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.
|8||West Bromwich Albion||40||16||9||15||72||65||1.11||41|
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:
Jones Roberts Hill
Beasley Bowden Drake James Bastin
James and Bastin scored and the league now looked like this…
|8||West Bromwich Albion||41||16||10||15||76||69||1.10||42|
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…
|7||West Bromwich Albion||42||17||10||15||78||70||1.11||44|
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.