Liverpool Preview & From The Vaults: 1931 – Arsenal Land The Title


At this moment, I feel that breaking into the TISWAS theme is highly appropriate. This Is Saturday and frankly whatever WAS you were planning on doing, forget it although if you WAS planning on listening to this morning’s playlist, Keep On Shining, you can do so on Dad’s Jukebox on the right sidebar or here.

God, that was contrived and grammatically poor. Still, at least you are prepared for what is about to follow.

A match which resonates with history, has proven decisive in the past and despite the reduced circumstances of the combatants, has the same potential today.

LIVERPOOL H Crystal Palace A ASTON VILLA H Arsenal A
Burnley A Man Utd A MAN CITY H Newcastle H
WEST HAM H Chelsea A Hull City A
Hull City A Spurs A WBA H QPR H
WBA H SOUTHAMPTON H Hull City A Stoke City A

Yes, I look at it several times and managed to come up with a points total that had Arsenal, City and United finishing second which is a scary prospect. The mundanity of Van Gaal’s tactics might get rewarded and usher in another dank and dim period in English football. You can tell that wasn’t a prospect I chose to dwell on for long.

The importance of that table is to show there’s no point in looking ahead. The regularity of fixtures between the top five is unusual for this stage of the season but underlines that it is most definitely one match at a time. A victory today for Arsenal almost certainly rules Liverpool out of contention for the top four but even then successive wins coupled with United losing to the current top two and Liverpool are back in contention for the top four. It’s that close.

It’s that mad.

Consistency has been a problem for everyone bar Chelsea to the extent that when they stumbled recently it was third placed Arsenal who were deemed the worthy challengers, not Manchester City. That notion made little sense at the time and makes even less now. The run of fixtures above underline that the blue Mancunians have the most straightforward run-in of the top four challengers. It’s just as well football isn’t played on paper otherwise the predictability of a season would be numbing.

Arsenal have been consistent in the Premier League, the travails of Europe were successfully compartmentalised, if not convincingly at the time. The international break could not have come at a worse time from that perspective. Not for the first time, we’re left hoping that Arsenal will get back into the groove straight away.

Do we worry about the performance today if a win is achieved? Under those circumstances, probably not. If marks were given for artistic merit in football, Arsenal would probably have champions half-a-dozen time in the past ten years. Performances matter when a team is trying to establish form but when the run is put together, when the results are coming and especially this late in the season, no; results are more important. Winning ugly beautiful.

For once, the internationals appear to have been kind to Arsène. OK, not so unkind is perhaps a better description. Danny Welbeck is the only doubt with fears over Aaron Ramsey seemingly misplaced. Encouraging as the returns of Arteta, Debuchy and Wilshere were, I don’t think any will start. Whilst Debuchy’s experience is welcomed, is it the right choice against a pacey Liverpool attack that will look to exploit any ring-rustiness with relish?

It means that it will be pretty much as you were in terms of the XI,

I’m no different to most fans in that today has been focussed on knocking Liverpool out of the Champions League race. It’s almost looking at it Arsenal about face; Chelsea are the next visitors to The Emirates with a trip to relegation-threatened Burnley in between. As much as it is about gaining an almost unassailable advantage over your opponents, a win today eases the pressure on the visit of the Champions-elect. Lose and we face a potential three out of nine points, an extremely harmful total at this late stage of the season.

From The Vaults

Forty-five years after its’ formation, Arsenal Football Club were crowned Champions for the first time. This 3 – 1 victory over Liverpool left Arsenal five points clear of Aston Villa with two games left, an irretrievable lead.

As well as being the first triumph for the club, it was the first for a London club. Little did the northern teams realise that this signalled a power-shift for the rest of the 1930s to The Arsenal. That achievement warranted an effusive Leader article in The Times, reproduced below.

At this point, Arsenal had scored 119 goals in the league, a phenomenal achievement with 40 games played. Aston Villa in second place topped that with 124. By the season’s end, Villa were in the middle of a slump in goalscoring form with the final totals being 127 and 128 respectively.

