When Luton embarrassed Arsenal in the League Cup final 30 years ago

24 February 2018 08:30
With 10 minutes to go in the 1988 final, Arsenal were coasting. Then Nigel Winterburn missed a penalty and it all went wrongBy Steven Pye for That 1980s Sports BlogThe warning signs were there for Arsenal before the 1988 Littlewoods Cup final. George Graham’s team were expected to maintain their grip on the trophy they had won the year before against Liverpool – especially when they beat league champions Everton home and away in the semi-finals – but Arsenal had not always coped well as favourites. Swindon (1969), Ipswich (1978), West Ham (1980) and Valencia (1980) had all defied the odds to beat Arsenal in finals; Luton were about to add their name to that list.George Graham’s first headache came when David O’Leary suffered an achilles tendon injury. His absence would prove crucial. “For me O’Leary is the Arsenal defence,” said Luton striker Mick Harford. “He organises everything. I was delighted when I heard he wasn’t playing, because he is so important to them.” The job of replacing O’Leary fell on the young shoulders of Gus Caesar, who hardly inspired confidence after his mistake gave Watford a 1-0 win at Highbury in Arsenal’s last match before the final. Related: When Arsenal showed France tough love on Valentine's Day Related: Östersund, the club with 'no history and no ideas' that took on Europe Continue reading. . read full article

Source: TheGuardian