Nottingham Forest 0 – 2 Arsenal
0 – 1 Rocastle (30)
0 – 2 Limpar (84)
A weekend when George Graham may have hoped for the four-point gap to close. Liverpool travelled to Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby, a fortnight after Arsenal had taken a point at the same venue.
It didn’t work out that way; Everton victories against Liverpool at this time were, from memory, still as rare as hen’s teeth. Later this season, it wouldn’t even need a defeat to their local rivals to send Kenny Dalglish to the extreme of resigning as manager. For the moment, he was content as they recorded their sixth win in six league matches.
Arsenal hadn’t lost at the City Ground for several years and this was never really in any doubt according to the reports. Forest were still the purists favourite team. Brian Clough had extended his contract for another three years a week or so before this match and, having seen his club return to Wembley for consecutive League Cup finals, seemed to be building a new era of modest success. Forest would go on to reach the only FA Cup final of his career this season but two seasons later, Clough’s final fling ended in relegation.
Interestingly, the papers focus on the solidity of Arsenal’s defensive performance and tie it in with potential qualification for the following season’s Champions League. That parsimony was undone on one night at Highbury which had far-reaching consequences. Graham eschewed the footballing flair which was an integral part of 1990/91’s success, trading it in for a descent into Route One following the defeat to Benfica. It worked on European fields, as the Cup Winners Cup campaigns of 1993/94 and 1994/95 proved but for league matches, it was hopeless as the tables prove.
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