Arsenal 2011 Review

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Post by Jay29 Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:29 pm

At midnight, 1st of January, we waved goodbye to 2011 and welcomed 2012. With the turn of the year comes something of a fresh start, as people look to forget the bad of the previous year and make the new one memorable. As Arsenal fans, I'm sure we will be doing the same.

Before that, let's look back on the year - the moments to remember and the moments to forget. This review will be split into two sections: the first will cover the club as a whole, the second will cover individual players.

The Club

The Best Moments
The five best moments of 2011 for Arsenal

5. Record breaker Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie has become a hero for Arsenal fans in the last couple of seasons. Now captain of the club after Cesc's departure, van Persie has lead the way with his exceptional goalscoring. Since his return from injury on January 1st against Birmingham, van Persie has scored an incredible 35 goals in 36 goals, only one short of Alan Shearer's record of 36 goals in a single calender year and one more than Thierry Henry's total. He achieved this milestone in Arsenal's final game of 2011. Fitting, in a way.

This wasn't the only record. Earlier in the season, Robin van Persie became the 17th player to score 100 goals for Arsenal. His brace against Bolton ensured he'd forever have a place in Arsenal history.

4. Arsenal qualify for the 2011/2012 UEFA Champions League group phase
A moment that has been forgotten, thanks to Arsenal's resurgence, but one that cannot be understated. The majority of people thought Arsenal would not even qualify for the group stages, such was the state they were in. Players were injured, results had been poor and morale was low amongst the players and the fans. Arsenal went to Udine with a narrow 1-0 advantage, and though odds were against them, they put in a hard working and gritty performance and came out 2-1 winners. Van Persie and Walcott with both goals, Wojciech Szczesny with a brilliant penalty save.

The reason why this cannot be understated is simple: could you imagine Arsenal not in the Champions League? At that time, when things were going so wrong, could you imagine the effect not qualifying would have had on the players and fans? It's unfathomable now, but back then were really on the brink of crisis. A certain result ocurred afterwards, but qualifying for the Champions League gave everyone something to cling onto.

3. Arsenal reach the 2011 Carling Cup final
Putting aside the fact it's just the Mickey Mouse cup for the time being; Arsenal hadn't been in a cup final for four years, the last being the Carling Cup final in 2007. The club hadn't won a trophy for six years. Reaching the final of the 2011 Carling Cup not only presented us with a great opporuntiy to win something at long last, but it also highlighted how good the depth of the squad was.

And let's be honest, the feeling or reaching a major final alone is enough to make this a crowning moment of the year. I remember watching the second leg of the semi-final against Ipswich; how incredibly nervous I was when the score was still 0-0, the relief when Bendtner produced that moment of magic, the joy when Koscielny headed us into the lead, then nervousness against as Ipswish pressed for a goal, then joy again when Cesc sealed the deal. Just a great night.

2. Arsenal defeat Chelsea 5-3 at Stamford Bridge
This game will be remembered as the most *bleep* up game in a long time. An incredible game between two sides going through periods of transition, and two sides who could not defend to save their lives. Arsenal could've easily have been 3-0 or 4-0 down inside 20 minutes, but Chelsea's finishing was wasteful. The score at half-time was 2-1. At that point, I thought the game could go two ways: 1. Arsenal would comeback and draw or 2. Chelsea would go on to win at a canter. Boy, was I wrong.

Andre Santos equalised, then Theo Walcott put us 3-2 up. Juan Mata scored a great goal to make it 3-3, and at this stage, with a good twenty minutes to go and Chelsea in the ascendency, I felt for sure we'd lose the game. But again, I was proved wrong. Robin van Persie scored twice, completing a hat-trick and a magnificent 5-3 win.

The celebrations after the game really showed how much that win meant to the players. It was as if they had won a cup or something. Arsenal had already begun to slowly and steadily recover from a horror start to the season, but this win was a turning point.

And if nothing else, the sheer joy of the win was just unforgettable.

Arsenal 2011 Review 11957677
The team celebrate a memorable victory at Stamford Bridge

1. Arsenal defeat Barcelona 2-1 at The Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 2011 Review Zp_26-Arshavin-goal-13_3740
"Arshavinnnnnnnnnnnn...." - Martin Tyler

The Worst Moments
The five worst moments of 2011 for Arsenal

5. Cesc Fabregas leaves Arsenal
The summer transfer window had been a torrid time for us. Even if there was an air of inevitability about his departure, Cesc leaving was still a sad day. We still miss Cesc now, even if we are arguably better off without him. The departure stung a lot more, considering the end of the season we just had.

