Tales From 1990/91: Forest Cut Down To Size

19900922 Merse & Rocky

19900922 Nottm Forest (a)

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.

click to enlarge

19900922 Report 1

19900922 Report 2

19900922 Table



3 thoughts on “Tales From 1990/91: Forest Cut Down To Size

  1. andy1886 says:

    The Benfica game often gets a mention when we discuss the Graham era. Previously we’d despatched Austria Vienna with ease 6-1 in the home leg and my recollection was that we started in pretty good form against Benfica that evening too. We played pretty well and missed a few sitters, so although we lost I couldn’t see why that game could have been used as a reason to totally change our style of play.

    I believe that Stefan Schwarz played for Benfica that day, it was a shame that his later Arsenal career was so short.

  2. Brevity says:

    I rated Schwarz too, he was good for Benfica that night .
    I think the shocking thing about the Benfica was the ease with which they just shredded us at the end. I remember being shocked at the time, I’d felt happy enough during most of the game and then suddenly we were surgically opened and excised from the competition.

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