Arsenal’s purple patch for goals came in winter with seven put past Blackpool and Leicester City (at Filbert Street), six past Derby at Highbury whilst the hapless Grimsby Town were trounced 9 – 1. They were not averse to conceding goals either; they only managed four clean sheets all season, the first of which arrived in a goalless draw with Huddersfield Town on 7th March 1931. Meetings between the top two were no less entertaining; Arsenal won 5 – 2 at Highbury whilst Villa triumphed 5 – 1 in the return.

The decisive factor at the time was Goal Average. Arsenal’s was 2.15, the highest in six seasons since Huddersfield Town’s 2.46 in 1924/25. Goal difference if it had been needed, would have made no difference with Arsenal’s ending at 68 to Villa’s 50.

click to enlarge

Liverpool 3-1 16041931
Liverpool 3-1 160419311

248 thoughts on “Liverpool Preview & From The Vaults: 1931 – Arsenal Land The Title

  1. dukey says:

    There are people that just want Wenger gone because they have been saying he has lost it for so long that they cant lose face or to be seen to completely change their mind. some people would be more happy if we were in this exact same position but with another manager in charge. truth is Wenger has built another classy team here but for Giroud and Debouchy being injured early on and Bellerin being too raw we could be top.

  2. C says:


    Tend to agrew about Manure. More to your point, does anybidy actually fear a midfield of Herrera, Blind, Carrick, Ashley Young and Mata? I mean Mata has the talent but the rest arw average PL players.

  3. Moe says:


    I don’t think anything should ever be absolute, if he is doing badly, he deserves the criticism but when he does very well and turns it around then he deserves praise.

    If Arsene starts to win trophies, i’ll start to believe he is going back to the manager he used to be, but if he keeps getting top four and only top four then i think even he knows he has to do better now that he has the financial power.

    I think no one should have an absolute opinion of him, whether he is best manager ever no matter what he does, or that he is the worst manager ever no matter what he does.

  4. Moe says:


    No. United’s midfield is functional at best.But what i notice when they play is that they move the play as quickly to the wingers and forwards, they completely move past their midfield. i think this is because they know their midfield is basically non-existent.

    They are not a possession team and they cannot play any kind of combiination football, their strength is in their wingers and forwards. Also the surging runs from midfield into the box by players like Rooney and Mata.

  5. dukey says:


    forgot last year then? fa cup, charity shield, at Wembley again with another final on the cards. Wembley is becoming our second home.

  6. Moe says:

    The funny part is, it took the media a freekick from Ozil to recognise the rest of his game.

    Sometimes i despair at the goal hungry media, as if all players (including midfielders) should be judged on their goals.

    If Ozil hadn’t scored today, the rest of his game would have been ignored.


  7. Wavey says:


    I would normally go back to The Rocket after the game, but Highbury & Islington station is now closed after matches so I had to march Wavey the Even Younger to Finsbury Park Station.

    Did you manage to go? It would have been a great atmos after the match.

    MOTM was so hard to call today, I think Ozil just gets it. LeCoq, Bellerin and Per also had a shout as well though. Welbeck looked really dangerous when he came on as well. Got to say that we generally made the 5th place team look very ordinary today.

  8. Moe says:


    I want the big prize mate, loved the FA Cup victory but Arsenal will be back as a force when we win either the League or Champions League. That’s what i want. The League is realistic, the Champions League is way too far ahead for us, quality isn’t there yet.

    But i did love the FA Cup win, and the Charity Shield is abit of a non trophy,let’s be honest. 😀

  9. Moe says:

    And is it me but Welbeck on the left looked brilliant.

    His technical ability has improved,although his first touch and finishing need alot of work.

    If Welbeck ever improves those two things, he will be an absolute monster.

    Someone please just tell him to focus on those two aspects of his game, scoring training until he drops!

  10. consolsbob says:

    Bloody fantastic weekend. A family skittle night up the pub last evening, a few pints of Tribute, wild boar sausages and chips and blessed victory in the contest of ball and skittle.

    First game of cricket in the garden with the grandkids this afternoon in the sunshine.

    A great win today and now I am in the kitchen with a beer starting to cook dinner. What could be better?

    Oh, and I still don’t believe that Arsene will lead us to the title again. Unlike those that duke must be referring to, I always hope that I am wrong when I say this.

    Frankly, I don’t care who leads us to glory as long as they do it.

  11. Moe says:

    Arsenal have never lost a Premier League game at the Emirates that Ozil has started.

    Some of these stats are amazing.

