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Chapman had gone but we still won the 2nd of the 3 consecutive league championships

By Tony Attwood

On 28 April 1934 Arsenal went into their penultimate match as firm favourites to win their second trophy in a row, but still needing a point to secure the championship.

P W D L F A G Av Pts
1 Arsenal 40 24 8 8 71 45 1.58 56
2 Huddersfield Town 40 21 10 9 82 57 1.44 52
3 Tottenham Hotspur 41 20 7 14 75 53 1.42 47
4 Derby County 41 17 11 13 68 52 1.31 45
5 Blackburn Rovers 41 18 7 16 71 76 0.93 43
6 Manchester City 40 16 11 13 59 69 0.85 43
7 Sunderland 41 15 12 14 78 54 1.44 42
8 West Bromwich Albion 40 16 9 15 72 65 1.11 41
9 Leeds United 39 16 8 15 72 60 1.20 40
10 Sheffield Wednesday 40 16 8 16 57 61 0.93 40
11 Portsmouth 40 14 12 14 47 52 0.90 40
12 Everton 40 12 15 13 58 58 1.00 39
13 Leicester City 40 14 11 15 55 63 0.87 39
14 Wolverhampton Wndrs 40 13 12 15 72 82 0.88 38
15 Stoke City 40 14 10 16 54 68 0.79 38
16 Middlesbrough 40 15 7 18 63 75 0.84 37
17 Aston Villa 39 13 10 16 69 69 1.00 36
18 Liverpool 41 13 10 18 76 85 0.89 36
19 Chelsea 40 14 7 19 64 64 1.00 35
20 Birmingham City 40 11 12 17 46 50 0.92 34
21 Newcastle United 41 10 14 17 67 75 0.89 34
22 Sheffield United 40 11 7 22 56 99 0.57 29

The title had been won the previous year by Arsenal under Chapman.  This year it was won under Chapman for the first half of the season and Shaw for the second half.  But just as Arsenal had won the league last season at Stamford Bridge by beating Chelsea 3-1, this year they went there again, and got the draw they needed.

Last season the crowd was 72260, this year a mere 65,344 – and the 2-2 draw was enough to give Arsenal the championship.  Victory in the final match beating Sheffield Utd 2-0 on 5 May 1934 rounded it all up.

Such had been Arsenal’s dominance under Chapman and such had been Arsenal’s form in the run up to the match against Chelsea (7 wins, 2 draws and one defeat) that no one really thought this was going anywhere but Arsenal’s way.  Indeed Arsenal took the lead twice,

The team was settled and secure for the match:

Moss

Male                                            Hapgood

Jones    Roberts    Hill

Beasley Bowden Drake James Bastin

James and Bastin scored and the league now looked like this…

1 Arsenal 41 24 9 8 73 47 1.55 57
2 Huddersfield Town 41 22 10 9 87 60 1.45 54
3 Tottenham Hotspur 42 21 7 14 79 56 1.41 49
4 Derby County 42 17 11 14 68 54 1.26 45
5 Sunderland 42 16 12 14 81 56 1.45 44
6 Blackburn Rovers 42 18 7 17 74 81 0.91 43
7 Manchester City 40 16 11 13 59 69 0.85 43
8 West Bromwich Albion 41 16 10 15 76 69 1.10 42
9 Portsmouth 41 15 12 14 51 53 0.96 42
10 Leeds United 41 16 8 17 72 65 1.11 40

The final table after the last matches were concluded showed Arsenal not only sauntering home with a game in hand, but a mighty 10 points above the third placed club…

P W D L F A GAv Pts
1 Arsenal 42 25 9 8 75 47 1.60 59
2 Huddersfield Town 42 23 10 9 90 61 1.48 56
3 Tottenham Hotspur 42 21 7 14 79 56 1.41 49
4 Derby County 42 17 11 14 68 54 1.26 45
5 Manchester City 42 17 11 14 65 72 0.90 45
6 Sunderland 42 16 12 14 81 56 1.45 44
7 West Bromwich Albion 42 17 10 15 78 70 1.11 44
8 Blackburn Rovers 42 18 7 17 74 81 0.91 43
9 Leeds United 42 17 8 17 75 66 1.14 42
10 Portsmouth 42 15 12 15 52 55 0.94 42

The main chatter from the press was that Newcastle went down – having won the league back in 1927 and the Cup in 1932.   They went down with Sheffield United who had been in the top division for 40 consecutive years.

Journalists were also distracted by the plight of Manchester United of the second division who missed relegation by one point only through a win on the final day.  Millwall and Lincoln slipped to the third division.

Perhaps most interesting was the goalscoring escapes.  Arsenal got 75 goals, Seven teams scored more including Liverpool with 79, who missed relegation by just four points.

No one shone in the goalscoring department, and indeed the only players who hit double figures were Bastin (13), Bowden (13) and Beasley (10).  But as the tables above show, Arsenal beat everyone on the goal average.  In a very real sense it was the defence that won the league.

So it was enough to give Joe Shaw the championship and make it two in a row for Arsenal. It was also  Charlie Jones last game and you can find more on Joe Shaw here

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