8th September 1990
Everton 1 – 1 Arsenal
0 – 1 Groves (58)
1 – 1 Newell (72)
Arsenal travelled to Merseyside following the North London Derby, unbeaten but trailing Liverpool by the two points dropped against Tottenham. In contrast, Everton propped up the table with three defeats from their opening three matches.
For a team which had finished sixth the previous season, this wasn’t how things were supposed to go for Everton. The club had attracted headlines for all the wrong reasons. Neville Southall may have claimed that he was merely clearing his head but nobody believed him; everyone thought that he was protesting against the club’s refusal to give him a new contract on his terms when he slumped against the goalpost for the half-time interval during their opening day defeat to Leeds United.
But a club in trouble seems to find Arsenal an agreeable opponent. If relegation stares you in the face, then Arsenal will often cede points unnecessarily and this proved no exception. Indeed, this performance was instantly forgettable and were it not for this series of posts would have remained gathering dust on the shelves in the vault of my mind. It certainly wasn’t of the same vintage as 1988/89 when en route to the title, Everton had been dismantled 3 – 1 and Arsenal had left the pitch to generous applause from the Goodison Park crowd.
The point left Arsenal in fifth place, one goal the difference between themselves and Tottenham but four adrift of Liverpool who had won comfortably at Wimbledon. Talk was already beginning that the other Merseyside outfit were too good for the rest of the top flight, that this was going to be a procession to the yet another title. It was but not the one everyone thought at this early stage of the season.
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