In the grand scheme of things, we are pretty lucky to be Gooners.
Yes, Arsenal have a nasty habit of doings things the hard way, giving us all palpitations instead of a serene victory, but we could have it much worse.
There are clubs out there that are followed by many, whose history is bereft of even half of what our great club has achieved. We may have the odd drought when it comes to silverware, but when compared to the majority of professional clubs, we shine far brighter when it comes to glory.
In amongst our many achievements, there is one that is often overlooked though.
When we hark back to our greatest moments, most look to our Invincibles season of 03/04. When we did the unthinkable and went through the entire season unbeaten. It deserves to be held up amongst the greatest of campaigns in football – but there has been a season prior to this that is entirely comparable.
And it was again Arsenal who managed it.
In 1990-91, George Graham’s side won the First Division title. They took it from the behemoth that was perennial winners Liverpool. They did it in a comprehensive way too, by losing just a single match. That single loss is the one reason why the Class of 91 is not regarded as the equal of 03/04 – but upon closer inspection, the Gunners team of 91 certainly warrants as much limelight.
They scored more than the Invincibles did, and they conceded far less. They also did so with a miniscule squad in contrast to the 25 used by The Invincibles. You could also argue that the First Division was a little more competitive than the PL in 03/04, where it was a two-horse-race between United and Arsenal again.
Then there were the obstacles that were placed in Arsenal’s way.
Captain, Mr Arsenal himself, Tony Adams, missed eight games while incarcerated at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for drink driving.
The Gunners were also docked points for the Infamous ‘Battle Of Old Trafford’ – still the only occasion before or since where a side were docked points.
Through the entire season, Arsenal averaged a game every 4-5 days. Cup replays took their toll – and then you come to the solitary loss.
The 2-1 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge was played on a pitch that more closely resembled a mud pit. Arsenal were without Tony Adams and Steve Bould was taken off midway through the first half when he was the victim of a tackle that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Kung Fu tournament. He was replaced by a fresh-faced David Hillier. Hillier was in his first full season in the first team and more importantly, was a midfielder. He was given the unenviable task of stepping in Bould’s shoes. Chelsea’s first goal was offside too – and Arsenal succumbed to an unlucky defeat.
Yet, all the above just highlight what an incredible feat they achieved.
So when you’re asked what Arsenal’s greatest season was, try and remember the heroes of 1990-91. The wonders they worked during that campaign are at least a match for anything we have achieved as a club.