PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – Has there ever been a more obvious winner? Captain Vantastic himself, Robin van Persie. Having been given a glimpse of RvP at his best in the latter half of last season, this time he remained injury-free throughout and did the business for an entire campaign. Goals flowed. Records tumbled. Awards arrived. But Robin was about more than just goalscoring statistics. He was about hope. In the dark days of August, we could still turn to him to provide that ray of light. From the doldrums of 17th he led us to a hugely admirable third-place. Having surpassed 100 goals for the Club, to some he is an Arsenal legend. To others, he isn’t...yet. Committing his future to us will cement that legendary status in the eyes of all.
Mean Lean - I would love to be clever and attempt to be a little different by adding a name that is not the same as the rest. Someone like Laurent Koscielny or Mikel Arteta who both had fantastic season's overall but I wouldn't be telling the truth would I?
It has to be the obvious choice. The captain, the leader, the goalscorer, the creator, the flair. Robin van Persie has it all. For many seasons now I as well as most Gooners were asking the question, what would Robin produce if only he managed to stay fit all season. Well ladies and gentlemen, there you have it. Top goalscorer, PFA and FWA player of the season. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that he is among the top three players in world football today, so he is obviously Arsenal's player of the season.
Iron Man - Carl Jenk... Robin van Persie OBVIOUSLY!
If it wasn't for this beautifully chiselled Dutchman and his superhuman left peg, it doesn't really bear thinking where Arsenal would have been this season. "wait and see when he plays a full season without injury" - I've repeated that sentence so many times down the years that my vocal chords actually started to bleed. Real Blood! Remember when you were young and your girlfriend wanted to "wait"? You sat on your hands for what seemed like forever placating your obvious frustration by telling yourself that when it finally happened it would be AWESOME! And then, when you eventually were given the green light to get down and dirty it all turned out to be all criminally (and tearfully) underwhelming. Thankfully, this didn't happen with van Persie. If anything, he was better than anyone even expected him to be. 2011/12 meandered to something of a satisfactory conclusion after a great many ups and downs. Had it not been for the almost unstoppable way van Persie has ripped through defences with all the remorse of a serial killer at Justin Beiber concert, the downs would have certainly outweighed the ups. Let's just pray to whichever deity we choose to believe in that this isn't the ONLY campaign when we see him at his best.
hazzaboy - There can be no doubting the credentials of Laurent Koscielny and Mikel Arteta as worthy nominees for this category but the question I’m sure most Gooners have asked themselves at some point during this turbulent season is “where we would be without Robin van Persie?” Frankly, the answer’s too frightening to reflect upon. Whether it’s his status off the pitch or his sumptuous excellence on it no-one, in my view, comes close to matching Robin’s contribution to our campaign. Winner of the Golden Boot, PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year awards says it all. A class above.
Omomo14 - My player of the season would be the obvious choice. He has been massive for us in so many aspects. At a point where we thought inspiration was lacking at the start of the season, Robin van Persie showed up, rallied his troops and set them up straight.
We haven't had a better captain since the departure of Patrick Vieira. Thierry Henry, William Gallas and Cesc Febregas have all failed to bring togetherness in the squad which in all honesty speaks volumes of the Dutch man.
A total of 36 goals this term from a player who has never lasted the length of a full season in his time at Arsenal is a remarkable achievement and goes to show the player he would have become had injuries not taken a better part of his time with us.
All in all, RvP hands down wins my vote for player of the season. Hope he signs on the dotted lines and continues his love affair at The Arsenal.
James 'Raul' Stokes - It can really only be one, can't it (Highlander?!). Robin van Persie. He's scored the goals, he's been the talisman, he's been injury free. I've always thought he could be something special if he could get a consistency to his fitness. He accomplished that, and defied my expectations. There are few unused superlatives to describe him, and none that truly do the man justice. In fact; I've created a word to sum him up. It's "Redoncupersilicious"... I expect you all to use it. At home. In the bedroom. In moments of sexual glee and gratification.
