Aston Villa

Division One
Villa Park
December 23, 1990

Today's Freezeframe looks back at a goalless but significant trip to Villa Park for George Graham's Arsenal side during the 1990/91 season.

The Gunners had made a dream start to the season, going 17 games undefeated, but by the time the festive period came around they were wobbling after a series of bodyblows.

On November 13, a five-man FA commission handed the Club a two-point penalty for their part in the infamous brawl with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

The deduction left the Gunners eight points behind Liverpool, and their hopes of the title looked slim. Their unbeaten run also came to a shuddering halt at the end of November when United beat them 6-2 in a League Cup tie at Highbury.

Graham's men responded with three straight league victories, although successive draws against Luton and Wimbledon set them back again. More bad news was to follow in the week before Christmas when captain Tony Adams was jailed for four months.

Arsenal went to Villa Park in search of a morale-boosting win after a distressing week with Andy Linighan stepping up in Adams’ absence. Despite the best efforts of Anders Limpar, Michael Thomas and Alan Smith - all featured in our FreezeFrame - they could not find a way past Villa.

Shorn of their captain, Arsenal remained second over the festive period but rediscovered their form, winning four of their next five league matches as they turned up the heat on Liverpool.

The season ended in glory as Adams returned to the starting XI and led his team to the championship after just a single league defeat in 38 games.

Arsenal team
: Seaman, Dixon, Bould, Linighan, Winterburn, Rocastle, Thomas, Davis, Limpar, Merson, Smith.

Our FreezeFrame series gives you a classic image ahead of every match. Roll your cursor over the players and click for more information.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
26 Jan 2012