4. Who's the wanker in the white?
Camp Nou, 2nd Leg of the Champions League Round of 16 against Barcelona. Score is 2-2 on aggregate, with Barcelona leading on away goals. Robin van Persie is put through, but is offside. However, he continues on and shoot at goal, evidently having not heard the whistle from the ref. The ref in question gives him his second yellow card, pretty much killing whatever chance Arsenal had of progressing to the quarter-finals.

Perhaps not the saddest of moments, but certainly one that left a bitter taste in the mouth.

3. Self-Destruction
At half time, Arsenal were leading Newcaslte 4-0. Arsenal had been brilliant.

At full time, the score was 4-4. Newcastle had somehow made one of the most epic comebacks in Premier League history. Arsenal had self-destructed.

2. Manchester United 8 - 2 Arsenal
The scoreline speaks for itself. United were in blistering form. Arsenal were in shambles. Fans dreaded this game and for good reason: injuries and suspensions had completely devastated our squad. This was the lowest point in many of the supporters lives.

So why isn't it number one on the list? Simply because the result was seemingly the catalyst for Wenger to change his policy and sign some experienced, ready made players. In the subsequent week, Arsenal signed five players and it's those very players that have helped the club enormously. Without them, we would have been in deep, deep shit.

1. The Carling Cup final against Birmingham
The point where things turned for the worst. Birmingham were a team much weaker than us, but Arsenal just didn't show up on the day. That howler at the end with Szczesny and Koscielny - the one that gifted Birmingham the Carling Cup - really just summed up what a poor performance it was.

Arsenal would only win three more times that season. Only consolation was that Birmingham got relegated.

Arsenal 2011 Review _51446141_martins466x282_reuters

The Birmingham team celebrate Martins winner as Koscielny and Szczesny despair

Overall Statistics
Goals scored, goals conceded, points - the club stats of 2011

* All stats are for all competitions
Games Played: 60
Wins: 31
Losses: 15
Draws: 14
Goals Scored: 102
Goals Conceded: 70
Biggest Win: 5-0 vs Leyton Orient (Emirates Stadium)
Biggest Defeat: 8-2 vs Manchester United (Old Trafford)
Longest Win Streak: 6 (15th January - 1st February)
Longest Unbeaten Streak: 11 (15th January - 27th Febuary)
Longest Losing Streak: 2 (8th March - 12th March and 8th May - 15th May)
Longest Winless Streak: 5 (March 5th - April 2nd)

The Players

Best Players of 2011
The three best players of 2011

3. Theo Walcott
2011 was Walcott's best year in an Arsenal shirt. The wing-forward has come under intense scrutiny during his Arsenal career and in 2011 he really delivered, contributing a very respectable 13 goals and 10 assists. While Samir Nasri received all the plaudits, Walcott was one of the only players to perform in the second half of the 10/11 season.

This season may not be going too well, but Walcott played a big role in getting us past Udinese in the UCL qualification and in the 5-3 win over Chelsea.

2. Laurent Koscielny
A year not without mistakes, but a year where Koscielny has really proven himself to be an excellent central defender. Koscielny has become a more assertive defender and has improved a lot in the time he's been in England. Many now see him as the one best defenders this season. Certainly, the Arsenal defence wouldn't be as good without him.

1. Robin van Persie
It had to be, didn't it? An incredibly 35 goals in 2011. That is all.

Arsenal 2011 Review Robin-Van-Persie-007

Worst Players of 2011
Our very own Golden Bin award - the three worst players for Arsenal in 2011

3. Marouane Chamakh
2010 was a great year for Chamakh, with a Champions League quarter-final with Bordeaux and a dream move to Arsenal. Since the turn of the year though, he's been awful; statuesque up front, bereft of any form and has little to zero impact now.

2. Sebastien Squillaci
Quite possibly worse than Silvestre. It's difficult to recall a game where Squillaci played well. His mere presence seems to hinder the whole Arsenal defence.

1. Manuel Almunia
A calamity waiting to happen. Responsible for several goals we conceded and just made blunder after blunder.

Emerging Players
Who emerged as stars during 2011?

Arsenal 2011 Review Jack_wilshere_wojciech_szczesny_640x0_rozmiar-niestandardowy

The two main emerging talents of the year have to Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere. Szczesny has rapidly asserted himself as number one keeper since making his debut against United and is widely considered one of the best goalkeeping talents around. Wilshere managed 49 appearances and became an important player for both Arsenal and England.

Best Goals
The best five goals from the year

5. Robin van Persie vs Borussia Dortmund
Immediate apologies for the commentary in this one. Anyway, it was the assist from Alex Song that really made this goal, and it was a vital goal that sent us on the way to winning the group.

