Arsenal: 5 Favorite Moments This Decade
In less than 25 days, another decade will be over. Compared to the previous one where the club won 2 Premier League titles and 3 FA Cups, this has been underwhelming. However, we’ve also had moments that we can cherish and carry with us for the rest of our lives. In no particular order, here are my 5 favorite Arsenal moments of this decade:
#1 – That Thierry Henry comeback goal
The year is 2012. Thierry Henry trains with Arsenal in preparation for the MLS. Gervinho and Chamakh have traveled to the African Cup of Nations. Wenger hits the panic button and signs Henry on a 2 month loan deal.
To provide some background, the beginning of the 2011/12 season was a dark phase for the club. Losing Nasri and Fabregas in the space of a couple of weeks and getting smashed 8-2 by Manchester United led to Wenger signing 5 players in the 50 hours leading up to deadline day.
It felt to me like the club had lost its identity and quality. The only players we had firing on all cylinders were Robin Van Persie and Alex Song – Both of whom were already flirting with potential moves away.
When Thierry scored that goal against Leeds, it gave me relief. Witnessing one of the club’s greatest ever players hopping in joy and celebrating with Wenger and the fans made me feel really emotional. Felt so proud to be an Arsenal fan that day.
#2 – Mesut Ozil signs for Arsenal on deadline day
The year is 2013. Arsenal have gone 8 years without a trophy. The Emirates stadium debts are close to being paid off, but there is still a lack of ambition in the transfer market.
I remember that transfer window particularly well. That was the first transfer window that I followed SUPER CLOSELY. Those were the days John Cross’ words was gospel.
The first thing I’d do everyday returning from school was to check who we were linked with. Then watch YouTube compilations and shamelessly convince myself that those players will help us win silverware again.
Benzema, Higuain, Jovetic, Khedira, Rooney, Suarez. These were just a small sample of names being talked about. I was pumped to say the least. But after the opening day 3-1 defeat to Villa, Yaya Sanogo remained our only summer signing and that too on a free.
I was fuming. In previous seasons, I’d come to accept mediocrity. I understood why we could not spend big, seeing us lose out on names such as Cahill, Hazard and Mata to Chelsea. But this season, I wanted to see ambition from the board.
On deadline day, Arsenal pulled off the unthinkable. Mesut Ozil signed for the club completely out of the blue. I remember there were no links with him at all before that. He became Arsenal’s record signing at a valuation of £42.5 million, comfortably beating Andrey Arshavin, who was signed way back in 2008 for £15 million. I just could not control my excitement that day.
#3 – Aaron Ramsey’s FA Cup final winner against Hull City
The year is 2014, the stage is set for Arsenal to chase their first trophy in over 9 years.
After victories against Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Wigan – Arsenal are in their first cup final since the disastrous league cup final against Birmingham in 2011.
We go 2-0 down and I begin to lose hope. But we show great character to come back and take the match into stoppage time. Up step Aaron Ramsey.
A beautifully timed run and precise finish saw us win our first silverware since 2005.
Rambo would again go on to score a winner in the 2017 FA Cup final, but for me it is his 2014 winner that gets the edge simply because fans had almost forgotten what it means to win.
#4 – That Danny Welbeck winner against Leicester
Remember not too long ago when we were upset about not competing for league titles? Take me back to 2016 Valentine’s day. Arsenal faced league leaders Leicester City at the Emirates.
We were 5 points behind Leicester. Nothing but a win was needed. After going a goal down, followed by an equalizer – Arsenal had the chance to win the game when we won a free kick in a promising area at stoppage time.
‘Ozil clips it in, WELBECKKKKKKKKKKKKKK’. Music to my ears. That was the first time since I don’t know when that Arsenal gave me real hope of winning a title. We were all in seventh heaven.
#5 – Lucas Torreira’s goal Vs Tottenham Hotpsur – Feat. Unai Emery
The North London derby will always be one of the most important matches of the season. You simply cannot lose this game. We’ve had a couple of 5-2 wins, as well as the time when Flamini scored a brace at White Hart Lane.
But for me, it is the 4-2 win last December that really stands out from the others. Tottenham went on to score from a free-kick and penalty that should have never been awarded at the first place.
Tempers were high – Fans angry at poor decision making by the referee, Eric Dier shushing Arsenal fans and Aaron Ramsey fighting off almost all Spurs players on his own. Quite an eventful half that saw Arsenal 2-1 down.
The second half performance from Arsenal was one of real intensity and passion. Ramsey and Lacazette came off the bench, the former unleashing all his anger through his exceptional work ethic and well timed runs, going on to make 2 assists.
Arsenal turned it around, with Lacazette making it 3-2. But with close to 20 mins still to go, a 1 goal lead against a quality side is not sufficient. Lucas Torreira scoring the 4th has to be not only Unai Emery’s best moment as Arsenal coach, but one of the best North London Derby moments of all time.
When he took off his shirt to celebrate, you could feel the ground shaking through your laptop screen. I lost my voice shouting that day.
Bring on the next decade:
These are some of my favorite moments of the decade. Feel guilty I couldn’t fit in Arshavin’s winner Vs Pep’s Barcelona side, (one of the best teams of all time) but it would be right up there with these five.
What a decade it has been, this is what football is about – Its these memories that you will carry with yourself forever. COYG!