Arsenal in the FA Cup: 1978

  • 7 January 1978
  • Sheffield United 0 Arsenal 5
  • FA Cup 3rd round
  • Attendance: 32,156

The build up to the game was all about how Arsenal would not be allowed to settle into their rhythm thus allowing the local lads to cause an upset.  Arsenal responded by spending the first 18 minutes doing exactly what they were supposed to be prohibited from doing, and the next 18 minutes scoring four goals.

For the first Rix took a freekick and O’Leary ran in to shoot impeccably.   Minutes later Macdonald ran past three defenders, and on finding it all too easy went round one of the three for a second time, and scored.

A bad back header allowed Macdonald to get the third   Sheffield then got a penalty, Jennings saved and Nelson took the ball up field, passed to Macdonald who duly scored.  Macdonald got another in the second half to round off the all-too-easy victory.

  • 28 January 1978
  • Arsenal 2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
  • FA Cup 4th round
  • Attendance: 49,373

On 11 minutes Norman Bell was allowed an open goal to shoot at but completely fell over his own feet and the ball moved harmlessly away.  Three minutes later Alan Sunderland put Arsenal in front, Rix having floated over a free kick from the left .

Sunderland (who was replacing Stapleton as the second striker) headed in at the far post against the club he used to play for.

Wolverhampton  equalised on the stroke of half time  – a lob from 25 yards.  But then on 89 minutes with the score locked at 1-1 Hazell of Wolverhampton was sent off. One minute later Macdonald headed in the winner.  So it goes.

  • 18 February 1978
  • Arsenal 4 Walsall 1
  • FA Cup 5th round
  • Attendance: 43,789

Stories of Herbert Chapman’s last ever cup game were dragged out ahead of the match, but three goals in 12 minutes before half time made it certain that there would be no repeats, not least because throughout Sunderland showed why Hudson can’t get into the side.

For the first goal Price turned the ball to Stapleton who shot at the near post.  For the second Rix chipped a corner to O’Leary who flicked to Macdonald to score.  Sunderland got the third from outside the area and Stapleton the fourth from the near post.

For the visitors Buckley made it 132 goals in 250 games and Walsall left, counting their take, and hoping for promotion from the third division.

  • 11 March 1978
  • Wrexham 2 Arsenal 3
  • FA Cup 6th round
  • Attendance: 25,547

So if Walsall couldn’t overturn Arsenal, could Wrexham?  They were striding away at the top of the Third division and looking sure of promotion.  Could they do a cup upset too?

When Macdonald opened the scoring with a shot so easy he could have used his right foot, it seemed not, but 20 minutes into the second half Shinton centred for McNeil who scored is 28th goal (yes 28th) of the season.

Then with ex-gunner John Roberts for once making a poor clearance in the Wrexham defence Sunderland headed in.  Next up Brady passed to Young who shot as if scoring was his forte.  Wrexham got one back with 10 minutes left, but Arsenal always looked secure.

  • 8 April 1978
  • Arsenal 3 Orient 0 (at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea)
  • FA Cup Semi-Final
  • Attendance: 49,698

The referee was inept, Arsenal were lucky… so were the claims, and that was just the press.  But long after the final whistle it was the red and white that stayed and sang, while the Orient end emptied so quickly it was hard to remember anyone had been there at all.

In the 12th and 13th minute Arsenal came close, in the 16th Hudson nodded to Price but the shot was just saved.  Young hit the crossbar, but then Macdonald saw his deflected shot go in, and within two minutes had scored a second.

Orient stuck with playing a sweeper, but really had no idea where Brady was going to be, and thus the scheme broke down.  Macdonald, Stapleton and Hudson all looked and played like masters toying with amateurs, and Rix’s solo effort for the third was just icing on the cake.

  • 6 May 1978
  • Arsenal 0 Ipswich Town 1 (at Wembley)
  • FA Cup Final
  • Attendance: 100,000
  • Jennings, Rice, Nelson, Price, O’Leary, Young, Brady (Rix), Sunderland, Macdonald, Stapleton, Hudson.

Before the game there was talk of Ipswich having run out of players and needing to patch up their walking wounded.  It was a ruse, no one showed any sign of injury, and Arsenal suffered a famous defeat.

How it all went wrong has been the talking point ever since this game.  Arsenal only had one chance in the first half (O’Leary shot wide).  Arsenal played it slow and carefully, Ipswich played it fast and furious, and Hudson and Brady were drawn back into defence by the speed of the assault

Towards the end of the first half it looked as if Ipswich might run out of steam, but they came back strongly and hit the post three times in the match.  Young, having a poor game, turned a clearance to Osborne who scored from 12 yards. As on the first day of the season, Arsenal lost 1-0 to Ipswich.

2 Replies to “Arsenal in the FA Cup: 1978”

  1. I remember this cup run oh so well and went to every one of those games,after the walkover at Stamford Bridge we all expected Ipswich to be a walkover…….oops.
    Still every cloud has a silver lining and we signed Brian Talbot and went back to win it against MUFC the following year . Great Article keep em coming !

  2. My first really bad memory of being an Arsenal fan! I was a 12 year old on my first school exchange trip to France and that Saturday afternoon everyone got off the coach to go and visit that unknown phenomenon in England, something called a ‘hypermarket’. Not me though, the driver managed to get commentary of the game on the radio and I stayed on the coach on my own and suffered for the next 90 or so minutes. Needless to say, as my so-called mates got back on the coach they ripped the proverbial out of me. Never mind, I got my revenge the following year on all those Manc supporters (born and raised in Buckinghamshire – times don’t change do they!).

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