Arsenal had yet to leave London for a fixture. This, the third league match of the season, continued that run as Tottenham arrived at Highbury for the North London Derby. Like Arsenal, they too were unbeaten having beaten Manchester City on the opening day followed by a goalless draw at Roker Park.
The match was a sell-out, to the extent that it was beamed back to Wembley Arena in a repeat of the club’s 1967 experiment for the fixture in March of that year, against Manchester United. It wouldn’t be the last time this season that the two clubs would be on show at the national stadium.
Gallingly, Tottenham were the only side Arsenal failed to beat at least once in 1990/91. They met three times competitively, this the first of two goalless draws in the First Division along with the defeat in that FA Cup semi-final. It even extended to Graham Rix’s testimonial which Tottenham won 5 – 2 at Highbury in front of just under 15,000 supporters.
Gazzamania was showing no signs of slowing down as the above preview showed but it was Paul Davis, too long overlooked by his country, who emerged with the plaudits. The Cockerill incident effectively finished any hopes of an international career which he may have had, a damning indictment of his country given he was such a cultured midfielder.
It hadn’t been the easiest of years for Davis. He missed considerable chunks of the previous two seasons. Such was his impact on returning to the side in 1988/89, my memory had him marked down as one of the club’s most consistent performers that season. Instead, he only made a dozen appearances that season which must have just about earned him a champions medal as Tony Adams lifted the trophy at Anfield.
The following season was no kinder with just eleven league appearances. Instead of treading the boards on the biggest international stage, Davis was in Sweden with his manager’s blessing, trying to work his way back to fitness. It worked; he missed just one league match.
Top of the table before the start of play, Arsenal slipped to third with this point as Liverpool beat Aston Villa 2 – 1 at home and Leeds put three past Norwich without reply, two of which were scored by former Arsenal striker Lee Chapman. Yes, I know; who would have thought he could have hit a barn door after his spell at the club? E
Everton propped up the table having fallen to their third defeat at Maine Road, joined by Villa and Sheffield United who were a point better off than the Merseysiders.
Furthest away from the top flight were Stoke City and unsurprisingly, Bournmemouth, both of whom resided for this season at least, in Division Three (now League One).
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