The 1990/91 campaign

It's an Honour: 1990/91

In It's an Honour, featured first in the official matchday programme, we're looking back at the seasons that have brought silverware to north London. We start by re-living the 1990/91 league-winning campaign.

George Graham’s Arsenal lifted their second league title in three years, losing just once in the 38-game league season. Goalkeeper David Seaman had joined the club in the summer and was an instant hit. He kept a total of 29 clean sheets in 50 matches that season, and conceded just 18 goals in the league.

The season started with a superb 17-match unbeaten run, abruptly ended by Manchester United’s 6-2 victory in the League Cup. Then Arsenal were then docked two points by the FA in November for their part in a 21-man brawl with Manchester United during the league meeting at Old Trafford. That left Arsenal eight points adrift of Liverpool, but the Gunners kept on winning.


Arsenal win the league in 1991

Arsenal win the league in 1991


They suffered a further setback, however, just before Christmas when Tony Adams was sentenced to four months in prison for drink-driving. Adams missed 13 games in total, including the only league defeat of the campaign – 2-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The loss came 23 matches into the league campaign but it was to be a minor setback. A month later Arsenal beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield and were still on course for the double.

Arsenal lost out to Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley but had momentum in the league, and when Liverpool, managed by Graeme Souness since Kenny Dalglish’s resignation in February, lost 2-1 to Nottingham Forest on May 6, the Gunners could not be caught at the top.

Later that same day, Arsenal played host to Manchester United in the penultimate league game of the season, in a match that had now been turned into a party. The Gunners played like champions, and beat United 3-1 thanks to an Alan Smith hat-trick.

Smith added one more to his personal tally in the final-day 6-1 drubbing of Coventry to earn the Golden Boot award for the second time in three years.


Alan Smith wins the golden boot in 1991

Alan Smith wins the golden boot in 1991


1990/91 Division One table

Teams P W D L F A PTS
Arsenal 38 24 13 1 74 18 83*
Liverpool 38 23 7 8 77 40 76
Crystal Palace 38 20 9 9 50 41 69

* = two points deducted


Division One appearances

Seaman 38, Dixon 38, Bould 38, Winterburn 38, Davis 36+1, Merson 36+1, Smith 35+2, Limpar 32+2, Adams 30, Thomas 27+4, Campbell 15+7, Groves 13+19, O’Leary 13+19, Rocastle 13+3, Hillier 9+7, Linighan 7+3, Jonsson 2, Cole +1, Pates +1.

Division One goals

Smith 22, Merson 13, Limpar 11, Campbell 9, Dixon 5, Davis 3, Groves 3, Rocastle 2, Thomas 2, Adams 1, O’Leary 1, own goals 2.

Also that season…

English sides were readmitted to European competition after serving a five-year ban, following the crowd disturbances at Heysel Stadium during the 1985 European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool.

And… John Major succeeded Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister in November 1990, bringing to an end her 11 years in office.

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