Wenger Boy - To be completely honest, anyone who doesn’t pick a certain Dutch maestro for Arsenal ‘Player of the Year’ is most likely the type of straight-up eejit who might have, say, tipped Liverpool to win the title this year. In other, completely unrelated news, Mark Bright put forward Squillaci for this category. There was a scientific study done recently which proved that if you had a ball for every goal RvP had scored or assisted this year you would not be able to fit them all into a single football goal at once. The fact that this scientific study is fictitious and was constructed by me just now takes nothing away from its undeniable truth, and in any case what I say goes, so there. And I say he’s been a hero.
BREAKTHROUGH PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – Laurent Koscielny, who graduated from potential partner to Thomas Vermaelen to undisputed no.1 centre-back at the Club. Going into the season, I actually felt that Johan Djourou would make a more able ally to our returning Belgian. I felt he was more “ready made” than Koscielny, who needed another season to iron out the flaws. How beautifully wrong I was proven, as Kos remained a constant in the heart of the backline. Finally rewarded with an international call-up, he looks primed to join the list of great Arsenal defenders.
Mean Lean - Mr backwards and sideways himself, Mikel Arteta. A role that has been criticised in the past, even Mikel himself was questioned at the start of the season for playing the safe option and not being Cesc Fabregas. Those opinions have vanished into thin air today.
He has been marvelously consistent, and keeps the team ticking. Like Tomas Rosicky he makes those around him better players. Like Gilberto a few years previous, you only truly understood how much the team depend on him when he is out of the team. Fingers crossed, he can improve on his first season at Arsenal next campaign.
Iron Man - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. When Arsene Wenger spent a rather Princely sum on a Princely named player, we expected to be waiting a few years for the regal performances. Instead, almost to his own cost, the Boss unleashed the Ox in one of the biggest games of the season and we were not to be disappointed. Oxlade-Chamberlain put in such a performance in that loss to Manchester United, the reaction at the Emirates when he was subbed of will be undoubtedly one the most, for better or for worse, iconic images of our season. Since then, 'The Ox' has been seen sporadically. In keeping with the needless, uncomfortable sexual imagery, Arsene Wenger has teased us with the youngster's deployment this year like hooker who only insists on kissing. On the cheek!
hazzaboy - I’ve taken a slightly different tack to the norm with this nomination. The player in question isn’t what you’d call a spring chicken exactly. He’s not even a permanent member of our squad. Say hello to Yossi Benayoun. Having been used sparingly for the majority of the season, he became increasingly important to the team during the run-in. It was in these tense final games, and indeed the ‘big’ games that he made his breakthrough. While others were crippled with nerves Yossi remained calm and proved his quality with opening goals against Norwich and West Brom while leading the way with his work rate and enthusiasm. When you look down at Chelsea in 6th I can’t help feeling they missed a trick letting him go.
Omomo14 - This award naturally I feel should go to an up and coming young player but I won't go down that route instead I will be doing the opposite.
My breakthrough player is Tomas Rosicky largely because at the start of the season majority of the fans and me included didn't give him a real chance. I thought at best that he would be a squad player and also felt he hadn't fully overcome his injury but the reverse was the case.
At a point where Ramsey's confidence dipped, Rosicky came into the picture and helped us come out of sticky positions after suffering 3 straight defeats at the hands of Swansea, Fulham and UTD. From that period on he grew from strength to strength and became a key component to our set up.
Creativity wise,he improved us and helped with the introduction of more scorers and reduced the burden on RvP to come out with the goals at every point. He also never stopped running when we were on the back foot closing opposition players down and turning over possession to initiate attacks.
James 'Raul' Stokes - Not sure if a sophomore player really counts, but I'm going with Laurent Koscielny. During his first season, he showed glimpses of his ability - most notably against Barcelona. However, there was the occasional high-profile blunder in the mixture, too. This season, he has progressed into a superb centre-back, and arguably the most vital cog in a defensive unit that's looked far from solid in the past.
Wenger Boy - Answering this one depends on your definition – if it’s a youngster breaking into the team then it has to be Oxlade-Chamberlain (which I’ve taken to pronouncing purely in a French accent: ox-lard sham-blon) and if it’s a first teamer developing it has to be Koz-chel-knee. I’m going to go with the former since I actually thought Kosasaurus was a beast last year and I want to award it to a younger player because I miss my childhood and deserve way more lollipops for being a good boy ‘n’ that at shops. He can dribble, he can pass, he can shoot – he’s a footballer basically – and he’s Arsenal’s to keep. On this year’s showing Oxlard Shamblon is going to be star. Unless he comes back from the Euros a trembling wreck, obviously.
DISAPPOINTING PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – Andrey Arshavin. You can throw all the stats at me about his assists and goals, but if he doesn’t work hard for the cause then it is baseless. While the entire team was guilty of not pressing higher and harder in the first-half of the season, it is no coincidence we executed the press more effectively in his absence following his loan to Zenit. Even though I was perplexed at the timing of his departure, this team couldn’t afford any passengers, which is exactly what Arshavin had become. The polar opposite is Yossi Benayoun. Not as talented as Arshavin, but twice as hard working. And the acclaim Yossi has received in recent months shows that hard work pays off.
Mean Lean - It would be easy to point towards RVP's back up strikers but that may well be a little unfair as they haven't had the chance to play enough games to be properly judged. That being the case, I am going to have to point the finger at the cheeky chappy Andrey Arshavin. A player who has enough talent to be labelled at world class yet could not show that enough consistently. So much so that 18 year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pushed him down the pecking order when both players were at the club.
Put him on the pitch and he can pull out match winning crosses like he provided at Sunderland but it is more likely that the game will pass him by and he will fail to make a decisive contribution. He is now back at Zenit and has found form, I think the Arshavin, Arsenal love affair may well be closed this summer.
Iron Man - Thomas Vermaelan. While he was out injured, the perception of him reached almost God-like status. When the team were haemorrhaging goals in his absence, the expectation was that he would simply return and plug the holes line some sort of defensive handyman. To the shock of everyone, the Belgian's return has merely exacerbated the problem and the defence, particularly in the last few months of the season, has been leakier than a pensioner's bladder. There seems to be no sense of understanding with Koscielny. Time after time, Vermaelan is caught out of position. Where you expect him to marshall the defence, you find that he is actually the problem. All too often shirking his responsibility to get forward. Yes, we are grateful for the goals against Newcastle and Fulham but he has been found wanting defensively (the job he is actually supposed to be doing you might remember...) more times then someone of his supposed quality should be. The fact I can say, while sober and without vomiting in my mouth, that I would prefer Mertesacker in there shows how poor Tommy V has been this campaign.
hazzaboy - Any nomination for this category is going to sound harsh but simply on my initial expectations of the player I have to say Gervinho. 2 goals in the opening quarter of an hour in his first pre-season game against FC Köln sadly belied performances to come. 4 goals and 7 assists isn’t an awful tally in your first season in English football and it was clear that the Africa Cup of Nations took a lot out of him both physically and mentally but I did expect a bit more. Brilliant approach play was too often ruined by a wayward end product and the fact that he was unable to get a shot on target for the last 484 minutes of his season (his last coming at Fulham on 2nd January) is a damning indictment for any forward. With the addition of Podolski making competition on the wings fierce he’ll certainly have to up his game next season.
Omomo14 - This was a very easy choice to make largely because after seeing the departure in the creative department of Cesc and Nasri, I felt he was the player that would step up and give us the much needed creativity.
Andrei Arshavin was a real disappointment this term, felt uninterested when put in, didn't put up a fight and lacked the necessary ingredient to urge his team mates. We also conceded a little more goals when he played because the likes of Gibbs, Santos and Vermaelen didn't get the right protection when he played in front of them.
James 'Raul' Stokes - This is sure to be controversial: Thomas Vermaelen. Maybe it's because I'm such an unabashed fan of the Belgian, that I expect more from him. Ordinarily he's reliable, but that reliability has taken a back seat to a litany of uncharacteristic calamities. He single-handedly gifted 3 points to QPR at Loftus Road, and seemed to spend an inordinately large amount of time falling over.
Wenger Boy - Probably going to plump for Gervinho here – a man who had his forehead surgically enhanced just to ensure he had a larger surface to slap whenever he missed an open goal. His form has been patchier than the quilt he was napping under for half the season, although he showed just enough moments of quality to suggest that he will have more to offer next term. However for £11m (plus £23845.894m expenses for 506 medicals) it was probably reasonable to expect more from him. Still, at least he’s not Stewart Downing.
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – RvP’s volley against Everton. Not only for its technical perfection, but also for its sense of occasion; which I think sometimes gets overlooked. Lest we forget this was the 125th anniversary match and the stadium was graced by legends from the Club’s history. For the winner on such an auspicious day to be such a stunning goal from the next potential legend made it extra special.
Mean Lean - There are so many, most coming from the captain. His volley's at Anfield and against Everton were outstanding but his curling effort against Tottenham sticks out for me. The opposition, the importance, the timing puts it as my goal of the season. In the Tottenham D, Robin spun round on the edge of the box leaving Tottenham players dazed before curling past the outstretched hand of Brad Friedel 2-2!
Iron Man - Van Persie v Everton. I'm actually struggling to put into words how good this goal was. Goals are all the more special when they are unique. How many other players in world football would be able to control a volley so precisely? I don't think i'd be exaggerating if I said less than 2%.
hazzaboy - Many goals crossed my mind for different reasons when considering this category. van Persie’s exquisite volleys against Everton and Liverpool for their technical brilliance; The fairytale moment that was Titi’s late goal against Leeds in the FA Cup; Even Koscielny’s winner against West Brom that sealed 3rd place and Champions League football for yet another year. The one that stands out for me, however, was Bacary Sagna’s headed goal in the North London Derby. It was, in effect, the goal that launched not only our comeback in that game but our revival in the league. I loved the passion, desire and bravery to score that goal against the “the enemy”. Thanks, Bac. You’re a warrior.
Omomo14 - Difficult choice we have got here because we had some breathtaking goals scored this term.
My choice for this category goes to Mikel Arteta. My word! his goal against City right at the death, from outside the 18' yard box was nothing short of unbelievable.
The atmosphere in the stadium after the goal gave the Emirates a new meaning for a lot of fans. The goal also cemented our grip on 3rd spot.
James Raul Stokes - There are quite a few to choose from: Robin's volley against Everton, Robin's leveller against Spurs, Thierry's comeback strike. All brilliant goals. My absolute favourite of the season is Tomas Rosicky's against Spurs. It may lack the technique or the delirious nostalgia of the aforementioned, but in terms of the wave of euphoria it sent through me, and the joyous manner in which Tommy celebrated, it's the one I like best by some distance. I should also spare a thought for Theo's breathtaking finish in the 3-2 cup win over Villa....
Wenger Boy - A fair few to choose from here – RvP’s crackers against Liverpool and Everton and Sagna’s header against Sours spring to mind – but my absolute favourito has to be Arteta’s late, late wonder-ping against Yaya Toure’s former club. The goal was just reward for a game in which we ran them ragged, and came just late enough to crush them mentally, causing them to spiral wildly down the table, fall out the bottom and disappear off into oblivion. I think.
ASSIST OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – Alex Song has produced many beauties, developing a penchant for lofted balls over the defence. Indeed, said pass resulted in the RvP’s volley against Everton. However, I’m going to go with Songinho’s ball to RvP versus Liverpool. Into injury time and with the game locked at 1-1, to have the vision and technique to execute it was sublime. Whilst similar to the assist for Robin’s winner against Everton, I marginally prefer the one at Anfield because it was straighter and therefore needed to be weighted and flighted even more perfectly.
Mean Lean - I know I should be looking towards our number 17 and his golf like dinked chipped passes played with back spin. After saying that I am considering changing my mind once more. Song's pass to van Persie at Anfield was lovely jubbly but in terms of how the assist made me feel, I have to go with Tomas Rosicky's drive inside and cross behind the Stoke defence but ahead of the keeper for van Persie to tap into an empty net at that awful ground. It may not have had the recognition that Song has had but every time I watch that assist it gets better and better every single time.
