24th November 1990
Queens Park Rangers 1 – 3 Arsenal
Arsenal travelled west to Loftus Road, defending their unbeaten run and waiting for leaders Liverpool, to slip. It hadn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds with three defeats and a draw in league and cup since a 4 – 1 win in May 1987.
Rangers were managed by Don Howe – his assistant was Bobby Gould – but on the back of successive defeats, had slipped into the relegation zone. It was a run that would extend to ten games without defeat that caused many rumblings about Howe’s future. Rangers survived, Howe did not, leaving QPR at the end of the season.
Arsenal had won 10 of their last 12 and with the added incentive of points to recover after the FA’s punishment, were in no mood to mess around. Howe had injury problems and was casting envious eyes across the capital as George Graham could afford to leave David Rocastle out of the squad.
The midfielder was philosophical about it, knowing that Graham had left the door open for him to return to the XI but having done so briefly for the Boxing Day victory over Derby, he succumbed to injury which kept out of the side for the remainder of the season save for a brief spell in February.
My recollection of this game was of one of the best performances of the season to that point. Daily Express match reporter, Barry Flatman, disagreed but it seems he was in a gang of one.
We sat in with the home fans for the match, along the side with stanchions obscuring part of the view. We could, however, see clearly Wergerle’s theatrics which conned Ray Lewis, the referee who aptly came from Great Bookham, if I recall correctly. That didn’t help soften the blow of QPR taking the lead.
Arsenal didn’t relent and having been frustrated by QPR, punished them with three goals in the last ten minutes or so. Tony Adams can be seen in the video below giving the Rangers faithful a taste of their own medicine following the usual taunts that he was subjected to. They are obviously a bit precious in that part of west London because no sooner had the match finished than Adams found himself under scrutiny from the authorities. It wouldn’t be the first time.
As it was, the win proved vital as a last-minute equaliser from Niall Quinn gave Manchester City a share of the points in a 2 – 2 draw at Anfield. The cracks were appearing and they were the next league opponents Arsenal would face. A six-point gap at the start of the day was down to four.