Arsenal set new record for consecutive scoring on this day. No one is impressed



By Tony Attwood

On 2 February 2002 Arsenal drew 1-1 at home with Southampton.  It was considered a poor result since it left Arsenal 3rd in the table, whereas a win would have left them second.  For Southampton it meant that they were 13th – and the table showed them as a club that should have been beaten.

Worse it looked throughout the game that Arsenal would win – Southampton only getting their equaliser on 80 minutes.

But the result did mean that Arsenal had not only scored in every league during the season, but they also set the new record of scoring in 26 top league games.

The goal itself came from Wiltord.  Henry had crossed, Bergkamp took the cross down, and Wiltord scored from five yards.

As for why we didn’t win – the lack of Patrick Vieira who went off on 28 minutes was a major cause.  After that, the free-flowing football that we were expecting didn’t happen.  Gio van Bronckhorst came on, but the movement thereafter was not as good as before.

In the press it was the usual theme – Arsenal don’t take their chances, Wasteful Arsenal, and all that stuff. And yes it was disappointing.

The team:

Wright, Luzhny, Campbell, Upson, Cole (Grimandi 52), Pires, Vieira (van Bronckhorst 27), Parlour, Wiltord, Henry, Bergkamp (Edu 71).

After the game the table looked like this…


P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 26 16 3 7 64 35 +29 51
2 Newcastle United 25 15 4 6 48 32 +16 49
3 Arsenal 25 13 9 3 50 30 +20 48
4 Liverpool 25 13 7 5 34 24 +10 46
5 Chelsea 25 11 10 4 45 25 +20 43
6 Leeds United 24 11 9 4 35 23 +12 42
7 Aston Villa 25 9 10 6 31 28 +3 37
8 Tottenham Hotspur 25 9 5 11 35 34 +1 32
9 Charlton Athletic 24 8 8 8 30 30 0 32
10 Fulham 24 7 11 6 23 23 0 32


Arsenal were in third, but with a worse goal difference than Man U and thus effectively with four points to make up.

The next game (away to Everton who were having a poor season, languishing in 14th and who had already lost 5 home games) followed by the return game, were both eminently winnable.  But then there was second in the table Newcastle, away.  Not so easy.

In fact, what happened was utterly amazing.  Arsenal played 13 more games and won the lot!

  • 10 Feb 2002: Everton 0 Arsenal 1
  • 23 Feb 2002: Arsenal 4 Everton 1
  • 2 Mar 2002: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 2
  • 5 Mar 2002: Arsenal 1 Derby C 0
  • 17 Mar 2002 Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2
  • 390 Mar 2002 Arsenal 3 Sunderland 0
  • 1 April 2002: Charlton 0 Arsenal 3
  • 6 April 2002: Arsenal 2 Tottenham 1
  • 21 April 2002: Arsenal 2 Ipswich 0
  • 24 April 2002: Arsenal 2 WHU 0
  • 29 April 2002: Bolton 0 Arsenal 2
  • 8 May 2002: Man U 0 Arsenal 1
  • 11 May 2002: Arsenal 4 Everton 3

After the 29 April match Man U could still have won the league if they had won their two remaining  games and Arsenal had lost.   This was in fact possible given that the 8 May game was a Man U v Arsenal game.

Here are the anniversaries for 2 February

2 February 1896: Burnley 6 Arsenal 1.  Some Arsenal handbooks have this date listed but the game was actually played on Saturday 1 February.

2 February 1898: Birth of Harry Storer Jnr.  His father was the the first man to be forced out of Arsenal by the crowd, despite being the first Arsenal man to play in a representative match.  Harry junior played for Grimsby Town, Derby County, Burnley plus twice for England. Like his father he played cricket for Derbyshire.  He later managed Coventry City, Birmingham and Derby to championships.

2 February 1907: Arsenal 2 Bristol City 1, in the FA cup en route to the second consecutive semi final.  31,300 turn up at the Manor.  Arsenal played Bristol Rovers in the next round and Barnsley in the quarter finals.  See also here

2 February 1917: In the ultimate sign that life was getting grimmer, bread rationing was introduced in the UK.  Football however continued throughout the war years.

2 February 1927: Herbert Chapman exerted his authority against Sir Henry Norris for the first time in the George Hardy affair, having Hardy removed for countermanding Chapman’s pitchside instructions.  Tom Whittaker was promoted in his place, as the dynasty of  ChapmanShaw, Allison and Whittaker was secured.

2 February 1935: Alex James scored his only hat trick. Many reasons are given – the most popular being because the opposition manager told his players not to bother about James because he never scored.  Maybe it was because his son was boasting that he had just scored seven in a school game.  Or because Allison announced he has just signed the “‘new Alex James”.

2 February 1957:  Arsenal 6 Sheffield W 3. (Herd 3, Tapscott 2, Bloomfield). It was the first season in 20 years in which any club scored over 100 goals (both Man U and Tottenham did) while Arsenal who came 5th scored 85.  In the following match Arsenal lost 2-6 to Man U.

2 February 1968: Bobby Gould signed from Coventry, his first club.  He played for 10 clubs in all, and Coventry was the only one where he stayed for more than two seasons.

2 February 1974: Arsenal drew 1-1 with Burnley.  Only 20,789 turned up to see a team made up of Wilson, Rice, Storey, Kelly, Blockley, Simpson, Armstrong, Ball, Radford, Kennedy, Brady.  Despite the line up it was not the best of times.

2 February 1977: In a sign of the times the Newcastle United squad threatened to strike unless Richard Dinnis was appointed permanent manager.  Player power won as the board agreed to the players’ demands and appointed Dinnis as manager.

2 February 1984: Martin Keown signed as a professional.  He was signed twice by Arsenal, won two Doubles under Arsène Wenger, and was part of the Invincibles.

2 February 1991: Arsenal lost their one and only league match of the season.  Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1.  It was match 23 of what turned out to be a dry run for the ultimate unbeaten season.  The media simply noted that it was bound to happen.

2 February 2001: Arsène Wenger successfully appealed against a 12 match ban for violent and threatening behaviour against referee Taylor, but still has to pay costs on the grounds that he should have presented all the evidence at the first hearing.

2 February 2002: Arsenal 1 Southampton 1.  Through this draw Arsenal broke the  consecutive goal scoring record, scoring in 26 consecutive games, and then went on to win every remaining league game.   League match 25 of the 3rd Double season.

2 February 2008: Just five days before, Jens Lehmann had said he would leave the club at the end of the season, partly because of his treatment by fans.  But he returned to the side on this day, with Almunia first injured and then catching the flu.

2 February 2014: Media hysteria suggested new loan signing Kallstrom had injured himself playing beach football.  A major part of the story (that Arsenal only had to pay him when he was fit for selection) was, of course, ignored.

2 February 2014: Nic Bendtner who played 171 times for Arsenal, made his final appearance on this day at home to Crystal Palace.  He came on as a sub in the 84th minute, Arsenal winning 2-0 in what was the last of a 10 match unbeaten run.

2 February 2016: Arsenal played out a goalless draw with Southampton.

2 February 2020: Arsenal played out a goalless draw with Burnley as part of a 10 match unbeaten run in all competitions.

You might also enjoy

The 1919 Affair: How Arsenal were promoted to the first division – the only complete and detailed history of Arsenal’s election.

Day by Day the videos – An Arsenal video for (almost) every day of the year in order. 

Day by Day the stories a key moment in Arsenal and footballing history for each day of the year

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