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September 2020
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Have you ever had an urge to discover some new Arsenal statistics?

By Tony Attwood

Each day the AISA Arsenal History Society publishes a list of Arsenal events that took place on this day throughout history – today’s list is below.

But quite often as I come to publish the list for the day I find myself wondering about other Arsenal events for which I can’t find information.   For example, with this time being the sort of date that many pre-season home games have been played, I undertook some research and cataloguing the pre-season friendlies and other events of interest for Arsenal year by year.   Just to see how Arsenal had done in pre-seasons across the years.   You can find a list of those articles at Arsenal in the Summer

The trouble is there are more ideas around than there is time to complete the research, so a lot of these thoughts never come to maturity.

One such idea that I would love to know more about is how the opening of Arsenal seasons (say after five games) relate to the final league position.  People are often very fast to damn the club based on its opening results, forgetting that things change as time goes by.   And I am forever reminded of the newspaper report a few matches into one new season that claimed that the Arsenal team some spectators saw was “the worst Arsenal team they had ever seen”.   That was a few games into the Unbeaten Season.

I’m going to try and do some work on where Arsenal stood after five games in the season, and where they ended up, just to see if it reveals anything of interest.   But if you have any idea that you would like to research, no matter how unlikely, and would like it to be published here, and/or on Untold Arsenal, do let me know.  Just email tony@schools.co.uk

Here are the anniversaries.

14 August 1894: Jack Butler born in Ceylon; he played 267 games for Arsenal and was the first Woolwich Arsenal player who was born outside of the British Isles.

14 August 1963: Bob Wilson’s first friendly game.  Bob Wilson went to Loughborough College (now university) to train as a teacher.  He didn’t play his first league game until October.

14 August 1971: After the Double at the end of the 70/71 season everyone expected more of the same, and got it with an opening match of Arsenal 3 Chelsea 0.  Unfortunately two wins were followed by three consecutive defeats.

14 August 1973: The second of a two game Norwegian tour: Frigg 1 Arsenal 0.  This was followed by a defeat against Wolverhampton.  It was not the best of pre-seasons and was an early sign of a long and awful decline.

14 August 1980: George Wood signed from Everton as understudy to Jennings. He was reported to have scored while playing in goal for East Stirlingshire v Queen of the South on 9 January 1971 kicking the ball out of his area.

14 August 1982: Lee Chapman’s first game, in a friendly.  He was top scorer with Stoke, but never made it at Arsenal, playing in the first eight matches of the season before being replaced after a sequence in which Arsenal won two, drew two and had four defeats

14 August 1991: Steve Morrow went on loan to Watford, and the following day Alan Miller went on loan to WBA, followed by Andy Cole on loan to Fulham on 5 September.

14 August 1993: A 0-3 home defeat to Coventry in the opening game of the season was followed by four consecutive wins and just two more defeats in the next 16 league games.

14 August 1996.  The first Arsène Wenger signings, Remi Garde (on a free transfer) and Patrick Vieira (£3.5m) joined Arsenal.  Wenger was still in Japan ending his contract and both players arrived carrying injuries.

14 August 1999: Last game for Luis Boa Morte (v Sunderland) before moving on to Southampton.  He had played 25 league games for Arsenal across two seasons and went on to play 14 for Southampton.

14 August 2003: Igors Stepanovs transferred to Beveren on a one year loan.  He played 21 times in Belgium before moving on to Grasshoppers where he played 50 games in two seasons.  

14 August 2005: Start of the final season at Highbury with a game against Newcastle.  A 2-0 victory against a parked bus defence which Henry and Van Persie breached in the last 10 minutes.

14 August 2008: Middlesbrough made a bid for Justin Hoyte.  He was transferred two days later for £3m having played 34 league games for Arsenal and 27 while on loan at Sunderland.

14 August 2010:  Arsène Wenger signed a contract extension until June 2014.  Despite this being the era of Arsenal Austerity he kept the club in the top four and ready for a return to trophies with the FA Cup wins in 2014, 2015, 2017, making Arsenal the most successful FA Cup club of all time, and Mr Wenger the most successful FA Cup manager of all time.

14 August 2016: Arsenal lost the opening match of the season 3-4 to Liverpool.  Three players including Koscielny were out because of prolonged international duty while Mertesacker and Gabriel were injured leaving Arsenal with a makeshift defence.

The Arsenal History Society is part of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association – a body which gives positive support to the club, and has regular meetings with directors and senior officials of the club to represent the views of its members to the club.  You can read more about AISA on its website.

You can read about and find links to the major series of articles on this site, including the only accurate history of the Henry Norris’ work at the club, on our home page.

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