Iron Man - Song to van Persie (Anfield) - I can't explain why I consider this one to be better than the one against Everton. I just do.
hazzaboy - Song v Dortmund. Alex Song provided a number of assists to Robin van Persie over the course of the season but this one stands out to me for the sheer mix of audacious skill and wonderful composure. To beat a couple of defenders by the by-line with a nifty shuffle was one thing but to have the sense of mind to keep his head and deliver a perfect cross for Robin was another. All from a defensive midfielder too. Sometimes a little bit of Songinho isn’t bad at all.
Omomo14 - I really can't pick 1 from the many Song's assists this term. But 3 that spring to mind are the ones against Dortmund, Everton and Liverpool. All 3 were awesome and came at a point where we needed to pull clear.
Those 3 are my assists of the year - Pardon my choice of picking 3 instead of one.
James 'Raul' Stokes - This is basically a case of 'pick your favourite Alex Song chip-pass'. Whilst I wouldn't seek to cast aspersions on Alex Song's 'Songinho' attributes, I'm not going to pick one. I'm going with Arshavin's cross for Thierry at Sunderland. The little Russian might have been a maligned figure throughout the season, but in that moment, with a pass that cunning and accurate, he showed us what he is capable of. It's just a shame we didn't see more.
Wenger Boy - Song, Song, Alexandre, Song, A. Song, Song, Alexandre, Billong, Song - those are the contenders for this category in roughly non-alphabetic order. If I had to choose one it would probably be Alex Dimitri Song Billong for his stupidly wondrous dribble and cross for Robin’s goal against Dortmund. To say he created it out of nothing would be offering too much credit to nothing. If memory serves, he dribbled around seventeen players, nutmegged Klopp and then sent the ball (recorded delivery – also, very sensibly, making a note of the order number on his phone. We all know how hard it can be to find that order number when you need it, don’t we? So well done to...sh*t...I’m still in the middle of a sentence) directly onto the diametric centre of Robin’s very essence. It was all very unexpected and equally, if not more, pleasing, and it continued to highlight just how effective Song could be as a playmaker.
MATCH OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – Beating 5pur2 is always sweet. Doing so from 2-0 down is sweeter. Hammering five past them when they’ve had the better of us in recent seasons is even sweeter. Closing their precious gap and, in hindsight, knowing that we started their collapse is cathartic sugar overload. The march to St Totteringham’s Day began in our own backyard on a sunny day in February. One I will personally cherish for the rest of my life.
Mean Lean - I want to cheat and throw them both in but that would be erm.. cheating. Sorry. I have decided that I will in fact have to cheat because I just cannot separate them for different reasons. At the start of the season we lacked a little bit sharpness and found ourselves on the wrong end of a couple of beatings. Nobody knew how the team would look once the new players had settled in and we slowly started to see progress, winning a few games due to hard work and van Persie's goals. The first test post OT nightmare came at Stamford Bridge and it was just a wonderful feeling watching firstly a great game of football and of course watching John Terry drop to the floor. A Robin hat trick, scoring five at Stamford Bridge, post match unifying etc made it a fantastic day.
Beating the Scum is always fun, beating them when they think they are superior is also fun but beating them and subsequently sending them into a tail spin as well as kick starting our season makes this game too difficult to ignore. That point when Adebayor placed his penalty wide of Szczesny made me rather uncomfortable to say the least. Having to entertain those lot rubbing it in our faces was far from an exciting prospect, but Bac, Robin, Tommy and a Theo double made for a memorable day. Mind the gap indeed.. you mugs.
Iron Man - Beating 5pur2 - One thing that always irked me during our better years was the fact we never really ever put Tottenham to sword. Yes, we used to win a lot of North London derbies as expected by we never really humiliated them scoreline wise. There was the famous 3-0 when Henry scored that stupendous goal and the celebration that followed but apart from that, most games were cagey affairs settled by the odd goal or two and never really did justice to what a superior football teal we actually were during the period. Older Gooners talk about the 5-0 at White Hart Lane back in 78. The day I finally master time travel, I wont go back and kill Hitler or find out who shot JFK. No, I'm going to THAT game. Who would have thought that we would 'batter' them in the season when the balance of power was supposed to have shifted towards them, eh? Funny that.
hazzaboy - The North London Derby at the Emirates. Strangely I think the fact that we went down a couple of goals made the victory even sweeter. We were merely giving Spurs a false sense of security of course... When we did click into gear though it was marvellous to watch. From despair to ecstasy in an astonishing 27 minute spell either side of half-time. The game had everything. Tempo, passion, technique and even a goal from Tomáš Rosický! One of the best atmospheres I’ve experienced at the Emirates. That was the day that a seed of doubt was planted into the minds of the Spurs’ players and boy did it grow!
Omomo14 - One match that was key to our transformation, that gave us real hope for the season and my match of the year was our 5-3 triumph against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
A lot didn't give us a chance before the game and to come out tops and also see RvP get a deserved hat-trick puts this game at the very top of the list.
Wenger Boy - Everyone is most likely going to say the Sours game, but since I was on a train for the second half I’m going to say the win against Manchester Brothel Blue. I don’t know why I loved this game so much, really. No wait I do, we battered the eventual champions, looked incredibly classy, scared the be-Allah out of Samira and generally ran tingz, ya get me. To get the win so late was just magical and I admit I shouted like a crazy loon until my throat was horse.
BEST MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – It has been a season of heady highs, including excellent victories over rivals clubs. Normally, scoring five against Spurs or Chelsea would win this. But this wasn’t a normal season, for we were sprinkled with fantasy via the comeback of the Club’s greatest ever player. It seems surreal to think that return of the King was a catalyst for our excellent third-quarter of the season. Heck, it was actually his late goal away to Sunderland which sparked a run of seven victories to catapult us into third. But that magical night he made his second bow in red’n’white and scored the winner in typical fashion is the most memorable moment for me. Thierry Henry’s fairytale return and goal versus Leeds will forever echo through the annals of time.
Mean Lean - The final whistle at West Brom actually saved my life rather than being the best moment. I felt like I was about to collapse due to the strain of the game but in terms of pure football happiness I will go for a match against a lower league side. No cup or title attached to the 90 minutes, no CL placing just a lovely fairy tale ending that touched many a Gooner. Thierry Henry making his second Arsenal debut late on in an FA Cup clash with Leeds and the legend killed Song's pass, opened up his body and executed that trademark side footer past the keeper and into the corner. I was ecstatic yet upset because I had a ticket to go to the game but family matters prevented me from going. *sniff sniff* I will regret that for some time I feel. What a comeback. What a player. What a legend.
Iron Man - There palpable relief when the final whistle went at the Hawthorns and third was secured is something I don't think I have experienced for a long time. For pure nostalgia, Henry's goal against Leeds did funny things to my insides. Weird, uncomfortable things but I liked it... However, for me, John Terry is just THAT much of a c*nt that seeing him fall flat on his face as Robin skipped through to make it 4-3 at Stamford Bridge will be my happiest moment for many a year.
hazzaboy - A topsy-turvy season with plenty of highs and lows but for me the best moment was the last. When the final whistle blew at The Hawthorns we could finally celebrate. Odd perhaps to celebrate coming 3rd but looking back from whence we came it would be mad not to. A 15th consecutive year in Europe’s elite competition to look forward to and another St. Totteringham’s Day to savour. Outpourings of relief and joy. I’ll take that.
Omomo14 - My best moment of the season is securing 3rd spot at the very end. The game against West Brom meant a lot to millions of our fans and you could see and feel the nervousness on the final day.
From how we started the season, being written off, some said we wouldn't even make top six, some went as far as saying we would be in a relegation fight and then clinching 3rd spot on the final day makes it the best moment of the season for me.
James 'Raul' Stokes - Easy. Spurs at the Emirates. It was worth them taking a 2-0 lead. Few things in life will be as glorious as seeing those mugs turn up in their 'Mind The Gap' t-shirts only for their precious Spurs to be well and truly blown off the park. It wasn't just a victory, it was a obliteration, and the catalyst for Spur's eventual - and inevitable - capitulation. What gap are we supposed to be minding? Someone refresh my memory
Wenger Boy - The best moment of the season involved a man in black clothes exhaling much of the air in his lungs through a tiny plastic instrument. I didn’t really relax fully at any point this season until the final whistle went on the final day and Champion’s League football was secured, at which point I went nuts and then pretended I’d been relaxed the whole time. Which I was, obviously.
WORST MOMENT OF THE SEASON
Squid Boy – It has been a season of devastating lows, with crushing defeats to teams we consider ourselves equal to (Man Utd and Milan) and limp losses to those we should be beating (Blackburn, Fulham, Swansea, QPR, Wigan). But despite all of these, it is a draw which saw me hit rock bottom. And it was only just last week. In such a crucial game, to go from 1-0 up in the first-minute to 2-1 down at half-time was bad enough. To then summon the courage to get ourselves 3-2 ahead with 10 minutes left but subsequently concede a late equaliser was just criminal. After the 3-3 draw against Norwich, I flipped out of fear that automatic Champions League qualification had definitively slipped from our buttery grasp. Thankfully, Spurs could not capitalise the following day. But for 24 hours I’d lost all hope.
Mean Lean - I have two on my mind again and I am trying to not take the easy way out again and select them both but I think I will go with AC Milan away. The 8-2 mauling at the hands of our old nemesis wasn't pretty, in fact it was downright embarrassing. As poor as it was, I could deal with it in my head. We had players still not out of the door, players still not bought as well as important players suspended or injured. Not that it excuses the result but the eleven on the pitch would obviously be stronger very shortly after the match. The game in Milan left me stunned. We had a very strong team out on the pitch and what we gave (as Arsene would say) was not acceptable. When Sagna is poor, you know it is a bad night.
Iron Man - The 8-2 at Old Trafford will take some beating. I'm not here to dictate to anyone who they should like or dislike in football. However, I do find it somewhat distressing when I hear gooners say they would have been happy to see United win the league over City. I personally cant get my head around the revisionism that suddenly ignores the heated rivalry between us and the team I consider to be our mortal enemies. The rivalry with Sp*rs is born out of local divisions - the yang to our ying. We don't like them simply because of who they are. With United, it is much, much more. Brian McClair kicking lumps out of Winterburn at Old Trafford and US having 2 points docked as a result, Peter Schmeichal and Wrighty, Ryan fricking Giggs and THAT goal, the Nevilles' unpunished assaults on Reyes as well as Rooney's dive to end the unbeaten run, Roy Keane mouthing off at Vieira in the tunnel, Nani doing kick ups when they were 4-0 up a few years back, the Champions League semi final and now the most humiliating result in the history of Arsenal football club. ANY time we lose to United is bad enough but the spanking we received back at the end of August was like watching a snuff film featuring people you actually know and love. This match almost made me question why I bother even following football. Worst moment of the season? Try worst moment EVER.
hazzaboy - A certain game at Old Trafford earlier in the season didn’t go too well I seem to recall. We didn’t face Manchester United in the best of circumstances but there can be no excuses for the massacre that occurred. We were battered from pillar to post. Never again, please.
Omomo14 - So many bad moments this season but the worst was the back to back defeats to Swansea, Fulham and UTD. After picking up 0 wins/0 points I felt deflated and couldn't think straight.
Yes, that was probably the worst moment of the season.
James 'Raul' Stokes - The 8-2 at United was awful, but I've never looked at that as anything other than "one of those things". We got hit by injuries, had to field an awful, weakened team and lost. Badly. The worst moment, though, as far as I'm concerned was the defeat at Blackburn. I've not seen a performance as woeful as that from players in Arsenal shirts for decades. We defended like schoolboys, scored 2 of the 4 Blackburn registered and generally looked weak and predictable.
Wenger Boy - Probably the shambles of a summer that occurred before the start of the season. I am a naturally optimistic Gooner who likes to write articles comparing Arsenal players to pretty flowers and marvelling at almost anything that happens within a five mile radius of Arsene Wenger but for the first time ever I felt genuinely depressed and pessimistic about our future and I’m not sure I’ve quite recovered since. That realisation that there wasn’t a plan and there’s wasn’t a definite method to the madness was a real wakeup call and while the season ended well (and the optimism has largely returned) I am not quite the same naive, happy-go-lucky fan I was twelve months ago. Which saddens me.
WHAT I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO NEXT SEASON...
Squid Boy – A continuation of the mental strength we’ve exhibited in our numerous comebacks this year, allied with greater mental capacity i.e. doing the right thing at the right time (looking at you, Verma and Songinho). While I want us to press high and hard in every match when we don’t have the ball, I feel we’ve lost some balance over the course of this campaign and gone too much towards “tactical anarchy” when we are in possession. We no longer seem comfortable playing with patience, so I hope that returns and we have the in-game intelligence to alternate between tippy-tappy and freestyle.
Mean Lean - I could turn this into an essay as there is so much that I am looking forward to. I will drop a few things in and tell me that it doesn't make your mouth water just a tad.
* Mikel Arteta fizzing a pass into the feet of Jack Wilshere who touches it past the player closing him down
* Podolski making a run from left to center and van Persie sliding him clean through
* Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere exchanging passes at the edge of the opposition penalty box
* Ryo warming up on the bench, ready to come on for 13 minutes and take on that tired full back
* Koscielny getting even better
* Trying to notice any defensive changes that may have been passed on by Mr Bould
I could go on but I won't. Mainly though, I want to cut out the start of last season, cut out not having any full backs and see where we can go as a group. If the attitude is mostly right then why can't we be as good as Manchester United at least?
Bring on next season.
Iron Man - Every time I say anything positive here, I jinx it so can I say relegation?
hazzaboy - I can divide this into both short and long-term desires. Firstly, it’s vital that we keep our key players if we are to improve on our performances this season. It’s much easier to build a house on solid foundations than having to start completely from scratch. To clarify, this is a metaphor of sorts. I’m not advocating building an actual house on top of Robin van Persie, even if that would physically keep him here. His wailings from the basement would be pretty hard to ignore after a while. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, looking more long-term it’s a given that I want success, so does any fan. What I’m more interested in is having method to that success. Improving our game management and simply getting back to the basics would help us improve immediately even before players are signed. If steps are actually taken with regards to this a trophy won’t be too far away.
Omomo14 - First thing first, I feel we all need a deserved rest. This season was an emotional rollercoaster - The lows, the highs, the lows and finally the highs. We need to get back lost energy from spurring the team on even when all hopes were lost.
As for next season, we must not make the same mistakes we made this term. We must identify our targets and pounce at the speed of light.
The signs are there with the capture of Lukas Podolski and we can only go from strength to strength which is a positive sign.
Our contract situation should be sorted out quick. RvP and Theo must sign up if we are to build on our fantastic finish. We shouldn't forget that Song and Koscielny have 2 years left on their current contracts so negotiation should commence almost immediately.
I really expect us to challenge on all 4 fronts most especially the league next term. With the right additions, I'm positive we'll be fine
James 'Raul' Stokes - A few things. One or two more signings in the mould of Podolski would be nice, for starters. Hopefully, Steve Bould will sprinkle a little of his knowledge and eradicate some of our defensive frailties. Most of all, I'm looking forward to the thrill of it all; the unwavering optimism that this could just be the year we end that drought people like to mention so much. There is a nucleus of a very, very good team at Arsenal. Add a few, keep the big-names fit and I really believe we can challenge in a few of the competitions. Let's just hope Robin is there to lead the line.
Wenger Boy - I have too many to things I’m looking forward to to list so I’m going to list them:
Full season of Jack. Second season of Ox. First season of Podolski. First season of world-beaters X, Y and Z who we’re signing tomorrow according to.. well.. you, probably. A proper-ish pre-season with Podolski and players X, Y and Z. A season we will hopefully begin as potential challengers. Further development of Coquelin, Gnabry. Potential glimpses of Afobe, Ryo and Campbell in the first team. Oh and another season of CL football - in your face Chelsea/Sours, you blue/white c*nts/c*nts! (please delete as appropriate)
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