I know what you’re thinking after that New Year’s Eve: “I wish I was 20 years younger.” Leaving aside that you should be thinking ‘I wish I were 20 years younger’ as you should be using the subjunctive, you can pretend it’s 20 years ago by seeing what the Arse were up to at the time. Unfortunately it wasn’t pretty.
December 1992 was a horror month as Arsenal slid down the table. The horror actually started on November 21, as we got stuffed 3-0 away at Leeds, followed by:
Nov 28: Arsenal 0 Man Utd 1
Dec 5: Southampton 2 Arsenal 0
Dec 12: Spurs 1 Arsenal 0
Dec 19: Arsenal 1 Middlesbrough 1
Dec 26: Arsenal 0 Ipswich 0
Dec 28: Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 0
That’s seven league matches, with one goal and two points! We did manage a League Cup Third Round replay victory over lower league Derby by 2-1 in this period. Whoop.
At the start of December Johnny Giles’ newspaper column noted that since the change to the backpass rule clearances were faster so play was more spread and Arsenal weren’t handling it well. The team was used to scrapping it out in a crowded midfield, with the likes of Jensen and Hillier snapping at opponents’ heels. What Arsenal need, he said, was someone strong, but also with vision. Someone in midfield who could dictate how the game was going to go. Sounds familiar. I’m not sure we really solved the problem until Vieira and Petit arrived six years later, and we’ve been suffering again ever since Vieira left.
Here are the match reports from the games against today’s opponents Southampton, and the Christmas matches against Ipswich and Villa. There were no New Year’s Day fixtures in 1993, as the FA Cup Third Round was due on January 2.Twitter: @AngryOfN5