Rifts, Crisis Clubs, Mentality & From The Vaults: 1937 – Arsenal Hit Five


The coming weekend is one where past and present mix contentedly with the trip to Old Trafford on the horizon. Not the happiest of hunting grounds but one of the Premier League’s enduring rivalries even when both have fallen on harder times. Which segues into this morning’s playlist, Remember How We Started, which can be found here or on Dad’s Jukebox in the right sidebar or in the archives.

There’s an element of Schadenfreude, I know, with the tabloids screaming that United are a club in crisis. Not quite broken Red Devils but with Evans unbelievably fighting his FA charge after the contretemps at St James Park and Ryan Giggs forced to issue a denial of a reported rift between himself and Louis Van Gaal.

A pleasant change from Arsenal holding the crisis club mantle.

For both clubs a top four finish is the priority for the season which is understandable from both points of view. United need to convince themselves that Van Gaal, despite the desperately mediocre squad he has inherited and not particularly enhanced, is taking them on an upward trajectory into next season’s Europa League in all likelihood.

With the winners of that tournament going into the Champions League, the top four trophy is no longer the be-all and end-all of a season; winning silverware brings its own rewards. Taking the Europa League seriously offers the opportunity to regroup and achieve once more.

And despite all this, they still won at The Emirates. It’s hard to put that into words, a bit like losing at Old Trafford last season when you know the opposition is nowhere near as good as it was. A guttural cry of anger and annoyance would best describe how it feels.

There’s an element of psychology about it all for the both clubs. United raise their game against Arsenal, no matter their own form whilst Arsenal have some fear and trepidation which has seeped into the fabric of squad and manager. Recent seasons have seen other clubs go to Manchester and get results, Arsenal meanwhile appear no closer than previous years to taking all three.

Arsenal’s problems in this type of fixture are well-documented and underline the reason that the win at The Etihad was so welcomed. The crucial test for the players is to ensure that result isn’t just seen as an anomaly, a freak if you like. It’s by no means certain that will not be the case.

Arsène sought to push such thoughts to one side,

I don’t believe too much in history. I just believe in the performance on the day. At the moment, we are doing very well away from home. The size of the pitch is exactly the same everywhere, it’s just down to how much we turn up and how much effort we put in to win the game.

The manager has a key role to play. In the past, too much tinkering with the line-up has caused Arsenal to fail in the FA Cup, at Old Trafford. Last season saw reward for luck of the draw and fielding strong teams. I hope he does the same on Monday.

Arsène went on to talk about taking the momentum from the Premier League into the FA Cup. We need a better performance level, one more in line with the second half at Loftus Road than the match against Leicester. If Arsenal play to the peak of their abilities, they can win (even handsomely) but all too often that doesn’t happen.

Look at last season, a run of eight wins in nine unbeaten games came to a grinding halt with an insipid performance. That’s the biggest issue to overcome.

Finally for this segment and on an FA Cup weekend, it seems most appropriate, happy birthday to the most underrated on Arsenal. Wait a minute, I don’t think I’ll bother; it’s only Ray Parlour…

From The Vaults

January 1937, Arsenal are the ascendant English football club having held sway over the game for the decade so far. Things have just begun to get back on track for the season, with a 4 – 1 Christmas Day victory over Preston North End at Highbury taking them to the top of the table for the first time in the season.

They would there or thereabouts for the remainder of the season until a run of one win in the last four games would undo their hopes of becoming champions once more.

This though was the FA Cup fourth round. Chesterfield had been despatched with a routine 5 – 1 win under the watching gaze of the crooked spire of St Mary and All Saints Parish church. It brought Manchester United to Highbury for this encounter.

It wasn’t the best of seasons for the Mancunians, they would end up relegated. It just goes to show that some things never change; a distinctly average 1930s Manchester United were able to take three points out of four from Arsenal even though they were unsuccessfully fighting the drop.

This would different and the true gulf between the two sides emerged as Arsenal showed no mercy and 45.637 watch them unceremoniously dump their First Division rivals out of the FA Cup.

