Well it seems Top 10s are the theme of this week on Gunners Town. They are always a very entertaining exercise and not wishing to miss out of the fun here is my contribution
Previous posts on this site by guests or fellow writers brought back a lot of memories – both good and bad – but one especially inspired me in this quest for those games that might not appear in history books but represented something special for me: Alex listed the good memories of the past decade and was brilliant, my list some way complements his.
Here is my Top 10, staring with 10-6 don’t be shy and tell me yours!
No,10 Arsenal v Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0, 15th of April 2010
Why would you include this match into your Top 10? Let me explain.
At that time, we were battling with Manchester United and Chelsea for the title and desperately needed a win to close the gap on the top – since Chelsea won at Old Trafford and made the sprint even more interesting. A win would have sprung the Arsenal only three points from the top, however the team still had the 2-2 draw against Barcelona in their legs.
Despite fatigue and some injuries, it looked like a game we could have won quite easily: Wolves parked the bus; we attacked from the start to the end but – SUPRISE! – couldn’t break the deadlock.
Typical Arsenal, some might say.
Anyway, this is not the reason why I remember the game so fondly: at that time, I already moved to Switzerland and I lived in a tiny village on the Alps, which meant no internet, no TV – no connection with the outer world.
In a world where it is impossible not to know what’s happening to anyone anywhere, my only source for information was the old teletext!
The Arsenal was running out of time – or at least I thought so, roughly calculating the time since kick-off – and I was sitting in front of the TV, hoping for something to happen: I waited and waited but the scoreline kept reading 0-0. I kept staring at the screen for another couple of minutes after the final whistle, then switched to the page showing the league table, up to date and there – SUPRISE! The table was reading CHELSEA, 74 points – MANCHESTER UNITED, 72 points – ARSENAL 71 points. At first I wasn’t really sure, then switched back to the page with results and saw ARSENAL – WOLVERHAMPTON 1-0 (BENDTNER, 95)
It was my own “Back to the future” experience, it made the win so sweet!
No.9 Arsenal v Newcastle 2-1, 12th of March 2012
Well, here’s another last-gasp win that made all the difference in our recent history.
Once again, we were chasing the fourth spot and Alan Pardew’s men where – somehow – contenders in this race.
Once again, we dominated the game.
One again, we fell behind when Ben Arfa scored the opener.
We equalized right away, but once again we failed to convert our dominance into a comfortable win.
I clearly remember watching the game with my wife, on the couch, and getting closer and closer to TV as time went by: when Theo Walcott last-second cross found Thomas Vermaelen’s left foot, we were both almost into the TV; I still remember the wild shout coming out of our throats and remember the Emirates Stadium roaring; if I recall it correctly, it was our fourth consecutive come-back win in a row, something never recorded before.
The spat between van Persie and Krul at the final whistle was just the cherry on the cake, after the visitors’ goalkeeper time-wasting antics – just what he deserved!
No.8 Liverpool v Arsenal 1-3, 6th of January 2007
Liverpool v Arsenal 3-6, 9th of January 2007
First a nice win in the FA Cup, then a glorious romp in the Carling Cup: it’s true that Anfield is a special place….for the Arsenal!
Those three days in January were quite sweet for all of us, a reminder that some things never change: Carragher being humiliated by Thierry Henry, Anfield silenced by men wearing yellow…
Anyway, the FA Cup match showed what Tomas Rosicky could do for us – and unfortunately didn’t, hampered by injuries – while the Carling Cup triumph sent some rather unexpected names straight to history books: that night, a very young and raw Alex Song scored his first goal for the Club, The Beast Julio Baptista scored four and missed a penalty and the League Cup specialist Jérémie Aliadière was simply devastating – yes, you read it right.
It’s difficult to pick the most cheerful of these games, perhaps the FA Cup win was more important and significant but netting six at Anfield is always something to remember: it was the first time in almost EIGHTY years that Liverpool conceded six goals; glad we were the ones breaking another record.
No.7 Chelsea v Arsenal 3-5, 29th of October 2012
“Stamford Bridge is falling down,
I kept singing this wonderful chant all day, that’s the first memory of the day we shipped five past Chelsea at their place.
That afternoon had everything to become one of the many bad memories of away game at Chelsea: Lampard scoring, Terry putting Chelsea ahead from a set-piece straight after half time and home fans already celebrating a very likely win after the teams headed to the changing rooms.
But then the unexpected happened: first André Santos and his belly somehow managed to run from one end of the pitch to the other, side-kicking the ball past Petr Čech, then Theo Walcott put us ahead with a superb trick, rather physical than technical – to be honest.
Exactly when I started believing we could actually win at Stamford Bridge, Mata curled the ball to the top corner and Chelsea equalized; to me, that sounded very, very bad: with only ten minutes to go, it looked like the hosts were on the up.
Then the sweetest thing one can imagine, happened: John Terry slipped; Robin van Persie sprinted towards the goal, evaded Čech’s desperate tackle and slipped the ball in the empty net.
Apotheosis, that’s the word.
When the Dutchman added the fifth in stoppage time, it was unbelievable.
I left my house, had a walk and kept chanting:
“Stamford Bridge is falling down,
No.6 Everton v Arsenal 1-6, 15th of August 2009
Opening day at Goodison Park is not the easiest fixture you can imagine; moreover, we headed to Liverpool with a new formation, Denilson in midfield and Nicklas Bendtner at right-wing.
It’s fair to say we were all expecting a difficult afternoon.
I was sitting in a bar in Les Diablerets, having a beer and watching the game on my laptop (Football is not popular on the Alps, do you remember?) pretending to be relaxed. I remember saying to myself that a 0-1 would have been great but also a draw could have been acceptable, after all – my expectations weren’t really high; we lost Kolo Touré and Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City, rumours about Cesc Fàbregas and Barcelona were already in the air and the team didn’t look very confident.
Then, Denilson scored a screamer, new boy Thomas Vermaelen added a second on his debut and William Gallas headed home a third before half-time. That was quite a surprise but I stayed leery: we are the Arsenal, do not forget that!
As the game went by, however, I enjoyed my pint more and more: Fàbregas scored a brace, Eduardo added a sixth and when Saha scored the consolation goal for the hosts I was already in heaven.
I felt it was the beginning of something; I thought this new system fitting quite remarkably both Cesc Fàbregas and Robin van Persie’s profiles and started to believe we could pull a surprise in the league.
Then came defeats at Chelsea, at White Hart Lane, at Wigan and at Blackburn – and we ended up in third.
But that afternoon at Goodison Park was quite something..
I hope you enjoyed my 10-6 Count Down in y Top 10 of Hidden Arsenal Gems I enjoyed?
My top 5 will be up later today…………….
Thanks for indulging me, Andrea