CITY 3 ARSENAL 0
League Division 1
25th April 1987
Scorers Varadi 2, Stewart
Ref R Bridges
City Nixon, Wilson, Clements, McCarthy, Redmond, Langley, May, McNab, Varadi, Stewart, Simpson Sub ???
Arsenal Wilmot, Anderson, Thomas, Williams, caesar, Adams, Hayes, Davis, Merson, Nicholas, Rix – used sub Allinson
Jimmy Frizzell has always found the truth to be a dependable ally. Never one to hide sheepishly behind false sentiment, the beleaguered Manchester City manager willingly put this upset in perspective.
He greeted his side’s first win since the defeat of Oxford United on January 3 with: ‘It is out of our hands. We could win our last three League games and still go down to the second division.’
City will be relegated. Frizzell knows it, his players reluctantly accept it and the 18,000 die-hards who filled Maine Road with rich and deserved applause for the first time in many weeks are also philosophical about it.
There can, however, be no complaints: one of the football’s more endearing cliches decrees that, after 42 games, a side receives what it deserves. Sadly for a once-proud club fallen on hard times, that will be among the also-runs and would-be’s.
While this comfortable victory is some consolation to the long-suffering supporters and relief for a board under fearful criticism, it was slightly hollow as Arsenal were little short of a disgrace. They ambled around in the sunshine seemingly oblivious that, as professional footballers, they are paid sizeable salaries to entertain.
Defeat was accepted without a murmur of defiance and despite the absence of several senior players, George Graham, the manager, must find that inexcusable. After a tepid first half, Arsenal then fell apart.
City ‘s patience was rewarded in the 50th minute when May’s cross from the right was headed home by Varadi after Caesar missed an interception. Ten minutes later Langley did tremendously well to cross from an acute angle for Stewart to easily tap-in. Varadi rounded things off neatly just seconds later by heading home at the far post after Simpson had outfoxed Arsenal’s disinterested defence.
Unfortunately for City , their fragile lifeline now stretches to breaking point at Goodison Park on Saturday, the home of Everton, the champions-elect.
IAN ROSS WRITING FOR THE TIMES 27TH APRIL 1987