17 October: Arsenal hammer Everton 4-0 as things start to look interesting



17 October 1970

League Match 17 in the 1970/71 season on 17 October.  Arsenal beat Everton 4-0.  Kennedy got two, Kelly got one and Storey the penalty.

But this was not just another victory; this was a match of considerable importance.

First, it was a match of swagger and style and a thumping win over the reigning champions.  Second, it was the third match since the awful 0-5 defeat away to Stoke; and those three results were

  • Beat Nottingham Forest 4-0 (home)
  • Drew with Newcastle (away) 1-1
  • Beat Everton 4-0 (home)

Now, this in itself was important because the press, always keen to knock Arsenal, had been saying that the 0-5 reverse to Stoke had shown that Arsenal thus far had been flattering to deceive.  The two 4-0 wins and the creditable away draw showed this was not the case.

Third, it was the start of four successive wins as we beat Everton, Coventry, Derby and Blackpool.

Fourth it was part of a 14-match unbeaten run which included 11 wins and just 3 draws.

And fifth it was a period when goals came from everywhere.  In addition to those scoring in this match Armstrong, Graham and Radford all knocked them in, and it looked like even if more injuries came (Charlie George did not return to the side until February) Arsenal could score from all parts of the pitch.

The crowd believed in Arsenal too.  50,000 turned up for the Everton game and 43,000 for the next home game against Derby.  These were high numbers for a club that but a few years earlier had been used to 20,000 more than 40,000.

Indeed much of the success of the club that season can be put down to the follow up to that 5-0 reverse against Stoke.

In fact the oddity of that scoreline can be seen from the facts of the matches around that game:

  • September 19 beat WBA 6-2
  • September 26 lost to Stoke 0-5
  • October 3 beat Nottingham Forest 4-0
  • October 10 drew with Newcastle 1-1
  • October 17 beat Everton 4-0

It’s a funny old game.

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