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November 2020
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Creative football wins, as well as Xhaka’s determination

Catenaccio was one of the many deaths that football suffered across the years.  Man for man marking with a sweeper behind and having bored everyone in the ground senseless using the counter attack to get a 1-0 win.

Inter Milan were the masters of the approach in the 1960s, and their winning of the European Cup twice running was seen quite rightly as the death of football.  It was football, but not in any meaningful sense of the word.

Then on this day in 1966 the boring team to end all boring teams played Celtic in another European Cup Final.  They went 1-0 up from a penalty, sat back, Celtic attacked and attacked and attacked and Celtic got two.  Catenaccio literally means the bolted door, but it could have meant catatonic football.

Sadly, anti-football, as we now call it, never died and teams return with the system from time to time but at least on this day the attacking team won.

Here are the Arsenal anniversaries.

25 May 1914: Both the Football League and the Football Association held their AGMs in London. Henry Norris used the occasion to conclude the formalities of the move of Buckley from Aston Villa to Arsenal for £2500.

25 May 1917: The first daytime aircraft bombing raid on England.  It was an attack on Folkestone and 95 people were killed. 

25 May 1929: Billy Blyth transferred to Birmingham.  He had played 314 league games for Arsenal – a figure made all the more remarkable given that he started playing for the club in 1914/15 and so lost four seasons to the war.

25 May 1933: Charlie Jones played his last game for Wales in a 1-1 draw with France.  He played for his country four times in all and played one more season for Arsenal before retiring and becoming manager of Notts County.

25 May 1935: Dennis Compton signed professional forms with Arsenal, having joined as an amateur in 1932.  He made his debut in September 1936.

25 May 1937:  Arsenal drew with Gothenburg. 1-1 (Milne scoring) in the first of a five match tour of Scandinavia.

25 May 1944: Joe Wade joined Arsenal as an amateur from Hoxton Manor Boys Club.  He turned professional at the end of the war in June 1945, and played in the FA Cup tie against West Ham in 1946.

25 May 1948:  Charles Satterthwaite died.  He scored Arsenal’s first goal in the first division and was the club’s top scorer in that initial 1st division season.  He played 129 league games and scored 45 goals before retiring from football in 1910.

25 May 1949: Bryn Jones was hit by a policemen during a riot after a match in Brazil against Vasco de Gama, and the resultant injury curtailed his Arsenal career.  He moved on to be player manager of Norwich City.  

25 May 2009: Arsenal won the FA Youth Cup at Anfield with Coquelin and Wilshere in the team, but by 2015 four of the side were “free agents” unattached to any club, and of the others only Kyle Bartley made it to the premier league – with Swansea.

25 May 2016: Granit Xhaka signed for Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach.  He had played 108 times for the club and by the end of the 2018/19 season had played 99 games for Arsenal and 70 for Switzerland.  Although, encouraged by the journalists and pundits, the Arsenal crowd turned on him, he fought off their abuse and continued playing, making 122 league appearances by the time football stopped due to the corona virus.

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