3 March 1993: Sometimes it’s tough on us supporters

3 March 1993: Norwich 1 Arsenal 1 was the 12th consecutive match in which neither Arsenal nor their opponents scored more than one goal. Not a good time to be on the terraces.

1992/3 is a season well recorded in Arsenal’s history as 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.

And what is sometimes forgotten is that it is 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, 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… although I’ve saved this story until 3 March, as it was the end of such a run by scoring two in the next game.

  • 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 March 1993: Chelsea 1 Arsenal 0
  • 3 March 1993: Norwich City 1 Arsenal 1

So 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 this stage the league table looked like this

1Aston Villa36191075233+1967
2Manchester United36181265428+2666
3Norwich City37198105152-165
4Blackburn Rovers34141195134+1753
5Manchester City35148134940+950
6Sheffield Wednesday33131194237+550
7Coventry City371311134847+150
9Queens Park Rangers361310134846+249
10Tottenham Hotspur341310114349-649
15Ipswich Town371016114246-446
17Leeds United351111134549-444
18Crystal Palace35914124150-941
19Sheffield United35117174245-340
20Oldham Athletic35108175262-1038
22Nottingham Forest3599173348-1536

Arsenal had the worst attack (equal with bottom of the table Nottingham Forest) and the second best defence.  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 as shown in the figures for home matches above.  There was certainly no need to buy a ticket in advance.

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.