’til Tomorrow.

19370130 5 - 0 FAC4

66 thoughts on “Rifts, Crisis Clubs, Mentality & From The Vaults: 1937 – Arsenal Hit Five

  1. Phil says:

    Morning Jonny and YW.
    Wenger ” I don’t believe too much in history….”
    Really Arsene?
    I would have thought that you reminding us all on how many consecutive years in CL, how many substitutions you have made during your managerial career, etc ,suggest the complete opposite.

  2. Jonny says:

    Yes good ta – looks like Spring out there. Might go for a stroll over to Canary Wharf this morning. 🙂

    So Man Utd at Old Trafford this season – far from impregnable. 2 losses – against Swansea and Southampton. Reasons enough to have hope.

  3. consolsbob says:

    Bloody grey here. Got a few fruit trees to plant.

    Seems I needn’t have bothered to go to the concert the other night, YW, you could have told me!

  4. SV says:

    Greatbpost as always.

    It’s strange how we play them sometimes. I remember us outplaying them away from home and leading after the great Arshavin strike. We were close to doubling the lead, but conceeded a penalty after a clever Rooney dive… And then Diaby sealed the result scoring an own header after a apposition’s free kick.

    It’s like the laws of universe stop working on a particular day for them to win against all the odds.

  5. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Happy birthday RP – one of our own.

    My favorite story of his was the time he went to Anfield as just part of the match day squad , had a few sherbets in the bar & then found out someone had been injured in the warm up & he was on the bench !

  6. Yogi's Warrior says:

    Grey here too. And we’ve got an hour’s drive to the south-eastern side of Nottingham for #2 son’s football where I dare say the weather will be as grim.

  7. C says:

    Before I read your wonderful post…..

    Can one of my English brethren please explain to me how the fuck Cisse got 7 matches and Evans got 6 when Evans was clearly the instigator. Is this more of the English biass by the FA who we have seen do shit like this before?

  8. C says:

    Happy Birthday Ray.

    I tend to agree with your post Yogi. It seems to be a mental block that these players and Arsene needs to overcome agajnst this medicore Manure side. Problem for me is thattthat the Shitty result is looking more and more like a one off when I truly thought, believed and hoped that it would become the norm. I hope the players are up for it. Arsene says we are an attacking side then lets be an attacking side, just make sure that we have 4 back at all times so we don’t get picked off on the counter.

  9. Paulie Walnuts says:


    I believe this is Cisse`s second ban this season following a suspension for elbowing Seamus Coleman.

    Hence the extra game.

    I think Evans is fortunate not to get a longer ban for a spurious denial.

  10. C says:


    Thanks for clarifying.

    I just wish it was Matic or a player like that, then we know for a fact Evans would have been punished with a proper ass whoopin.

  11. C says:

    I think I’ll have a watch of Reading v Bradford. Must admit, I want Bradford to win and keep their run going. Clubs and players like Bradford is what, IMHO, still makes thr FA Cup magical.

  12. Damon says:

    Game could use a goal. Either team worth one so far for me

  13. Damon says:

    Bradford fans filled the place and sound like they intend to enjoy the occassion

  14. C says:

    Game does need a goal, though Bradford just hit the post. Bradford fans have the place alive

  15. Jonny says:

    Just turned the game on. Who do I want to win? Anyone know?

  16. Damon says:

    Personally, I’d probably go with Bradford too. Simply on the underdog in the cup aspect, no other pull on this one.

    You’d fancy the winner of this tie in the semi though, no?

  17. C says:

    Bradford supporters would go absolutely crazy if Bradford gets a goal.

  18. Damon says:


    Very tough not to like him! For an attacking player his longevity is remarkable!

    I thought years ago that he had been well suited to the Italian league. I fancy his skill set wouldn’t have suited England, or a host of other leagues

  19. C says:


    Thats a really good piece on a player that is the last of a dying breed, a truly great one club player. Having watched Totti, he really is a joy to watch and I tend to agree with the article, he probably is the perfect #10 even now.