  12. dukey says:

    ah the cl Moe,

    well we have underachieved for sure but its a very hard trophy to win, we cant expect a manager to win it especially now with the doped up teams over Europe.

    the league has been too far through lack of investment (whether we could have invested more is another debate that has raged and bored many for many a year)but one could say since we ended the old era and started a new one of spending big then we are a lot closer, and I reckon we can carry on this second half season form next season and win it.

  13. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Superb all round display today but even more more pleasingly there were more signs that good work has been going on concerning the details (sometimes it`s ALL in the details behind our game.

    We actually seemed to have noted how Pool like to play & had a plan to press them from the off. That would never have happened 12 or even 6 months ago. The same can be said for the work of Mert & OG off the ball for Ozil`s goal. Again , it looked like we actually had a plan.

    So , I`m left wondering where this has come from. According to Mertesacker the players argue more now than previously so perhaps they`ve had their say ….or maybe it`s the coaching staff.

    But , maybe , just maybe Arsene`s gone & done it again. We`ve been drawn in so many times before , only to be let down that my head is telling me not to go there …but after a couple of beers the heart takes over & we`re the greatest team the world have ever seen.

  14. Bill says:

    Wonderful game and a great team effort again today. Top 4 is secured for another season.


    There is no other manager in the world that has the resources we do who would have started this season with Yaya Sanogo as our back up CF, Chambers as our back up RB and CB and Flamteta as our DM. Perhaps even worse is Arsene did not have this team mentally prepared to start the season. The bad start is on Arsene and no matter if we finish 2nd 3rd or 4th the bottom line is that we wasted a great opportunity to do better. We have played great for about 1/3 to 1/2 of every season for the last 12 years. Ever since the invincibles arsenes teams are not able to maintain focus for an entire season. We are playing wonderful football right now but I guess the question is are you really happy with a 1/2 season team.

  15. Limestonegunner says:

    Dukey, He needed to buy a defender like Gabriel and bring in a DM from the start of the season. Then we might well be top. Hopefully he doesn’t take a complacent view and reinforces in the summer.

    But congratulations to him for getting this team playing very well for half a season.

    My personal appearance win streak is now 7 matches!

  16. santori says:


    Clearly clueless. We should have won this by 8 goals minimum, frankly disappointed.

    The mugmasher dominated media still obsessed with some fictitious race for 4th. McNulty Owen Carragher and company getting a bit stale with age. We are in a race for second. Liverpool are in a race for 5th.

    Brodgers (Like Klopp) are clearly better tactically than Wenger and way more ‘progressive’. Rodgers also likes to blow a lot more money in the transfer market for mediocre players – Allen, Moreno, Markovic, Henderson, Borini who? Mario is a ‘No Brainer’.

    Meanwhile the Arsenal march on.

    Ozil in fantastic form at the moment. Ramsey too. Alexis is finding his scoring boots again. Who needs speed when you are already there? Enter Per.

    And Giroud. So we need a world class striker they say. We’re tied with City for scoring the most goals and Giroud’s netted 10 in 10!!!

    But the best player on the pitch for us was Kolo Toure. Clearly he knows what it means to wear an Arsenal shirt.

    Forget top 4, that is for the likes of Liverpool to worry about.

    We can finish high this season (maybe a bit of an ask to catch Chelsea) but we still have the FA cup finals to look forward to should we (not take Reading lightly) and beat them.

    If we do, we have a great chance at beating Blackburn in the finals, we are not afraid of them.;)

  17. Limestonegunner says:

    It was loads of fun, Wavey. All Highbury was buzzing for hours. Ended up at a terrific Korean restaurant near Finsbury Park. Strange that H&Isl station closed now. I’ll catch up with you next time.

    What a fantastic day match. Proper performance. None of this sitting back and counterattacking. No, we overwhelmed them from the off. Keep it up Arsenal!

  18. santori says:

    Yeah Wenger’s problem was the cover at Cback at start of season. That was the big mistake.

    Lets not forget as well he was pushed into buying Welbeck.

    Pennywise pound foolish.

    Our issues first half of season was an unstable back 4 and particularly two players in unfamiliar positions – Chambers (inexperienced) and Monreal (not a Cback)

    That cost us goals. It affected Per’s game because of positioning issues.

    forget the white wash about world cup hangover. Per’s issue was a result of uncertainty of the other players in the back line.

