Over the last few games, we’ve marvelled at opposition players making mistakes that we thought only Arsenal were capable of, but while it might feel like Arsenal blunders are a relatively new thing, they’ve been at it for some time.
You don’t have to think hard to come up with examples of spectacularly bad Arsenal defending. Be it Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny in the Carling Cup final or David Luiz in more recent times, the examples are endless.
But it seems we need not worry. They’re just following the Arsenal way.
Back in 1932, Arsenal managed to do something so ridiculous the headline of an accompanying article was ‘Arsenal versus themselves’.
How often have we said that in recent times?
“Great footballers have put the ball through their own goal before now, but there has probably never been a more cruel and dramatic case than the Arsenal’s against Derby County at Highbury,” wrote the Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News on 15 October 1932.
“Twice within a few moments the ball was centred across the Arsenal goalmouth, and twice, in trying to clear, Roberts, the defending centre-half, miskicked into his own goal.
“There can be no explanation of two such mishaps. Roberts is one of the greatest defensive half-backs in football to-day. After the second mishap, his own men ran to condole with him.
“It was just bad luck and for once it can be said of the victims the fault was not in themselves, but in their stars. The game resulted in a draw at three goals each.”
This was Arsenal’s 14th consecutive season in the top flight and at the end of the year they collected the title for the second time in three years under the legendary Herbert Chapman. It was sealed with a 3-1 win at Chelsea and was a campaign that saw them win 6-1 against Sunderland, 8-2 against Leicester, 7-1 against Wolves, 9-2 against Sheffield United and 8-0 against Blackburn Rovers.
Cliff Bastin finished as top scorer with 33 goals, all scored in the league.
They played 42 games, won 25, drew 8 and lost nine finishing with 58 points at a time when you only got two points for a win. Arsenal finished four points ahead of Aston Villa whom they both beat 5-0 and lost 5-3 to.
In total, they scored 118 goals and conceded 61.