3 March 1993: 12 consecutive one-goal games

The result of Norwich 1 Arsenal 1 on this day was the 12th consecutive match in which neither Arsenal nor their opponents scored more than one goal. The crowd was 14,802.

We could of course blame that small crowd on Norwich, but Arsenal’s crowds were pretty woeful too.  On 10 February 1993 only 18,253 turned up to the league match at Highbury – thus putting the lie to the notion that Arsenal have a “natural” attendance of 60,000.

Of course 1992/3 was not without its moments, as it was the season in which the club did the Cup Double – the first-ever club to achieve this, winning both the FA Cup and League Cup.

But it was also the season in which the phrase “Boring boring Arsenal” came to haunt the club through a seemingly endless succession of games in which neither side could score more than one goal.

Arsenal in fact only once scored four goals in this run, and only twice scored three in any league match during the entire season.  As for over four goals, that never happened.

The worst part of the league season ran from 12 December 1992 through to 3 March 1993 – and the gruesome details are set out below…

  • 12 December 1992: Tottenham 1 Arsenal 0
  • 19 December 1992: Arsenal 1 Middlesbrough (23197)
  • 26 December 1992: Arsenal 0 Ipswich Town 0 ( 26,198)
  • 9 January 1993: Arsenal 1 Sheffield U 1 (23,818)
  • 16 January 1993: Manchester City 0 Arsenal 1
  • 31 January 1993: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 1 (27,580)
  • 10 February 1993: Arsenal 0 Wimbledon 1 (18,253)
  • 20 February 1993: Oldham Athletic 0 Arsenal 1
  • 24 February 1993: Arsenal 0 Leeds U 0  (21,061)
  • 1 March1993: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
  • 3 March 1993: Norwich City 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal then did end this awful run with a 0-2 away victory against Coventry on 13 March, and followed this with an utterly unbelievable  4-3 win over Southampton at Highbury on 20 March 1993.  Sadly the excitement didn’t continue as then we went back to our old ways

  • 24 March 1993: Manchester Utd 0 Arsenal 0
  • 6 April 1993: Middlesbrough 1 Arsenal 0

By which time Arsenal were 11th in the league.

And yes this was the Graham era with Arsenal one point above Wimbledon and 18 points behind Norwich.

The fact was that Arsenal had the worst attack (equal with bottom-of-the-table Nottingham Forest) and the second-best defence in the league.  This combination kept us in mid-table and undoubtedly served the club well in the cups, but it did not endear the club to the fans at league games.   As a result, crowds dropped

And things didn’t really improve after the 6 April game, for Arsenal had eight more league matches to go, and the results were

  • Won: 2
  • Drawn: 3
  • Lost: 3

Of this sequence only the last two games had more than one goal for either side.  They were

  • 8 May 1993: Arsenal 3 Crystal Palace 0  (22,225)
  • 11 May 1993: Arsenal 1 Tottenham Hotspur 3 (26,393)

In all, we had played 42 games and scored 40 goals and had played Tottenham in front of just 26,393.  OK, it was a meaningless end of season match – but still, it was Tottenham.  22 years after the famous end of season victory as part of the double.

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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