    Most of the goals conceded were from wide areas through set pieces of crosses. Had Chambers been Flamini (and not enjoyed the good will of being English) he would have been castigated for the number of goals he let in.

    Arteta and Flamini were effective enought shunting the danger wide but we did not manage the subsequent crosses coming in properly.

    Coquelin has been amazing since coming in but he has also benefited from the return of the Meterscielny partnership.

    Along with that he also benefited from the forced need to have Carzola cover for Jack and Ramsey which managed the area around the DM better.

    Had Coquelin played first half of season, there would have little difference to the results playing Flamini (or Arteta)

    We can finish strong now with the team clicking into gear.

    My favorite goal this game was Ozil’s because it was from a set piece.

    We have lacked this threat for quite a while now. Hopefully, this ushers in the return to our authority from free kicks.

    The team has benefited well from familiarity first and foremost because we have had a stable selection since the turn of the year. Exciting times ahead!

  19. santori says:

    …and we have Abou Diaby!!!! LANS!

  20. Limestonegunner says:

    Coquelin was absolutely immense. Proves the value of the roll. He cut off the head of their attack for most of the first half almost alone by sheer virtue of his tackling and interceptions.

    Monreal was also superb.
    Great team performance.

  21. Limestonegunner says:

    I don’t believe that for a second, Santori. Flamini has less positional discipline and thus doesn’t intercept nearly as well.

  22. Bill says:


    We can make all the excuses for the poor start that you want but we started this season short of a reasonable option at back up CF, RB, CB and with one DM who is not capable of staying healthy and the other was inadequate. We also and we started the season mentally unprepared. That’s all on the manager.

  23. Wavey says:


    Was going to say something similar on Flamini myself. LeCoq doesn’t “shunt the danger wide” he takes the ball off the opposition. I don’t want the CDM to be pushing the danger out to wider areas. Surely that’s a dangerous tactic for a team who like their FBs high up the pitch? Coquelin has been successful in taking the ball off of opponents and he has stopped going to ground every time. Now he times his tackles and slides in when he can get the ball. He seems to be picking up less cards because of it. I’d be happy seeing a quality CDM come in with LeCoq as cover. Not really sure why we would contemplate giving either Flamini or Arteta an extra year at the moment.

    Glad you enjoyed the day. The Rocket is a very relaxed atmosphere and great for the kids.

  24. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    It was a fantastic result, kinda of get’s them back for last season as well.

    Ozil is settling into the role of orchestrator and his freekick show’s his confidence is back

  25. Moe says:


    Smugness is not neither flattering nor the appropriate response.

    It almost seems as if you are the type of person i was talking about. Having one absolute opinion of someone and never changing it is poisonous.

    Arsene is great when we win, but also has terrible moments. To always believe he is wonderful and nothing he does is wrong is actually insanity.

  26. C says:


    Agree about Manure, there wingers and forwards so the business for them and even then its still a bit luck when they score.

    Agree about Ozil too, his game since his return from injury has been immense, yea sometimes he goes missing for moments in a match, but who doesnt? Today he looked a player that had decided to do the business and he did it. His pass to Ramsey to help set up the first goal was superb and his free kick on GK side was stuff of class. He floated about and dictated from various spots on the pitch. O and in the 2nd half when Liverpool were having a go, it was Ozil at times who would pick up the ball from deep and dribble out to releave some kf the pressure. Yea others were superb, but Ozil was leading that.

  27. C says:


    Sounds like a fantastic day, the stuff we all aspire to enjoy. A good beverage and cooking is always a joy.

    “Frankly, I don’t care who leads us to glory as long as they do it” That about sums up my feelings too, just in a much more direct way.

  28. dukey says:


    Here is the thing about the beginning of the season form. If giroud and debauchery never got those injuries, two players who were quite vital to us, ( our ugly Alan Smith that gives the team the balance that we can now all see as evident ) and a solid rb to replace that mercenary. And we still imploded then I’d agree with you but I believe these two players played a big part in our miserable form so I don’t think we can just say it’s coz we never bought Gabriel. Or we were not fit enough . There is a reason why giroud is no 1. And he doesn’t bring in a higuiuan, it’s team morale. Should he have? Easy answer is yes. But when both are fit and raring to go, they would both want to play. Could cause problems.

