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On 7 May 1938 Arsenal won the league for 5th time in 8 years

On 7 May1938 Arsenal won the league for the second time under George Allison in four years.  But as the date suggests and the league table shows is was a close run thing – going up to the final match – Arsenal 5 Bolton 0 on May 7 1938. Attendance: 40,500

It was close because Arsenal had a failing this season.  They only lost two games at home,  but only won six games away – and champions normally do better than that.

Here is the final table.

Final Table
P W D L F A GA Pt
1 Arsenal 42 21 10 11 77 44 1.75 52
2 Wolverhampton Wndrs 42 20 11 11 72 49 1.47 51
3 Preston North End 42 16 17 9 64 44 1.46 49
4 Charlton Athletic 42 16 14 12 65 51 1.27 46
5 Middlesbrough 42 19 8 15 72 65 1.11 46
6 Brentford 42 18 9 15 69 59 1.17 45
7 Bolton Wanderers 42 15 15 12 64 60 1.07 45
8 Sunderland 42 14 16 12 55 57 0.96 44
9 Leeds United 42 14 15 13 64 69 0.93 43
10 Chelsea 42 14 13 15 65 65 1.00 41
11 Liverpool 42 15 11 16 65 71 0.92 41
12 Blackpool 42 16 8 18 61 66 0.92 40
13 Derby County 42 15 10 17 66 87 0.76 40
14 Everton 42 16 7 19 79 75 1.05 39
15 Huddersfield Town 42 17 5 20 55 68 0.81 39
16 Leicester City 42 14 11 17 54 75 0.72 39
17 Stoke City 42 13 12 17 58 59 0.98 38
18 Birmingham City 42 10 18 14 58 62 0.94 38
19 Portsmouth 42 13 12 17 62 68 0.91 38
20 Grimsby Town 42 13 12 17 51 68 0.75 38
21 Manchester City 42 14 8 20 80 77 1.04 36
22 West Bromwich Albion 42 14 8 20 74 91 0.81 36

The season started well, with three wins, with Arsenal scoring 12 goals.  But the form did not continue and after only two wins in the next 12 games Arsenal were 11th in the league in mid November.

Matters did pick up, but this was not the sort of high scoring season Arsenal fans had seen in earlier league wins.  We scored five three times, but that was it.  Drake and Bastin scored the goals (17 and 15 respectively).

Top crowds of the season at Highbury were 67311 to see the London derby against Brentford and 68353 to see the 4-1 defeat of Manchester City

We finally hit the top spot on March 5 with a 4-0 home win over Stoke and stayed there, suffering just two defeats in the last 18 games.

Here is the history of Arsenal in the 30s.

Home Away
Season Pos P W D L F A W D L F A Pt
1938-1939 5 42 14 3 4 34 14 5 6 10 21 27 47
1937-1938 1 42 15 4 2 52 16 6 6 9 25 28 52
1936-1937 3 42 10 10 1 43 20 8 6 7 37 29 52
1935-1936 6 42 9 9 3 44 22 6 6 9 34 26 45
1934-1935 1 42 15 4 2 74 17 8 8 5 41 29 58
1933-1934 1 42 15 4 2 45 19 10 5 6 30 28 59
1932-1933 1 42 14 3 4 70 27 11 5 5 48 34 58
1931-1932 2 42 14 5 2 52 16 8 5 8 38 32 54
1930-1931 1 42 14 5 2 67 27 14 5 2 60 32 66
1929-1930 14 42 10 2 9 49 26 4 9 8 29 40 39

We can see the enormous leap that was made between 1929/30 and the rest of the decade.  But it must be remembered that in 1929/30 Arsenal won the FA Cup for the first time.  It truly was a decade of trophies:

  • 2 cup final victories 1930, 1936
  • 1 cup final defeat 1932
  • 5 League championships
  • 1 League runners-up

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See also…

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