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Why it’s never good to judge a club on just one result or a set of player sales

On this day in 2001 Arsenal found themselves having been criticised for having no ambition (having sold Anelka, Overmars and Petit for £55m) but were clear at the top of the league.  Unfortunately, they lost the next game 6-1 to Manchester United and finished the season in second, with widespread reports that they were not going to win the title again having become a “selling club”.

Interesting one year to the day later, on 10 February 2002   Arsenal beat Everton away 1-0 at the start of 13 a match winning streak, which itself was part of a 22 match unbeaten run.  This was in fact League match 26 of the 3rd Double season.

Here are the anniversaries…

10 February 1894: Arsenal’s second ever league hat trick.  Henderson got all 3 in defeat of Crewe on his way to becoming the top scorer for the season.  Arsenal won 3-2 at home with a crowd of 4000. It was Walter Williams only game for Arsenal.

10 February 1906: Arsenal 2 Wolverhampton 1.  Having won only six games all season Arsenal won nine of the next 10 to climb away from a relegation threat.

10 February 1909: Millwall Athletic 1 Woolwich Arsenal 0.  (FA Cup replay).  Despite being a midweek afternoon match over 16000 turned up.  Added to the 32000 in the match at Woolwich the large crowds in previous cup matches the FA Cup helped Arsenal finances enormously.

10 February 1917: In the London Combination wartime league Arsenal got a 3-2 home win over Fulham with a crowd of 4800 in the ground, and snow on the pitch.  In the press stories were starting to circulate about a shortage of coal and potential rationing.

10 February 1922: John “Alex” Mackie signed from Forth River Belfast – but contrary to most reports based on a false report from Arsenal manager Leslie Knighton he did not ask for a monkey as his signing on fee!

10 February 1927: Ben Marden born.  He had only limited opportunities for Arsenal (playing 42 league games across five years) but played in the final game of the 1953 league winning season.

10 February 1934: After Chapman’s death Arsenal lost three and drew one game, but on this day returned to winning ways beating Middlesbrough 2-0 as they headed for their second successive title.Brikett and Bowden scored.  It was Peter Dougall’s debut.  See also here.

10 February 1948: Jimmy Rimmer born.  He joined Manchester United on schoolboy forms in 1963 appearing 34 times in the league and 12 times in cup matches before being loaned Swansea City.   In February 1974 he signed for Arsenal for £40,000, and in the three seasons from 1974 to 1977 he missed just three league matches.

10 February 1962: Birmingham 1 Arsenal 0, the fourth successive defeat effectively spelling the end of Swindin’s regime.  Mel Charles’ last game.  He wrote in his autobiography that signing for Arsenal was the worst choice he ever made.

10 February 1973:  Liverpool 0 Arsenal 2.  Ball scored a penalty and Radford the other, with 49,898 at Anfield.  There is a video of the game on the site – which is worth watching just to see the state of the Liverpool pitch.

10 February 1979:  On the day after the first ever £1m transfer was announced (double the previous record) Arsenal played out a goalless draw at Highbury with Middlesbrough.   28,371 were there and probably wished they had stayed in the warm.

10 February 1984: Gus Caesar became a professional.  He went on later to work in the finance industry in Hong Kong, having finished his football career there.

10 February 1993: Arsenal v Wimbledon (Premier League).  Attendance: 18253, with the ground capacity limited due to the closure of the north bank.  Arsenal lost 0-1 in a sequence of 14 league games in which they scored just four goals.

10 February 1996: Nottingham Forest 0 Arsenal 1.  For the second week running Bergkamp scored the only goal.  It was only Arsenal’s fourth win in 14 games since 18 November when Arsenal lost 2-1 to Tottenham.

10 February 2001: Arsenal 1 Ipswich 0.  (Henry).  Arsenal were five points ahead of Liverpool despite having sold Anelka, Overmars and Petit for £55m, but lost the next game 6-1 to Man U.

10 February 2002: Everton 0 Arsenal 1 (Wiltord) at the start of 13 a match winning streak, and as part of a 22 match unbeaten run.  League match 26 of the 3rd Double season.

10 February 2004: Arsenal 2 Southampton 0. The 25th league game of the unbeaten season.  Henry got both goals.

10 February 2010: Despite the previous games being a draw with Villa and two successive defeats to Chelsea and Man U, Arsenal beat Liverpool 1-0 and start a run of six successive wins.

10 February 2015: A 2-1 home win over Leicester signalled the start of Arsenal’s revival with eight straight wins.  Before the match Arsenal were sixth. Two matches later they were third, and six matches after that, second.

10 February 2018: Arsenal lost away to Tottenham in the league 0-1 with 83,222 in the crowd and the match played at Wembley because of rebuilding work at WHL. Curiously the next game was away to Ostersunds in the Europa League, a game played in front of 7,665.    In all Arsenal had six defeats in eight games during this spell, before bouncing back with six successive wins starting with an away victory against AC Milan.

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