    I accept a few earlier signings would have helped us if course we have lost titles because of it but I still see Wenger building quality teams, we are now challenging and winning things again, I see the light . How can anyone not see things are getting rosey.

  29. consolsbob says:

    More mellow now, C.

    Meal eaten, Grandkids in bed and on the wine.

  30. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    I think with the right additions, namingly a CDM and a winger/CF we’ll be sorted for a title push, i don’t see why we don’t adopt this mentality for all big games…perhaps it’s changing with dominant performances vs City, Man u and Liverpool in the same season

  31. C says:


    Sometimes I forget the time difference, nothing wrong with good wine after a good meal.

    Myself, just cracked open a good bottle of rum to sip on to go with the fish and chips that I have been asked to make.

  32. Bill says:


    Something similar has happened every year for the past 12 seasons and every year. Every season we try to blame uncontrollable circumstances but the reality is that again this season we were under prepared for injuries and we were mentally unprepared.

  33. C says:

    The barometer should be the next couple of big matches on the cards as well as the FA Cup for us this season. I agree, a top DM and either a goal scoring CF and getting Theo(just for you Henry) fully fit and firing and we have a top side ready to lift the title.

  34. Bill says:


    Just like last season, if Giroud and ozil and Debuchy had not been injured, they probably would have lost form in the last 1/2 of the season and then we would blame it on them being overplayed and knackered. It’s always something.

  35. dukey says:

    we have only had the likes of Ozil for 2 years Bill, and since we have , Wembley is our second home. people asked us to at least become a cup team, we now are, and we’re still near the top. now we have a plethora of defenders I cant see anything other then us challenging for the title next season.

  36. dukey says:

    3/4 years ago we were nowhere near the top or top 2. now we are. isn’t that progression?

  37. MesutsLeftFoot says:


    i do actually agree with that, i think we’ve progressed, especially over this season. I think Ramsey being fit is a difference as he compliments Coq with energy and passing, so the transition was good. Gabriel looks like a proper pre season and some english lessons might leave poor mert on bench next season and Bellerin…how can anyone suggest sending him on loan next season.

    I think if theo leaves that Paulo Dybala would be a good replacement, i started watching him over last few weeks and he’s a immense talent, very Aguero like but he’s not as good a finisher…yet?

    Who knows, but i can’t see theo coming back into the team, i dont’ think he’s progressed like Wenger would have hoped and he’s certainly not worthy of the 14 shirt and Henry comparisons. I don’t get how a winger can have such a bad touch as Theo….His pace is his asset, and once that goes i worry since he’s picking up knee injuries now

  38. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Trying to find some of the best Owen blunders to post….

  39. dukey says:

    Mesuts incredible left foot.,

    don’t start on Theo!!

  40. JonJon says:

    some people just dont like wenger anymore
    mainly because the amount of times hes cost us titles by doing something stupid like trying to play 60 games with 2 cbs, with one already injured….and one defensive midfeilder whos shit..
    weve been scoring goals all season, sanchez was banging them in before giroud came back the problem was playing with one CB for 3 months and a midfield you could drive a bus through and not even a winning streak after we sorted those positions out at xmas will get us back into it, which shows how much of a fuckup the summer was..
    abit like when we beat someone in europe 2-0 at their place but we still cant qualify becuase of the fuckup we make of the first leg..
    doesnt matter how brilliant we become to turn it around our ultimate shitness at some point makes it too hard to overcome
    each and every season..
    fuck all to do with players, weve had world class players before who scored 30 goals a season and controlled midfields spraying passes about everywhere creating everything and it was still the same…
    so no….its not one arsene wenger….
    hes a pudding, who cant build a balanced side, keep it fit, gell it, or motivate it…and a 10 game streak aint pulling no wool over my eyes…because weve seen all this before…

    good win today..i was worried we lacked width a tad and even though we were dominating, liverpool were gaining confidence from us trying to go through the middle all the time and not really doing anything with it…until we started shooting..

    some good goals and a good scoreline i fucking loathe liverpool…

  41. C says:


    I say be careful writing Theo off, lets wait until next season before doing that. Normally when yoy tear your ACL it takes a year to get back to your best. If we wrote off players who had been out for a year off and started badly on their return we wouldnt be enjoying Ramsey right now.