    I’m glad he didn’t leave Roma, for that matter I’m glad De Rossi as well.

  20. C says:


    I think he would have been brilliant in England or really anywhere to be honest but his languid style would have seen him have his critics.

    What a brilliant brilliant player though. Its a shame that he isn’t talked about more as a great simply because he never left Roma.

  21. C says:

    Bradford needs to take one of these chances.

  22. Jonny says:

    Well I don’t know – or much care – that’s why I was asking.

    Bradford seem to be worth it though so I guess I’ll plump for them.

    You’re right it needs a goal – all a bit turgid.

  23. C says:

    Both sets of players giving everything and the supporters haven’t stopped singing, cheering and shouting all match.

  24. C says:

    So close.

    I wish our support at the Emirates was similar to this, might make the Emirates a more intimidating place for the opposition.

  25. C says:

    Holy shit, how didn’t Reading score there.

  26. Wavey says:

    Afternoon all,


    I was at that game. We were buzzing at half time and then it all went wrong with a Almunia getting conned easily by Rooney and Diaby scoring the OG under no pressure at all. A grim journey home.

    Happy Brithday RP. I remember Keown’s last game when he had to come on as a sub to get his 10th appearance and a winner’s medal. We only had one sub left and Keown was looking very anxious. Wenger signals for Keown to warm up and Parlour jumps up instead as if Wenger had signalled. The look on Keown’s face said it all, especially when he realised Parlour was winding him up.

    The cup game has been pretty average. Both teams have hit the woodwork, but overall lacking in quality. It should be a replay because neither team really deserves to lose.

  27. Damon says:


    I’ve met Ray and he loves telling that story! There are a few nuances to it, which I’ll fill you in on over a beer one day

  28. Jonny says:

    I’ve met Damon – he loves telling that story that Ray loves telling. 😉

  29. HenryB says:

    C @ 11:15

    Why did you ask; “Is this more of the English biass by the FA who we have seen do shit like this before?”

    Cissé is not English — Evans is not English.

    Yankee biase about English biase? 🙂

  30. C says:


    Exactly, you found me out 🙂

    I should have said Manure bias.

  31. C says:

    Lloris just saved Spuds ass, Walker wi th a terrible back pass and Austin should have scored.

  32. Jonny says:

    I’m here for the second half, Damon.

    Sounds like I have not missed much.

  33. Jonny says:

    Fucking Villa fans – mentalists.

  34. Wavey says:

    Watched both games today and I’m pretty sure that the FA Cup winner will not come from any of the teams on display. Looking forward to meeting one of them in the semi or the final though.

  35. Limestonegunner says:

    Ideal scenario is Arsenal v. Villa and Liverpool v. Bradford with Arsenal defeating Liverpool in the final.

    First we must, must destroy MU. It is about time.

  36. Jonny says:

    Monaco won 3-1 away from home against ‘Evian Thonon Gaillard’ – nah, me either. 🙂

  37. Damon says:

    Not sure Limey

    I fancy Blackburn might make it tougher than expected against Liverpool today.

    Beating United is the only focus for now though and looking beyond that is dangerous right now. Business time please. Biggest game of the season so far coming up

  38. The Arse in The Gamb says:

    We used to worry that they could beat us because they were better than us, then Moyes came along and debunked that theory.
    It is just time to stop this nonsense; defenders must defend, attackers must score and central midfielders…..well it should be that they should boss the centre, make space and create opportunity, but for AW’s team it will also mean guard the back four, run up and down the flanks, act as a second striker….and run around like headless chickens.
    Lost before we have started.

  39. Wavey says:

    It appears that the only threat we will have to deal with is Rooney. Falcao is pants, Di Maria has disappeared since his house was attacked and Van Penis is injured.
    They’re shaky at the back and have a weak midfield as well.

