The Arsenal are champions. Feels nice to read, doesn’t it? Go on, read it again. Bliss. It’s true too. Well…it was, 25 years ago. On this day in 1992, the champions of England travelled to South London for a league meeting with Wimbledon. The Crazy Gang were in their first year of a groundshare with Crystal Palace, so this was to be the first ever meeting between the Gunners and the Wombles at Selhurst Park.
In the opening seconds of the match Wimbledon, clearly trying to imitate the famous Arsenal offside trap, pushed far too far up the pitch and left bags of space in behind for Ian Wright Wright Wright to exploit. The striking supremo – familiar with the venue having spent 6 years at Palace – squared the ball for Ray Parlour to score his debut goal for the Gunners. The Wombles were caught out again in very similar fashion when Paul Merson played a lofted through ball over the static defence and into the box for Wright, who made it 2-0 with consummate ease.
That was how it stayed until the second half, when Robbie Earle was left all alone in the box to claw a goal back for the home side. George Graham’s side, from a position of dominance, looked to have made things difficult for themselves…but, mercifully, points were not to be dropped. Wing wizard Anders Limpar, on as a substitute for Perry Groves, picked the ball up from a throw-in deep inside the Wimbledon half, and crossed with pinpoint accuracy for Kevin Campbell to nod home from 6 yards. 3-1, and game over.
Sadly, the Gunners were unable to retain their title, eventually finishing 4th in the final top flight season before the implementation of the Premier League. The last champions of the old 1st Division were to be Leeds United, whose manager Howard Wilkinson remains the most recent Englishman to steer a side to league glory. All in all, 1991/92 was a fairly forgettable year for the Arsenal, who were knocked out of all the cup competitions early on and never looked like winning the championship. However, in Wright they had attained a master marksman, and he duly won the Golden Boot in his first season with the club. Promising stuff.