    I do like Dybala, but lets not write off Theo just yet. A fully fit Theo starts on the right flank and gives us a terrifying front 3 of Sanchez/one of Welbeck or Giroud/Theo.

  42. MesutsLeftFoot says:


    Thing is, it’s not like he’s had incredible stats i think theo is a bang average winger and don’t class him as a CF at all, could have been a different player but injuries have cost him that.

  43. Damon says:


    Nice of you to drop by!

    As is often the case, I agree with all of your 22:06 post

    Paulie also had a good one at 18:40

    Now, I know Santori won’t like it, but I’m genuinely starting to think that Le Coq could be our starting CDM next year, regardless of who we buy this summer. I really think he’s been outstanding. I think Flamini is over and he gets replaced by whoever AW goes for. i am of the opinion though that they will be second choice to our boy the destroyer and have to earn anything beyond bench time.

    So, that’s the glaring hole in the squad identified for AW to leave us all scratching our heads over when he does nothing to address it all summer then!

    The same goes for Giroud, but probably less so. In this form, I struggle to make much of a list of players that would comprehensively take us up a level from Giroud. I appreciate that many will say he blows hot and cold and can’t keep this up. OK, fair point, but I’m prepared to look back at his last 18 months and see that there has been injury and major upset in his personal life. His missus wanted to go back to France after his dipstick got caught in the wrong motor!!

    Its too easy to say that he should be a professional and leave all that at home when plays etc. If you’re head isn’t straight, you can’t simply switch it off and on when you want. Fine margins in this game sometimes

  44. Damon says:

    Was anyone else impressed by Gomis’ two goals for Swansea yesterday?

    i thought both strikes were excellent and quite classy. The boy has something, but I can’t quite work him out.

    I understand that AW has been watching him and is interested. I’ve never quite been hot on him but the two goals yesterday both showed a style that we currently do not have within our squad. Certainly the second, I would think only possibly Ozil or Welbeck would’ve even attempted.

    For me, I think he has touch of the Kanu or Adebayor about him. By that I mean, he’ll frustrate because you know he’s uber talented, but you’ll only see it for about 3 seconds, once every 4 games

  45. consolsbob says:

    That’s the issue, Damon.

    He’s not the upgrade that you have been arguing for. Not the ‘intent.’

  46. Damon says:

    Morning Bob

    Are you referring to Gomis?

    At this point, I tend to agree. I think I’d rather Gomis over Sanogo and I think he has more potential to be “great” than our current incumbent

    But I would see him as a squad addition, not the new man to lead the line.

    I have no issue with improving the squad, certainly where the backup is deemed below the required standard. But ONLY when the first team is at the required standard. Until then, the way to improve the backup is to take the first choice up a level, the first choice moves to backup and the backup moves on.

    My concern is precisely the word you use this morning – intent.

    i genuinely think that the areas we are asking to improve, particularly CF, are a very small group of individuals that fit the criteria. That’s before we get onto the money!

    My worry is that we will hear it was “too difficult” to improve the first choice, so we will improve the backup with a decent player with potential. Might work out, but it’s a half hearted effort. Its safe and it lacks total commitment to being the best. It will call into question AW’s motivation at the very top level.

    If there simply is no movement of ANY player that could play CF for us and improve on Giroud, I will begrudgingly accept that the market flexed back this time. I personally guarantee though that a top top CF will move this summer somewhere. We won’t be involved and people will say, some on these very boards, that we couldn’t afford it and money was the barrier. My point is that that’s bollocks. It’s lack of ambition hiding behind money.

    The CDM thing, I’ve mentioned already this morning, I really think that Le Coq has earned his spot and whoever comes in should be replacing Flamini and competing for the starting berth. He has been excellent in there and completely proved why this has been such a glaring omission from our squad for too many years now. As far back as Gilberto, as I don’t think Song ever quite got this role right

  47. Damon says:

    By the way, if AW and the club make me come back and eat every single one of those words, each with a healthy helping of humble pie, I will be the happiest person ever to have done so.

    No one wants those improves to Arsenal FC to happen any more than I do, I just don’t believe that they will

    Go on! Prove me wrong! Please!

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