…by the narrowest of margins. Both Arsenal and Leeds had scored 66 goals, the Yorkshire side had conceded four goals more, 30 to The Gunners 26. It meant Arsenal had a superior Goal Average of 2.54 to Leeds 2.20.
There was, I suppose, some cosmic inevitability that Malcolm MacDonald would bring something special to this pre-Christmas party at Highbury. The visitors, Newcastle United, were the club at which he had made his name as the pre-eminent predator in the English game at that time.
Whether there was any expectation of a hat-trick, I doubt. It was his first for the club and wouldn’t be the last. It is often overlooked that Pat Howard was also playing against his former employers.
This is the Match of the Day recording of the game.
Newastle United are writ large across the history of Arsenal Football Club. Three FA Cup finals stand out but they were Arsenal’s first opponents in the Second Division following Arsenal’s election to the the Football League. They were also Arsenal’s opponents for their first match in Division One, the match report is below. And they were Arsenal’s first opponents following the club’s promotion to Division One at the end of the Great War.
Arsenal did not win any of these momentous League fixtures, losing two and drawing one, a 2 – 2 draw in the club’s first League match.
The politicking was over, football had returned. Arsenal had been promoted to Division One following the gladhanding and an ongoing emnity with Tottenham which began with Highbury, was cemented by ursurping the Middlesex-based Club in the top flight.