Video of the Day: Arsenal vs Manchester City, February 1971
The race for those Champions League places is looking rather congested with just a couple of games of the season to go, but we’ll have a better idea of whether there’s likely to be a great deal of excitement on the matter this afternoon, when Manchester City play Arsenal at The City of Manchester Stadium. With Manchester United having won at Norwich City yesterday afternoon, City now need a win against Arsenal in order to further advance their case to not drop into the Europa League next season, and with the Champions League now something of a memory and United grinding out result after result, the pressure is starting to build on Manuel Pellegrini to pull something further out of the bag before the end of the season and his departure to make way for Pep Guardiola. Arsenal, meanwhile, will be guaranteed a Champions League place for next season should they win today.
Our match this morning takes us back to a completely different era. At the end of January 1971, it was Arsenal with everything to play for. Five points behind leaders Leeds United but with a game in hand, Bertie Mee’s team, which hadn’t been expected particularly strongly to challenge for the First Division title, would end up doing the league and cup double, becoming only the second team to do so in the twentieth century, at the time. Their opponents on the first Saturday of February were a Manchester City team that had been the champions against the odds themselves three years earlier but had failed to repeat that trick since then. City would have another tilt at the title the following year but 1971 was, by common assent Arsenal’s year, and as Leeds United wilted under the weight of a backlog of fixtures, Mee’s team wore them down to take the title. Commentary at Highbury comes from Brian Moore.