There is no Arsenal, this weekend. Yes, what a bummer isn’t it? The last ten months have been a roller coaster ride. Going up, and down, and into spiral before going up (or is it?) again. The last season has been one full of emotions, but certainly one to remember. So, without further ado, here is my season review for Arsenal FC 2011-12.
Seven points from seven games. Need I say more? The horrible failures of the summer were directly highlighted throughout the initial games. Wilshere, the person tipped to replace Cesc, was out for the season with an injury. Nasri’s flirtings with the Manchester clubs finally paid off, as he signed for the Citizens. And the initial injuries/suspensions to key men like Vermaelen, Wilshere, Sagna etc saw the likes of Miquel to fill in for the team. Probably the 8-2 drubbing by the hands of Manchester United was just what we needed, and after that Wenger went on a shopping spree on deadline day, to bring in five new faces into the team.
Yes, I was alive when Wenger made 5 singings in 5 hours. The injection of new blood into the team worked like a miracle. Arsenal finally found their feet after a thrilling 5-3 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, which kick-started our season. Slowly, we were on a winning run(yes!). The juggernaut steadied in November (our traditional bogey month), and then we had a solid December. Great results continued to flow in from both Europe and from domestic ventures – with Robin van Persie firing on all cylinders. He scores when he wants, they say!
You can call it luck, misfortune or the inability of our medical staff, but I think that Lucifer finally managed to break the 66 seals and cursed all the full backs at our club (well, also the persons who went to play there). Santos, Gibbs, Sagna, Jenkinson – these were the specialist full backs who were lying on the treatment table. Coquelin and Djourou managed to keep up with our ‘being injured’ reputation. Finally, Yennaris (right from the reserve team) and Miquel (centre back) were to be seen playing there. Without natural full backs, the team was heavily off balance, and suddenly we surrendered to a mini slump. Defeats at Sunderland, Milan (a 4-0 nightmare!) were followed by a 3-2 defeat in the hands of Swansea. A certain Thierry Henry was signed (read: very short term) in January, where he took exactly 12 minutes to outscore Chamakh this season. His stint with the club was celebratory, where he scored an important winner against Sunderland.
The scoreline read 0-2. The heads were already down and with the heroics of two Senegalese at Newcastle United, Arsenal’s hopes of playing under the bright lights of Europe looked bleak. But a Sagna’s header changed the direction of the ship’s rudder. 2-1, 2-2, 3-2, 4-2, and finally 5-2. Spurs were demolished at home and we headed into another magical run of form. We almost acheived the impossible against Milan and went on to win 5 games in 6 matches. Arteta was significant in this time, with Koscielny solid and composed at the back. Vermaelen’s return from injury gave the side an automatic boost while the 29 year old (read: footballing age) Tomas Rosicky probably felt that it was 2006 again. Suddenly, some people were told to mind the gap, and we looked to be the favourite to seal the Champions League Spot.
It was a season where no team, probably, wanted to play in the Champions League. Arsenal, Spurs, Newcastle and Chelsea were playing ‘pass the ball’ with the each other, as none of the teams looked sure to secure the 3rd and 4th spot. However, till the last day, we had it “in our own hands” (although at half time at the Hawthorns, we looked to have made a meal out of it). Finally, a Koscielny header and a 35 million pounds block from Gibbs were enough to seal our participation in the most elite tournament of Europe. From 17th to 3rd. Not a bad season, if you look at the whole perspective of things. However, it was another season filled with a plethora of “trophyless” jokes. Honestly, I have lost count of how many years it’s been. And I sincerely hope that it changes this time around (Although, hope has killed me enough).
Robin van Persie
Henry scoring on his ‘debut’ against Leeds.
Robin van Persie, trying to chip Abbiati from point blank range (Arsenal 3-0 Milan)
Here is the Link
Arteta’s Free kick against Aston Villa
Had it been a better/more organised summer last time around, we could’ve posed a serious threat to the Manchester clubs. Maybe it was a lesson that was learnt the hard way by Wenger and co. So, without wasting any time, Arsenal have secured the services of the German, Lukas Podolski. A right move, and in the right direction. With names like M’Villa, Martin Suarez (although there may be some work permit issues) doing the regular rounds, I won’t be surprised if we do make another quick, uncharacteristic signing. With some clearance of dead wood, getting the signature of our hitman Robin van Persie, and with a fit Wilshere (like a new signing!), next season could just be ours. Come on you gooners!