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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty

Arts and Entertainment
Life and Style
Designer Oscar de la Renta takes a bow after showing his Spring 2015 collection in September, his last show before his death
fashionThe passing of the legendary designer has left a vacancy: couturier to America’s royalty, says fashion editor Alexander Fury
Life and Style

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why