Back In The USSR, Arsenal Head For UEFA Cup Exit On This Day, 14th September 1982

Arsenal travelled to the Soviet Union for a tie against Spartak Moscow which would, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, be their last European away trip for nine years. A fallow period in the League and domestic cups, combined with the ban on English teams competing in Europe following the Heysel Stadium Disaster in 1985, saw Arsenal miss out.

Whilst English clubs were banned from Uefa competitions, Arsenal would have qualified in four of the six seasons between 1985-6 and 1990-91, with 1989-90 bringing an appearance in the European Champions Cup for the first time since 1971-72.

That was all unknown at the time and with half an hour played, Arsenal had put themselves almost into dreamland, taking a two-goal lead. It could not last and from that point on in the tie, Spartak scored eight times to Arsenal’s two. The second leg fourteen days on from this match, saw the Soviet club hand out a footballing lesson to a relatively poor Arsenal side. Despite the relative paucity of the Arsenal team, it remains to this day as the most impressive away performance I have seen in a European tie involving the club.

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