4. Robin van Persie vs Sunderland
Van Persie features again with this free-kick against Sunderland. Game level at 1-1, the Gunners needed some inspiration from somewhere and van Persie provided it.

3. Nicklas Bendtner vs Ipswich
Who knew Bendtner had it in him? The ball by Wilshere was top quality. So was the touch, skill and finish from Bendtner.

2. Andrey Arshavin vs Barcelona
Just a fantastic moment. What a night.

1. Robin van Persie vs Everton
The quality of the pass and the finish is just superb. He's scored some great goals in his career and this one is right up there.


Last edited by GoonerJay29 on Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:28 am; edited 4 times in total

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Post by Ali Sun Jan 01, 2012 11:46 pm

Arsenal 2011 Review Uefa-champions-league-highlights-barcelona-3-1-arsenal-match-report-and-main-events-4-3-agg

ultimate lowlight
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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:08 am

Arsenal 2011 Review 8-2
Even lower.

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:12 am

Arsenal 2011 Review _51446141_martins466x282_reuters
Arsenal 2011 Review 10274524

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Post by Quinten Metsys Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:25 am

Why don't we start with the highlights,which are very few and then move to the lowlights Razz

Expecting a good write-up about our season,Jay!
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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:33 am

I should say this ahead of time: I originally planned on going through the vital parts of 2011, but then realised part way through that if I did that and everything else I wanted to do, the post would be absurdly long. Like, ridiculously, absurdly long.

So as a compramise, I'm just going to cover the best and worst moments, a bit about the players, some stats and an overall verdict. That way, it should be long enough to be a decent read, but not so long as to make you bored or overwhelmed.

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Post by REWB Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:35 am

ohhh please this is embarrassing.... just leave it goonerjay
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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:54 am

Highlights, then Razz.
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Arsenal 2011 Review Zp_26-Arshavin-goal-13_3740

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Post by Jamin Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:58 am

Arsenal 2011 Review Henry-unveil_2080444i
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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:25 am

I've completed about 90% of it, which you can now read. The stats and goals are still to come, and I'll try get those done ASAP. I also need to format it a bit, but that's less important.

Thanks for posting images, by the way. Saves me the time and effort of having to look.

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:49 am

Udinese, not 'Udine'.
I can get some more pictures for you Razz.

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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:55 am

The town where Udinese is is called Udine. Razz

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:57 am

Arsenal 2011 Review 3562906800-soccer-barclays-premier-league-arsenal-v-bolton-wanderers-emirates-stadium Centurion.
Arsenal 2011 Review Arsenal-Udinese-Theo-Walcott-talkSPORT-300x204 Udinese.

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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:03 am

The stats are up. Do ask if you want more stats, or post some of your own.

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:04 am

Arsenal 2011 Review Cesc+Fabregas+Barcelona

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:05 am

We going to have a poll for best goal?

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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:14 am

I'm going to choose my best five, and then you guys can post yours if you don't agree with my choices.

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Post by Jay29 Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:29 am

I've posted the goals. Tomorrow I'll do the final verdict and some formatting.

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Post by beatrixasdfghjk. Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:54 am

LEX, CAN YOU GIF THE GOALS PLEASE?

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Post by Sri Mon Jan 02, 2012 7:15 am

@Goonerjay - :bow: This is way better than what I had envisaged. Just :bow: Nm else I can add... :bow:

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Post by MJ Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:23 am

Amazing work Jay. Put the whole year into one epic post



This is the best way to end last year and start this year.
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Post by Quinten Metsys Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:13 pm

Jay,you seem to have concentrated more on the goals of our present season.

Anyways,here a few of my picks,in a random order:

1.Bacary Sagna versus Leeds United{FA Cup}



2."Pizzeria Owner"Nicklas Bendtner versus Ipswich Town{League Cup}



3.Robin van Persie versus Barcelona{UEFA CL}



4.Andriy Arshavin versus Barcelona{UEFA CL}



5.Robin van Persie versus Birmingham City{League Cup}

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Post by Quinten Metsys Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:16 pm

Also here's another video I totally loved about Arsenal

THE ARSENAL AWARDS 2011



On the heels of the Arsenal Awards 2011,I decided to create two new awards:

1.The SONIA TATAR Award for the year 2011:

Winner:Nicklas Bendtner,despite having a groin injury,he still managed to become a father :bow: and then broke up with the Duchess Caroline,the mother of his child... Thumbs up

2.Goallegacy Stat Man of the Year award:

Winner:Sina,for his mindblowing stat compilation Thumbs up
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Post by Raptorgunner Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:32 pm

Wow that is a lot work, well done Jay.
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Post by djoe26 Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:12 pm

Great work Jay. Well written and very nice to read.
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