15 February 2015: 85 years after beating Middlesbrough in the cup Arsenal did it again

By Tony Attwood

For details of our Free Video Collection, and the “Arsenal Day by Day” series please see the notes below the article

85 years to the day after Arsenal beat Middlesbrough on the way to their first trophy, two goals from Giroud saw Arsenal sail through the fifth round of the FA Cup against Middlesbrough, and hopes began to develop that the club might retain the FA Cup, something it had only ever done once before.  The match came in a run of eight wins and just one defeat in nine consecutive games.

The starting line for the match against Middlesbrough (who surprised City in the round before) was Szczesny, Chambers, Gabriel, Koscielny, Gibbs, Flamini, Cazorla, Özil, Alexis, Giroud and Welbeck.  On the bench we had Akpom, Coquelin, Rosicky, Walcott, Martinez, Mertesacker and Monreal.

This meant that Gabriel made his debut in the first team for Arsenal playing in the Mertesacker position. Santi Cazorla was the captain for this match.

The result came on the back of a good run for Arsenal with only an away defeat at Tottenham being a disappointment…

Date Match Res Score Competition
4 Jan 2015 Arsenal v Hull City W 2-0 FA Cup
11 Jan 2015 Arsenal v Stoke City W 3-0 Premier League
18 Jan 2015 Manchester City v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
25 Jan 2015 Brighton and Hove v Arsenal W 2-3 FA Cup
1 Feb 2015 Arsenal v Aston Villa W 5-0 Premier League
7 Feb 2015 Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League
10 Feb 2015 Arsenal v Leicester City W 2-1 Premier League
15 Feb 2015 Arsenal v Middlesbrough W 2-0 FA Cup

In the next round of the cup Arsenal beat Manchester United 2-1 away, then it was 2-1 against Reading in the semi-final and the most glorious final of 4-0 against Aston Villa.

But it was more than just a win, but a start of winning that ensured Arsenal stayed as the best FA Cup team in history.  For Arsenal won the cup in 2016, 2018 and 2021 to make it 14 wins in total, two better than our nearest rivals, Manchester United on 12.

The 1930 run however came at a time when Herbert Chapman was struggling as a manager.  He had been at the club since 1925, and although he had had two near misses for a trophy (runners up in the League, and beaten finalists in the cup) he had not actually won anything.  In the board room battles of 1927 Chapman had sided with the rebels led by the Hill-Wood faction, and they had indeed won, ousting Lt Col Sir Henry Norris.   So they had shown their faith in Chapman as manager, refusing to accept his subsequent resignation and telling him to keep on trying.   Mind you, by this time the club was debt free and making a significant profit so the board were willing to fund Chapman’s extensive transfer plans.

But even so, at the time the 1930 run to the final began Arsenal were 16th in the League, just three points above relegation, having won two and drawn one of their last ten games.

But in the Cup everything was different as Arsenal beat Chelsea, Birmingham, Middlesbrough, West Ham, Hull in the semi-finals (after a replay) and then Chapman’s old club Huddersfield in the final as the managers famously led their teams out at a final for the first time ever and Arsenal won it’s first trophy.


For thoughts on Arsenal today please see Untold Arsenal


For details of the videos sorted by club, and videos in the order we published them, plus our 21 golden great videos please see here.


Just as the videos have been put in date order so we are now doing a day-by-day series of Arsenal events, looking to find one good story a day throughout the year.   This project started on 1 December, and we are adding to it each day.   The index is here.

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.

100 Years in the First Division: the absolute complete story of Arsenal’s promotion in 1919.

Henry Norris at the Arsenal:  There is a full index to the series here.

Arsenal in the 1930s: The most comprehensive series on the decade ever

Arsenal in the 1970s: Every match and every intrigue reviewed in detail.

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