Look Away Now: Match Of The Day, 28th December 1987

Christmas 1987 was a happy one for Liverpool. Unbeaten with almost half of the season played and comfortably clear at the top of the First Division table, an easy four-nil win at home against Newcastle United is enough to keep them ten points ahead of the chasing pack. What, though, of those who are trying to keep pace with them? This Christmas Match Of The Day features the match between Manchester United and Everton, and with no European football to play for at the end of the season it’s critical that both of these clubs do whatever they can to try and stay in toouch with them at the top. Manchester United start the day in fifth place in the table and Everton in fourth place, but a win for Manchester United will lift them above the previous season’s champions. Steve Bruce is making his home debut in the middle of United’s defence.

The second match is a mid-table match between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United. It’s a London derby, but both of these teams are mis-firing a little. With Clive Allen and Nico Claesen injured, the eleven that start this match have only scored seven league goals between them. For the Spurs manager Terry Venables, this is a significant problem. Venables has only been with the club for a few weeks. With David Pleat having been fired at the end of October after allegations about his private life made it into the tabloid press, Venables was brought in and has been in charge at White Hart Lane for just a few weeks, but Spurs have only won one of the four league games that they’ve played since then. West Ham United, meanwhile, had started the season weakly, but a run of just two defeats in twelve matches has lifted them into a mid-table position, although their recent run ended on Boxing Day with a home defeat against Wimbledon. For their third match, the BBC are off to Plough Lane for a lengthy report on the match between Wimbledon and Arsenal.