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December 2019
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When the critics turned on Bellerin and said he should never play for Arsenal again.

On this day in 2014 Hector Bellerín made his Champions League debut for Arsenal having made the briefest of league cup appearances for Arsenal the season before.

Following this game, and after a 2-0 defeat by Chelsea on 5 October Arsenal were in 8th position and again there was the usual ill-informed talk of the “worst start in 30 years” (a completely nonsensical made-up statistic) and calls for Mr Wenger to be sacked for starting the season with only six fit defenders.

Indeed the debut of Hector Bellerin itself, on 16 September, led to calls from Wenger to go because of his “incompetence”.  It was not a stunning start for Bellerin on this day, but in retrospect we can see exactly what Mr Wenger was doing, and from this point on Bellerin grew into his role and ended up playing 20 league games and scoring 2 goals in the season – at the age of 19.

As far as I can see, none of those who complained and whinged and whined over Bellerin’s inclusion on this day, or indeed those who suggested Bellerin should never be allowed to play for Arsenal again,  have (as far as I have seen) ever admitted that maybe Mr Wenger had a point, and had actually done a rather good deal getting the player from Barcelona for next to nothing.   But that, I guess, is the way that it goes.  There were again calls for Bellerin to be sold in 2017 – although this time it was because of his haircut.

16 September 1893: Although Arsenal were now playing in the League they also continued to play a regular set of friendly games.  On this day the game was Arsenal 5 Chatham 0 (Shaw, Elliot, Heath 3).12,000 turned up – larger than for any of the league games thus far.

16 September 1912: Arsenal lost 0-3 at home to Villa, their fourth consecutive defeat from the start of the season.   With the word spreading that after waiting for three years to find local buyers from the club, Henry Norris was moving the Arsenal north,  it was not surprising that the crowd was just 6805, although that was not the lowest during this first and only relegation season in the club’s history.

16 September 1916: Arsenal lost 0-1 to Crystal Palace in the wartime league – and indeed failed to win any of their five games in the month.

16 September 1918: The USA rejected the Austrian peace offer as details began to emerge of new states being formed in Europe such as Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.  At home the mood changed. There was victory in the offing, and with it came demands for justice for the working men

16 September 1922: After two 4-1 defeats in a row Arsenal beat Cardiff  2-1 with a very decent crowd of 40,000 inside Highbury.  Of note was the return of Dr Paterson at outside left for his first game of the campaign.

16 September 1931: Having sunk to 15th in the league Arsenal were now climbing back.  After two draws and a win, Arsenal now beat Portsmouth 3-0, Bastin getting two and Parkin the other.

16 September 1937: Arsenal v Arsenal Reserves was the first live game ever on TV.

16 September 1953: Paul Barron born in Woolwich, near Arsenal’s original ground in Plumstead, and as per Bob Wilson, qualified as a teacher before becoming a professional footballer.   He played non-league football for Welling United, Wycombe Wanderers and Slough Town, before turning pro and signing for Plymouth Argyle in July 1976

16 September 1966: Colin Addison signed from Nottingham Forest by Bertie Mee in his first season for £45,000, but he was hampered by injury and was sold on in 1967.  He played in a variety of positions wearing the number 8, 10 and 11 shirt, playing 17 leagues in the first season and 10 in the second.

16 September 1969: Debut for goalkeeper Malcolm Webster against Tottenham following an injury to Bob Wilson.  Arsenal lost 3-2 and Webster was dropped in favour of Geoff Barnett, after conceding eight in three matches.  He later played over 250 games for Cambridge United, before becoming a goalkeeping coach.

16 September 1970: Lazio 2 Arsenal 2.  (Radford 2). After the match the two teams were to have a meal together but a fight broke out, into which most of the players joined.  In 2016 at an AISA meeting Bob Wilson said much of the problem came from the fact that the Lazio team were given a banquet and the Arsenal players simply had scraps.   Arsenal won the return leg 2-0.

16 September 1972: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0.  Jimmy Hill who was part of the TV team filming the game, took over after one of the linesmen was injured during the match.

16 September 1978:  A 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers at Highbury.  One Bolton player was a forward, the rest were the defence marshalled in two rows.  Brady was pulled, pushed, kicked and even on occasion punched – leading to Brady and Rix swapping their positions, if nothing else to try to confuse the thugs and reduce their chances of a serious injury.

16 September 1981 saw first appearance and first goal for Raphael Meade in the opening match of the Uefa Cup in which Arsenal safely moved through against Panathinaikos 3-0 on aggregate.    The club was however knocked out in the second round by Winterslag of Belgium on 3 November.

16 September 1996:  The first game for Patrick Vieira coming on as a substitute as Arsenal beat Sheffield 4-1,  Wright scored three, to go to the 100 goals mark. He scored three more in the next three games.  Vieira was made Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur in 1998.

16 September 1996: Pat Rice became the manager of Arsenal while awaiting the arrival of Arsène Wenger from Japan.  Upon the sacking of Rioch, Stewart Houston was put in temporary charge, but he then resigned to take over QPR, and Pat Rice stepped in.

16 September 1997: First European game under Arsène Wenger.  Paok Salonika 1 Arsenal 0.

16 September 1998: Arsenal’s first match in Champions League away to Lens. A 1-1 draw.  Arsenal finish third in the league section.

16 September 1981: First appearance and first goal for Raphael Meade against Panathinaikos.  He had joined the club in 1977 as a schoolboy but after leaving Arsenal in 1985 he played for a variety of clubs without ever making a major impact.  His final years as a player saw him with Sussex County League club Southwick] and Southern League clubs Crawley Town, Sittingbourne, after which we lose sight of him

16 September 2014: Due to injuries to Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and Nacho Monreal, Bellerín made his Champions League debut for Arsenal against Borussia Dortmund.  He soon became established as a regular first teamer.

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