Wednesday, May 01, 2013
THIS DAY IN SPORT HISTORY, ARSENAL WINS LEAGUE TITLE BY A GOAL AVERAGE OF JUST 0.009
On this day sixty years ago, Arsenal won the then English Division one title courtesy of having a superior goal average of just 0.099.
Many pundits and football are probably of the opinion that after the final minute twist to last season’s title race, this year’s pursuit for the Premier League crown proved to be a little lacklustre with Manchester United clinching the crown with four games to go.
However, it must be said that even Sergio Aguero’s dramatic late goal to seal Manchester City’s maiden Premier League title on goal difference last season doesn’t compare to the title won by Arsenal in 1953
The then gunners team coached by Tom Whittaker could have avoided the dramatic finale when they travelled to Preston on the final Saturday of the season.
But a 2-0 defeat at Deepdale thanks to goals from Tom Finney and Charlie Wayman saw Preston go level on 52 points with the Gunners with just one game to play.
Having last won the league in 1890, Preston were hungry to end their long run without a top flight title, and put even more pressure on Arsenal when they won 1-0 at rock-bottom Derby the following Wednesday.
That left Arsenal needing to defeat sixth-placed Burnley two days later and they got off to a rocky start.
Captain Joe Mercer scored an own goal to give Burnley a third minute lead but goals from Jimmy Logie, Alex Forbes and Doug Lishman fired the hosts into a 3-1 advantage.
The Clarets pulled a goal back in the second half but Arsenal held on and their superior goal average of 1.516 to Preston’s 1.417 saw them snatch the title by a whisker.
It was to be Arsenal's last major trophy for 18 years but Preston were to hit a worse decline. After going close to winning the title in 1957 and 1958, the club were relegated in 1961 and haven't returned to the top flight since.