Arsenal v Liverpool part 2
They would never have dreamt of the heartbreak they would have that season
Scouse made us sick
If you were to look only at the early part of our life with the Scousers, it would make you despair. League division 2 was unkind to us. 4 defeats including 5-0 in the first match. They showed us who is boss straightaway. All other league matches were in Division one. As Woolwich Arsenal we had 4 wins to their 11 and 6 draws. We did pay them back for their 5-0 in 1909 with one in return but overall we didn’t seem to like eating Scouse.
But if you take away the Woolwich Arsenal days it becomes 82 to 77 wins in their favour. Not so much better. It seems we developed a taste for Scouse.
The emperors of Scouse
I am going to kickoff with the FA cup. We beat them in this one without any arguments, we have 8 wins to their 5 and 4 draws including one tie which took 3 replays. We also have more trophies. 14 to their 7. We have 2 final wins to their 1. They will probably never pass us out in my lifetime so that is one area we are the kings of eating Scouse. Ah, I like it.
But it looked bad at the start. 1-4 at home both times. Then we had 3 in a row which we did twice. They never managed that. The matches, though, were extremely tight after their first 2 wins. Truly we would have needed a sharp blade to separate the 2. We won by 2 goals 4 times, the rest either draws or one goal difference.
But what about the famous games? The first final meeting was in 1950, well before my time, and we had the final score 2-0 by 63 minutes. Bob Paisley, Liverpool’s greatest ever manager, then a player, was dropped for the final. But my greatest memory was the double year. I was a kid and Liverpool in all honesty were ranked higher than us. We had just beaten the Spuds at whatever cabbage patch they play at to claim the title and that seemed a miracle by itself. To win the double was considered almost impossible. And so when Steve Heighway scored on 2 minutes of extra time with nothing being scored in normal time, it seemed like it truly was impossible. My head dropped. But Arsenal are Arsenal, we came back with Eddie Kelly and the iconic Charlie George goal still shown everywhere. It was the greatest moment of my young footballing life. The Spurs match wasn’t shown on TV.
One of my favourite Arsenal pics: Charlie George wins the 1971 final
The next great tie was in 1980 and the semi-final. 3 draws led us to the final match. Bob Paisley, Liverpool’s manager was famous for mixing up player’s names. Before every match he said, “watch out for Osborne coming through from midfield”. The players were puzzled as we didn’t have an Osborne. He clarified that it was the player from Ipswich. And hey, it was the player from Ipswich who sent maybe the greatest team ever in English football home crying – Brian Talbot scored the vital goal to send us through to the final after a very tight fought series.
Scouse made us ill
The next time was the Wengerball era. 2001 and most of you remember this one. Freddie Llungberg won it for us on 72 as we were outplaying them and they couldn’t come back. Except Michael Owen didn’t read that script, he scored on 82 and 88 to snatch it away from us and I ended up very upset. Always disappointing to lose a big match when playing better.
Michael Owen: Broke my heart
The next 3 times we played them we won in 2002, 2007 and 2014 in the earlier rounds. So no matter what metric you look at for the FA Cup, we are their daddies.
The best league games
And so to the league. Now I covered in depth the greatest match ever here, 2-0 to the Arsenal and I won’t talk too much about it here except to say that when Michael Thomas scored very late on, I was sent to an area I never experienced before, I was up high, watching down as magic unfolded before me, the Liverpool players slumped, devastated, their eyes glazed, and Arsenal celebrated like crazy.
Oh, what a night for Michael Thomas
Other fantastic league matches? Well, I have to mention Andrei Arshavin to give a good mention to a Russian at this time. In 2009, Liverpool looked like winning the league but we drew 4-4 to give the impetus to Man Utd to win the league. They only conceded 7 goals in their final 10 games and four of them to Arshavin.
Some Russians are good guys: Andrei Arshavin
Also notable was the 3-3 draw at the Emirates in 2017. They went 2-0 up with Coutinho and Salah, then Sanchez, Xhaka and Ozil put us ahead only for Firmino to get them the draw.
Score again tomorrow, Granit
Liverpool push on ahead
There have been many tight games but also many good wins for the Scousers and our latest results in the league have not been good. Since 2014 they have won 9 times to our 2 and 5 draws. They have 19 League titles to our 13. I have to concede the metrics on the league to them. But we have 3 doubles to their one so we are well ahead on that one.
The thing is, we have played them almost 250 times over 3 centuries. They won 93 to our 81 and 62 were drawn. I can’t begin to cover all these matches and I am left with a sprinkling of games to mention and the broad statistics which show a long and tight rivalry. Lots of difficult games and the numbers close enough that Arsenal could potentially overhaul Liverpool with a good spell. They have pulled away in the past years but I hope that a win this week will see us move a little closer. Our young team need to attack and defend like demons against them but that we can do. A little luck could see us do it.
Are they our biggest rivals? Only Man Utd are the other claimants to that title and I will get to them in due course, but as you can see, sometimes we could eat Scouse and sometimes it made us sick. If London Colney could serve it up for lunch every day up to this match I think we have a chance.
Where can we finish 2022 update:
87 if we win all. Second place probably. Realistically we have 4th place for us with a reasonably good run. Beating Liverpool makes all the difference. We can’t afford many losses. They will be desperate to win to give them a chance of the title. Arteta seems to have form with Klopp and will want a win for Pep. He has double the incentive. However I am not sure he would stand much chance in a boxing match with Klopp. Concentrate on winning on the pitch, Mikel.