Saturday, 10 January 1976
Villa earn an away point in an attritional draw at Highbury as Chris Nicholl, injured midway through the first half, stays on to help Ron Saunders' side claim a first clean sheet since October.
Assist(s) | None
HT Arsenal 0-0 Aston Villa
FT Arsenal 0-0 Aston Villa
ON THIS DAY
Ron Saunders' Villa return to League competition and make it eight wins, eight draws and nine defeats in twenty five League games following their return to the top flight. Meanwhile, Alan Peters made his one and only appearance in the Villa squad aged 17 before moving on to Hereford United.
League Champions: 🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 🏆🏆🏆
FA Cup Winners: 🏆🏆🏆🏆
League Cup Winners: ❌
Last Trophy: 1970–71
Previous 5 vs. Arsenal: | 🟥 | 🟥 | 🟨 | 🟩 | 🟩 |
Season | 1975-76 |
Matchday | #31 |
League Match | #25 |
Manager Game | #86 |
Saturday, 10 January 1976
Manager | Ron Saunders |
Referee | Tom Reynolds, Bratton Westbury |
FT Result | Drew |
FT Score | 0-0 |
Last 5 Games | WLDLD |
Referee: Tom Reynolds | 🏴 | Swansea, 1968-1979
Charlie Aitken and Dennis Mortimer replace Ray Graydon and John Deehan.
Starting XI Average Age
| 25.97 |
Oldest Player |
CB Charlie Aitken | 33.72 |
Youngest Player |
CF Andy Gray | 20.13 |
GK John Burridge |
LB Charlie Aitken |
FB John Robson |
RB John Gidman |
CB Chris Nicholl |
CB Ian Ross |
M Dennis Mortimer |
M Leighton Phillips |
M Chico Hamilton |
W Frank Carrodus |
CF Andy Gray |
Rimmer (ex), O’Leary, Powling, Mancini, Rice, Nelson, Armstrong, Brady, Ball, Kidd, Stapleton. Manager: Bertie Mee.
F Alan Peters |
Injury | 2 |
CF Keith Leonard |
F Brian Little |
GK : Goalkeeper
LB, RB, FB : Left Back, Right Back, Full Back
CB, D : Centre Back, Defender
M, W : Midfielder. Winger
F, CF : Forward, Centre Forward
🟢 : Debut 🔴 : Final Game
⚽ | Goal
🔥 | Assist
🔁 | Substitution
🟨 | Booking
🟥 | Sending off
🆘 | Poor refereeing performance
“I really did not know how I was going to continue. I was in dreadful pain every time I moved, but the rest of the lads covered me splendidly.”
Chris Nicholl, who injured his left knee in a 24th minute collision with Sammy Nelson, somehow managed to complete the game even though he could hardly kick the ball or jump to head it.
*Birmingham Daily Post*
Monday, 12 January 1976
Aston Villa won few friends at Arsenal as they resolutely and deliberately went about the business of collecting the point they wanted at Highbury.
If they had attempted a similar display at Villa Park they would most probably have received the same howling abuse as Arsenal supporters gave their team.
The game, ordinary and featureless though it was, scarcely deserved the epitaph pronounced by one Arsenal fan, however, who shouted at the players as they walked off: “Bring hack hanging.”
For there were several redeeming factors with perhaps the most important being that Villa’s defence played with a rugged determination that made them well worth their point.
The defence could certainly hold their heads high, particularly as they had to carry key defender Chris Nicholl for three quarters of the time with an almost crippling knee injury.
Nicholl, who injured his left knee in a 24th minute collision with Sammy Nelson, somehow managed to complete the game even though he could hardly kick the ball or jump to head it.
He said afterwards: “I really did not know how I was going to continue. I was in dreadful pain every time I moved, but the rest of the lads covered me splendidly.”
In this respect nobody played better than goalkeeper John Burridge, who made three brilliant first half saves from Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton and Brian Kidd.
Skipper lan Ross also had a tremendous game covering for the hobbling Nicholl while John Robson sensibly marked Arsenal’s midfield star Alan Ball, out of the contest.
These tactics were more than enough to deny a dismal looking Arsenal any freedom of movement on a blustery afternoon which always made ball control difficult.
Little was seen of Villa’s attack, although the hard-working Andy Gray almost pinched both points for them in the last ten minutes with a blocked shot and a diving header which just brushed off his forehead.
New £175,000 midfield signing, Dennis Mortimer made one or two neat runs along with Frank Carrodus, but the former Coventry man clearly needs more time to settle into the team.
It was obviously not the kind of performance to delight the fans. But there was one Villa admirer in Bob Wilson the BBC match analyser and former Arsenal goalkeeper. “In a year or two they’re going to be a very good side,” he told me afterwards.