    We’re bound to screw it up then. Seriously though, we are playing one of the worst Man U teams in years. If Falcao and Di Maria are switched on for 90 minutes tomorrow its a different game, but this has to be our best chance to beat them at OT in a long time. It will also get a monkey off our backs and put down a marker for the league game later in the season. Even at their worst Utd are never worried about playing us. That showed in the league game at the Emirates this season where they had probably the worst Utd defence I have ever seen and we still couldn’t threaten them. A win tomorrow will remind them that we are threat again and might also make them worry about their place in the top 4. I imagine most Utd fans think they will take the third spot and Arsenal will be battling it out with Liverpool and Spurs for fourth spot. After tomorrow I hope they are going to be worried that it will be Utd battling Liverpool and Spurs for the last CL spot.

  40. SV says:


    ManU are confident because they know how we are going to play, and with that it’s easy to counteract. We are just predictable.

    It’s not really about the quality. I remember another FA cup encounter up there in February three or so years ago, also known as “the defeat to seven defenders’ ManU”. They played defensively and with pace on the flanks, and they knew that this plan would perfectly work against our posession centered game. But the funny thing was that the plan was executed by the squad players most of whome were defenders. That’s how easy it was to play against Arsenal.

    I think it’s all about Arsene really. He has to come up with something to surprise the opponents, to break their plan. Because that’s what the managaers are for, right?

  41. spy says:

    Not one of the worst,
    The Worst

  42. Wavey says:

    Perhaps pace and width rather than trying to play in front of them for a change?
    We keep saying these games would be ideal for Theo and I think this is another one of those. We will need to try to get behind of them because they will expect us to just pass it around in front of them. They find it easier to close us down and pick the ball off when we move it sideways all the time. It’s harder to get in someone’s face when the ball has already gone.

  43. SV says:

    My issue with Theo is that he is not a classic winger. I think he wants to score above all and is ready to cut inside, and if you ask him to play along the sideline, he will refuse. But to have someone leaking the line and delivering crosses to Giroud and Wellbeck… May be it would work?

  44. C says:

    Blackburn is giving Liverpool a game.

    Black almost scored there

  45. C says:


    We have seen that Theo can do that and I think he still can. He is capable of a 20 goal 10-15 assist season while doing all the defensive worl, we have seen it in the past. I think its more a match fitness thing to be honest.

  46. C says:

    So Blackburn get the draw and now there is a replay.

  47. C says:

    Interesting tweet from West Ham saying Jenks wont be available to play against Arsenal this year but implied he will next.

  48. Limestonegunner says:

    What’s not to like? Replay for Liverpool, Bradford still alive, a bizarre West Midlands derby and a classic encounter between MU and the might Arsenal to come!

    But I do wish we had played Saturday…

  49. C says:

    I wish we did too to be honest, Saturday much more convenient.

    I see your Toronto FC got off to a good start with Altidore getting a brace(MLS is his level not the PL), Giovinco pulling thr strings.

  50. Wavey says:

    Watching Napoli v Inter. I still can’t understand exactly why we let Higuain slip through our fingers. He leads the line well and always makes himself available. His movement off the ball is generally excellent and he pulls the CBs all over the place.
    He’s had a bit of a nightmare in the first half tonight missing a sitter and squandering a couple of really good chances. His goal was absolute class though.
    If we had grabbed him when we had the chance I would have let Giroud drop to the bench. Adding Alexis into the mix would have given us a really strong front line.

  51. C says:


    I wish we would have gotten Higuin. Imagine how brilliant and potential much smoother the transition would have been for Ozil. There is no doubt he is class and would have displaced Giroud because he does everything Giroud does plus more.

  52. Limestonegunner says:

    Wavey, ask Birdkamp. I argued all summer with him in favor of Higuain. He rubbished him. I can’t remember all the harsh things he claimed but didn’t think he was mobile, technical, or clinical in a nutshell.

  53. ikechukwu says:


  54. HenryB says:

    Hi LSG,

    In fairness to Higuain it must be cramped trying to be ‘mobile, technical or clinical in a nutshell’. 🙂

  55. HenryB says:


    I suppose that technically you are first on the blog this morning which will bug Damon. 🙂

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