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Arsenal fall to their second successive semi-final, but there is better to come

On this day in 1907 Arsenal lost in the FA Cup semi-final for the second year running.  They did not make it back to the semi-final for 20 years.

At the time of writing (March 2020) Arsenal have not only reached more finals and won the cup more than any other team they have also reached more semi-finals than any other team.   Here is the chart of the top ten performers at semi-final level.

Team FA Cup Semi-final appearances FA Cup Semi-finals Won FA Cup Semi-finals Lost
Arsenal 29 20 9
Manchester United 28 19 9
Everton 26 13 13
Liverpool 24 14 10
Chelsea 22 12 10
Aston Villa 21 11 10
Tottenham Hotspur 20 9 11
West Bromwich Albion 20 10 10
Blackburn Rovers 18 8 10
Newcastle United 17 13 4

Here are the anniversaries

23 March 1875: Adam Haywood born.  He joined Arsenal in 1896 and went on to play 84 league games for the club, Woolwich Arsenal being his first professional club.

23 March 1890: Arsenal won the Kent Senior Cup beating Thanet Wanderers 3-0.  Later Royal Ordnance Factories FC, the club that split from Arsenal in 1893 also won the Cup – their only trophy.

23 March 1894: Woolwich Arsenal 6 Norwich Victoria 0.  It was the club’s biggest win thus far in the league.  Two goals for Henderson made him Arsenal’s top scorer in their first season with 12 league goals and seven in the FA Cup. It was the first game for George Jaques who got two of the goals.

23 March 1903: Final senior game for Alex Main.  He joined Motherwell in October, after playing 63 league games for the club before finally playing for Watford between 1904 and 1907.

23 March 1907 Arsenal lost a semi-final of FA Cup for second year running.  It was the last semi-final for Arsenal until 1927 – a run of 16 seasons (four being missed due to the war.  Arsenal later went 18 seasons (from 1953 onwards) without a semi-final appearance.

23 March 1910: With Arsenal in serious financial trouble, Tottenham considered buying part or all of Woolwich Arsenal but the idea came to nothing.  Rangers however did make a small but symbolic investment which remained until the 21st century. It was this investment which in part encouraged Chapman to launch the annual Arsenal v Rangers match in the 1930s.

23 March 1918: Arsenal lost 1-3 at home to Brentford in front of 6000.  That evening, at the Wood Green Empire, the American magician Chung Ling Soo (real name William E Robinson), performed his act in which he caught bullets fired from a gun. One of the bullets perforated his lung and he died in hospital the following morning.

23 March 1925: The start of a sequence of six games without a win, and part of a run of four wins in 19, which doomed Leslie Knighton to the sack in the summer. The attendance of only 10,000 added to Arsenal’s woes.

23 March 1925: Last game for Tom Whittaker.  He had played just 64 games for the club but his impact behind the scenes, starting as assistant trainer was much, much greater, and he went on to be a major force in the club until his death while club manager in 1953.  Like Chapman and Allison before him he won the league twice and FA Cup once.

23 March 1935: Arsenal’s charge to the championship faltered with a 1-1 draw with Grimsby.   Tottenham (heading for relegation) lost, and then on Thursday 28th they again were defeated, this time 6-0 by fellow strugglers Leicester.

23 March 1946: 30,000 crammed into the Den to see Millwall 1 Arsenal 1.  Most noted was the fact that after scoring five goals across four consecutive matches, winger Dennis Compton failed to score.

23 March 1968: Fulham 1 Arsenal 3.  It was the first league win in 10 and the first time Arsenal had scored more than two in three months.  Graham, Gould and Court got the goals.

23 March 1971: FC Koln 1 Arsenal 0.  Fairs Cup 4th round 2nd leg.  The result left the score overall at 2-2, and Arsenal went out on the away goals rule.

23 March 1974: Arsenal 2 Man C 0.  With two goals from Radford there were hopes of a revival, as Arsenal were unbeaten in three league games and were 14th.  The improvement did continue with only one more defeat in the season as Arsenal finished 10th.

23 March 1977: Stoke 1 Arsenal 1.  Arsenal’s first point in eight games, and just sixth goal in ten games.  The club was still without a win in 11 league matches – a record of the most unwelcome kind. Price got the goal.  The crowd was 13,951.

23 March 1988: Kenny Sansom’s 86th and final appearance for England making him at the time the club’s most capped player.  He played 314 times for Arsenal.

23 March 2000:  Ray Parlour scored a hat-trick against Werder Bremen as Arsenal won 4-2 away to go through to the Uefa cup semi-final.

23 March 2002: Arsenal 3 Newcastle 0.  FA Cup 6th round replay.  Part of the 3rd Double.  Pires, Bergkamp and Campbell scored, but Pires was stretchered off with a serious knee ligament injury.

23 March 2005: An English Heritage blue plaque was unveiled at Herbert Chapman’s home in Hendon by Peter Hill-Wood, 71 years after the manager’s death.

23 March 2008: Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 at Stamford Bridge.  It was the first defeat since 9 December 2007.

23 March 2009: Arsène Wenger spoke of his hope for Abou Diaby emulating Patrick Vieira.  It was in May 2009 that Abou received the serious injury from an utterly unnecessary tackle that ultimately destroyed his career.

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