Arsenal in a reflection of just how the club has changed – but in that Cup Double season we were indeed boring boring and boring.

Let me give an example:

Arsenal scored four goals in 14 league matches between 21 November and 1 March 1993 on which day the result was Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0.  During that period Arsenal won just two league games, both away, both 0-1 against Man City and Oldham.

Our high scoring matches that season were

  • Arsenal 3 Coventry 0
  • Arsenal 4 Southampton 3
  • Arsenal 3 Crystal Palace 0

That was it.  We scored three plus goals just three times that season.

A look at the final table shows just how our goal scoring worked that season:

    P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 42 24 12 6 67 31 +36 84
2 Aston Villa 42 21 11 10 57 40 +17 74
3 Norwich City 42 21 9 12 61 65 -4 72
4 Blackburn Rovers 42 20 11 11 68 46 +22 71
5 Queens Park Rangers 42 17 12 13 63 55 +8 63
6 Liverpool 42 16 11 15 62 55 +7 59
7 Sheffield Wednesday 42 15 14 13 55 51 +4 59
8 Tottenham Hotspur 42 16 11 15 60 66 -6 59
9 Manchester City 42 15 12 15 56 51 +5 57
10 Arsenal 42 15 11 16 40 38 +2 56
11 Chelsea 42 14 14 14 51 54 -3 56
12 Wimbledon 42 14 12 16 56 55 +1 54
13 Everton 42 15 8 19 53 55 -2 53
14 Sheffield United 42 14 10 18 54 53 +1 52
15 Coventry City 42 13 13 16 52 57 -5 52
16 Ipswich Town 42 12 16 14 50 55 -5 52
17 Leeds United 42 12 15 15 57 62 -5 51
18 Southampton 42 13 11 18 54 61 -7 50
19 Oldham Athletic 42 13 10 19 63 74 -11 49
20 Crystal Palace 42 11 16 15 48 61 -13 49
21 Middlesbrough 42 11 11 20 54 75 -21 44
22 Nottingham Forest 42 10 10 22 41 62 -21 40

We scored 40 goals in 42 games – the worst in the league.  But then we had the second best defence in the league.

Our leading goal scorer in the league was Ian Wright with 15.  Second top scorer was Kevin Campbell with four.

For the most part we had the famous back five of Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn.

In the middle we had Merson, Hillier and Jensen, with Parlour and Limpar getting games too.

Up front it was Wright and Campbell.

The highlight of the league season was a six game winning streak from 28 September to 7 November in which Arsenal scored 11 goals.  That however was followed by eight games without a win.

Even the end of the season was a disaster: Arsenal 1 Tottenham 3 on 11 May.  The crowd at Highbury: 26383!  I think by then we had just given up caring.

So awful were we that we were not even favourites to win the cups – and you’ll have noticed from the league table, Sheffield Wednesday were above us in the league at the time.

The story of Arsenal in the FA Cup that season is told here

The League Cup final story is here  and the journey to the final is here.

And like I say, we celebrated.  But oh how we moaned about the league form – and quite rightly so.  George Graham won us two trophies, but he was not a popular man.

The Anniversary Files now have over 5000 entries, and are now divided into 12 monthly sections:

 

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