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Division One
March 3, 1991

Forget Manchester United. Forget Chelsea. In the late 80s and early 90s, Arsenal and Liverpool were the Big Two.

George Graham had successfully ended the Merseysiders' monopoly with that dramatic championship win in 1989 and, two seasons later, the rivals were at it again. They met at Anfield in March 1991 where three points would tip the title balance in one team's favour.

David O'Leary was drafted in to bolster the Arsenal rearguard while David Hillier, making his debut, was asked to man-mark playmaker Jan Molby. Liverpool still created chances, mainly through John Barnes, but David Seaman was equal to their best efforts.

Slowly but surely, Arsenal imposed themselves on the game and, early in the second half, they struck. Paul Merson attacked a flat Liverpool back line from deep and an instant one-two with Alan Smith left him racing through on goal.

Merson took his time, waiting for Bruce Grobbelaar to commit himself, but he finally slipped the ball past the keeper and beyond the retreating Liverpool centre back, Glenn Hysen. Merson ran to the travelling fans to celebrate a goal which won the game - and made Arsenal title favourites.

Graham's men did not let their advantage slip. Within two months they were champions after conceding just 23 goals and losing only one game.


Arsenal team: Seaman; Dixon, Winterburn, Thomas, Adams, Bould, O'Leary, Hillier, Smith, Merson, Campbell. Subs: Rocastle, Davis.

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10 Dec 2009