Arsenal’s Nap Hand On This Day, 3rd April 1991

George Graham’s 1990-91 title-winning side were, I contend, in the same league as The Invincibles. In fact I did contend it during this post just before Christmas on A Cultured Left Foot. Football is full of teams that, we are told, are once in a lifetime. I’ve been privileged enough to see two of them firsthand.

Arsenal had reclaimed top spot from Liverpool the previous weekend with a 2 – 0 win at The Baseball Ground. Despite being a routine win – two Alan Smith headers from corners were nothing out of the ordinary – I remember that journey home being filled with questions about Arsenal’s firepower. Liverpool had thrashed Derby 7 – 1 the previous week; the line of thought revolved around if they could annihilate Derby, why did we struggle against the same team.

The winning argument was that football is like that. An absolute drubbing is likely to be followed by more solid defensive work. And more to the point, if we could beat Aston Villa by five goals to nil, why couldn’t Liverpool? This one was more enjoyable for me as I vivdly remember watching this from the West Stand Upper Tier as opposed to our usual vantage point on the halfway line in the Lower Tier.

Platt replaced the unfortunate Nigel Spink in goal after the latter was badly injured. It was the England midfielder final season in English football before leaving for Bari that Summer. It was no surprise that he was a success in Italy; as well as being an intelligent player, he did not rush into the move preferring instead to study Italian for the year after Italia’90 so that he would settle quickly off the pitch. Having seen the abject failure of Ian Rush at Juventus, Platt’s patience paid off.

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