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Day: June 16, 2012

Match Of The Past: Arsenal

As regular readers of this site will probably be aware, we’re filling the gaps between the end of last season and the start of next season with some great football videos from the past. This evening, we feature Arsenal. One of the great institutions of English football, Arsenal hold a record that will probably never be broken as members of the top division of English football, having been members of it since 1919, but they haven’t always been completely successful during this time. The years from 1972 to 1989 were pretty barren for Arsenal in the league, but they still put in some great performances during this time and we’ve selected six matches (starting a year earlier, in 1971) from the Arsenal archive. Prior to 1971, it had been nineteen years since Arsenal last appeared at Wembley in an FA Cup Final – their two League Cup final appearances there in 1968 and 1969 against Leeds United are best not mentioned here – and in the semi-final of the 1970/71 FA Cup they played Stoke City at Hillsborough. We then skip almost six years to the end of 1976. Arsenal had spent a club record £330,000 on striker Malcolm McDonald from Newcastle United, and the television cameras were present to see his first match against his old club. Next up is a match from the start of the following...

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Euro 2012: England 3-2 Sweden

There was a point yesterday when it seemed as if history was deemed to repeat itself yet again. As Olof Mellbergs second goal-ward shot on goal made Joe Harts net swell for the second time in ten minutes, the feeling that England were deflating to expectation was inescapable. We had been here before, of course. In the cauldron of noise that was the Rasunda in Stockholm twenty years ago, Sweden came from behind to knock England out of the competition at the first hurdle. Ten years later, they were back, coming from behind to force a draw in their first match of the World Cup finals. And in 2006 another late Swedish equaliser denied England three points in their final group match in Cologne. England, as we have been told approximately nine times every day since the draw for these finals was made, hadn’t managed to beat Sweden in a competitive match since 1968. The stars were aligning against England yet again. Somehow, though, this time England contrived somehow to pull an iron from the fire and conjured two goals – one a little lucky, one a tiny moment of improvised brilliance – to win the match and now go into their final group match against the co-hosts needing only a draw to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition. Qualification remains very much in the balance – they...

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Euro 2012: Ukraine 0-2 France

The rain came to Donetsk last night, and by the end of the evening a dark cloud had settled over Ukraines hopes of getting through to the quarter-finals of the European Championships that they are co-hosting this summer. There had been murmurs that this team might not be capable of getting past the first hurdle of the competition, but whatever negativity surrounded this team dissipated in the course of forty-odd minutes last week as they came from behind to beat Sweden thanks to two goals from Andriy Shevchenko. Last night, however, a bubble burst with a commanding performance from France, who scored two goals in four minutes to leap to the top of Group D of the competition with a game left to play. First, though, mother nature had her say. The heavens opened shortly before kick-off in the form of a spectacular electrical storm, but safety considerations had to trump all others and after just four minutes of play in pouring, pouring rain and with concerns rising that these conditions were not safe, the players were withdrawn to the dressing rooms and the crowd to the back of the stand for fear of getting struck by lightning. It was fully fifty-five minutes before play resumed with a drop ball, and in the intervening time speculation was rife that the match would have to be abandoned and replayed the...

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