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Arsenal Win 1988-89 League Title In Injury Time: Friday Flashback Videos

Twenty one years ago, Arsenal won the League title in the most unbelievable way by scoring an injury-time goal at Anfield. Arsenal was leading 1-0, but if the score had remained the same, Liverpool would have won the 1988-89 League title. Instead, the ball fell to Arsenal’s Michael Thomas who knocked the ball past Bruce Grobbelaar to win the match 2-0 to the Gunners and to crown Arsenal champions based on the same goal difference, but the Gunners scored one more goal than Liverpool.

It’s incredible to consider that Thomas scored the final goal in the final minute of the final game of the season. Will we ever again get a championship title that will be won in such extraordinary circumstances? Without a doubt, the last minute winner is the most dramatic conclusion to a league season in the history of the English game.

The match was already scheduled for April 23, 1989, but the game was postponed due to the tragic Hillsborough Disaster. And because Liverpool were set to play in the FA Cup Final, which they won by beating cross-city rivals Everton, the Arsenal game was rescheduled for May 26. If Liverpool had won, they would have achieved the Double. But it wasn’t meant to be and Arsenal, managed by George Graham, were victorious.

Watch the above video which features highlights from the night and commentary by Brian Moore and David Pleat. I’ve also included a video below featuring the radio commentary from the night from the late great Peter Jones.

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  1. Parky

    September 27, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    JC, as a fan of Arsenal for over 30 years, I can tell you it was one of the most incredible, jaw-dropping experiences of my life, watching that game unfold.

    It was the first time in my lifetime Arsenal had won the league. When Liverpool win the league again there will be a lot of fans having a similar experience.


  2. jc

    September 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Really an amazing, unbelievable finish. I can’t imagine what it was like to be a fan of either team at the time (I was 14 and living in NYC, unaware of this match and really only slightly aware the league even existed, thanks to my grandfather’s interest in all things Forest (who finished 3rd that year, btw)).

    To put things in context of their times, Liverpool would win the title back the following season – their last league title, then Arsenal would get it again in 90/91, a year also notable for the start of the rise of Man United dominance (though they wouldn’t win the league for two more years).

  3. Tony

    September 24, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Definitely not the first live league game. That was a Spurs game in the mid 80’s and they had weekly games from then on.

    I was in the Highbury area game when this game was on. When that goal went in there was a huge cheer from the whole area (not the stadium but the houses).

    The English Fever Pitch movie, which I really enjoyed, is about this season and this game, the main character watching this game is so comically yet amazingly accurate.

  4. Tony

    September 24, 2010 at 11:32 am

    I am right in thinking that this was the first league game to be televised live?

  5. Stacy Richardson

    September 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Peter, he said the right thing in the wrong way: ” . . . to crown Arsenal champions based on the same goal difference, but the Gunners scored one more goal than Liverpool.”

    The way you say it is clearer and better, Peter: Arsenal won the league on goals scored, having the same goal difference as Liverpool. But the original post was NOT wrong, just unclear.

    Problems like this could be rectified if the EPL Talk blog had someone to edit copy, but you can’t expect a mere blog to uphold such standards. Surely a layer of editing is needed, but no one seems prepared to make such a commitment to quality. So let it go, Peter, let it go.

  6. brn442

    September 24, 2010 at 9:51 am

    You’re a sadist Gaffer – there are things better left forgotten.

  7. Peter Bannister

    September 24, 2010 at 7:55 am

    You’ve got this wrong.

    Arsenal and Liverpool both had the same goal difference, Arsenal won the league because they scored more than Liverpool.

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