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All Guns Blazing: Gunners can look to George Graham greats for inspiration

PUBLISHED: 12:00 12 March 2014

Arsenal manager George Graham (c) celebrates victory with physiotherapist Gary Lewin (l) and assistant manager Theo Foley (r)

Arsenal manager George Graham (c) celebrates victory with physiotherapist Gary Lewin (l) and assistant manager Theo Foley (r)

S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport

Last week was 27 years on from a very special match in Arsenal Football Club’s long and illustrious history: the anniversary of the night The Gunners triumphed 2-1 at White Hart Lane in the Littlewoods Cup Semi Final replay after being 1-0 down at half time.

That never to be forgotten victory, sparked by late goals from Ian Allinson and the much lamented David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle saw us proceed to the 1987 final at Wembley. Where, as no Gooner needs reminding, they beat a mighty Liverpool team 2-1 after again being 1-0 down. In doing so they became the first team to win against The Reds after the prolific Ian Rush had scored for them, a run that had lasted an astonishing 151 matches.

I mention those games because they were the making of George Graham’s young team. The victories launched Arsenal into an era of success under the canny Scot and arguably laid the foundations for the modern superclub we have become. And you could argue the success wouldn’t have happened without victory at White Hart Lane on March 4 1987.

With Chelsea now seven points clear and ten goals to the good as we go into this weekend’s round of league fixtures it may take something special to overhaul them.

However, that evocative night all those years ago where the assembled Gooners chanted their support so loudly - amidst the partisan cup tie atmosphere of a North London derby - their unstinting belief fed through to the players. Who in turn showed all the character, tenacity and pride we would expect to be displayed in an Arsenal shirt worn at the home of our deadliest rivals.

Maybe with more of the same incessant support from our superb travelling fans and the same commitment and desire from the team this Sunday, we will pick up the three points needed to maintain our challenge.

For, if we can win away to our old foes, with a relatively benign run-in after Chelsea and Manchester City this month we might, just might, have a chance to surprise all those who have written us off.

Wembley can wait, we must turn our attention to the cauldron of White Hart Lane, where nothing more than a win will do.

George Graham - the man who managed Arsenal to that immortal victory at Spurs 27 years ago - would no doubt agree.

Layth is a freelance journalist who has written for The London Evening Standard, Four-Four-Two, When Saturday Comes, & World Soccer amongst many others. He is also a resident football and cricket expert on Finance and Sports TV Channel ‘Tip TV’. Follow him on twitter @laythy29


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