A win over defending champions Liverpool by a comfortable margin took Arsenal to the top of the First Division by the slenderest of margins, a goal difference of +3 compared to West Ham United’s +2.
This match made you wonder if scouts from Liverpool were at the previous home game against Newcastle. Arsenal free kick on the edge of the area, step forward Brian Talbot to curl the ball home into the top corner. Liverpool repeated the sin and received the same punishment.
My recollection of this match is somewhat different to the match reports. Through my memory’s haze, I recall Arsenal dominating and thoroughly deserving victory. The North Bank was jammed packed as Talbot scored a brace and Tony Woodcock lashed home to seal the win.
It was only a fleeting stay at the top for Arsenal. Despite winning eight of the next nine games, Arsenal would not return to pole position until beating Everton 1 – 0 on 6th October.
Ultimately, the season would be another false dawn, this time with Don Howe at the helm. But Arsenal, certainly before Christmas 1984, were one of the best teams in the country, entertaining us along the way. The wheels came off spectacularly, winning just seven games in 1985, ending the season in 7th place. Had they won their final game at The Hawthorns instead of the 2 – 2 draw, 5th place would have been sealed. Defeat would have seen them drop to 9th, underlining how the tight the finish to that season was, outside of the top 4.