Souness plots end of Arsenal record run

Graeme Souness last night labelled Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest team of the late 1970s as "dour" and claimed "there is no comparison" with Arsène Wenger's "spectacular" Arsenal side of today.

Graeme Souness last night labelled Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest team of the late 1970s as "dour" and claimed "there is no comparison" with Arsène Wenger's "spectacular" Arsenal side of today.

The Blackburn manager tonight faces the daunting task of trying to stop a seemingly invincible Arsenal team who are just 90 minutes away from a place in football's record books. Wenger's side equalled the 42-game unbeaten top-flight record set by Clough's twice-European Cup winners with Sunday's 5-3 demolition of Middlesbrough at Highbury. It would appear Arsenal do not know how to lose, as they demonstrated against Boro when they trailed 3-1 early in the second half, only to find an extra gear as they then ran in four goals.

Souness has the opportunity of stopping Arsenal in their tracks, just as he did 25 years ago when he was part of the Liverpool team which brought to an end Forest's glorious run with a 2-0 victory at Anfield. While many experts might have a view as to which team is the greatest, Souness is in the ideal position to comment, and he is in no doubt which team is the best.

"The Forest team then were dour, hard to beat and dug out results," reflected Souness. "Whereas this Arsenal team, anybody who knows anything about football enjoys watching them play.

"They're spectacular, exciting and everything I would want in a team. That's without taking anything away from the Forest side who originally set the record.

"They have fantastic personnel and as good as any team you want to mention... If you are a football manager you would want your team to play like that."

There are many who feel Arsenal will not join the pantheon of great teams until they win the Champions' League, but for Souness does not agree.

"I suppose there's an argument that until they win the European Cup they won't be regarded with the very best," added Souness.

"But I would certainly put them up there with any other club side you want to name in the time I've been involved in football.

"What they've done is a fantastic achievement. But I'm not interested in records, and anyway, it must end some time.

"All we're interested in is trying to get some points on the board for our club."

Souness knows he needs luck on his side if Arsenal are finally to taste defeat, adding: "Middlesbrough caught them on a day when a couple of their players made mistakes which cost them goals.

"Hopefully, there will be more of the same tomorrow. We will have a go and if we get a few breaks on the night then anything can happen."

The Blackburn left-back Michael Gray is eager to avoid being a part of Arsenal's record bid, although he concedes that, as a player, it is impossible not to stand back and admire what they have achieved.

"With them, it seems to be a case of 'if you score nine, we'll score 10'," said Gray.

"Attacking wise they are a joy to watch, and when you know they're playing on the television you want to sit back and watch because of how exciting they are.

"Teams go to try to beat them every week and they haven't been able to do it over the last 42 games. It's a fantastic achievement.

"But it has to stop eventually, and why not tomorrow? It would be nice to stop them breaking that record.

"We don't want go down as the 43rd team against which they broke the record. We don't want to be a part of them breaking that record.

"So that's in the back of your mind, and I'm sure the manager will be drilling that into us."

Souness's plans will not be helped, however, by the fact that his captain, Barry Ferguson, is suspended after receiving two yellow cards in Saturday's 3-2 defeat at Southampton, despite the Scotland midfielder not being sent off following a mistake by the referee Andy D'Urso.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices