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, continuing with 5 to my Number 1. Don’t be shy and tell me yours!
No.5 Liverpool v Arsenal 0-2, 2nd of September 2012
The infamous summer of Robin van Persie’s departure started with two goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke City – not the best start.
These results, plus Arsène Wenger inactivity on the final days of the transfer window, angered the fans – who were expecting the worse when we travelled to Anfield.
We all know how it ended: summer signings Santi Cazorla and Lukas Podolski netted their first goals and we dominated the game and eventually recorded a third clean-sheet in a row.
I do remember that game for another reason, anyway: that was Abou Diaby’s finest outing in an Arsenal shirt, he bossed midfield both physically and technically and had an unbelievable impact on the game; I still see his amazing progression from one box to the other and his perfectly-weighted pass to clear Olivier Giroud on goal (yes, unfortunately I still see Olivier Giroud’s shot, too…), it sends shivers down my spine.
We’ll never know but I will always remember that game because of his performance.
No.4 Reading v Arsenal 5-7, 30th of October 2012
The mother of all comebacks, all sports, all places, all time – period.
That games was pure madness, we witnessed things we will never forget: we’ve seen Andrey Arshavin sprinting on the NINETY-FIFTH minute; we’ve seen Marouane Chamakh score from outside the area; we’ve scored twice in the very last second of both regular and extra time; we’ve seen Marouane Chamakh lob the ball past the goalkeeper; we’ve seen a revolutionary 2-3-5 system with Olivier Giroud, Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny upfront and Theo Walcott and Andrey Arshavin on the wings – AND IT WORKED!
We went into that game with Martinez in goal, Miquel at left-back, a midfield line composed of Frimpong, Coquelin and Gnabry, Chamakh upfront and – perhaps the most alarming one – Johan Djourou as captain!
On the bench we had Yennaris, Meade, Eisfeld and Squillaci – just to give you an idea of our situation back in those days.
Think about this when you see that players like Rosicky and Wilshere do not make the bench today…
Of course that win didn’t bring any trophy, didn’t win the league and basically has no reason to be remembered but I bet everyone knows where she/he was when that happened!
No.3 Borussia Dortmund v Arsenal 0-1, 6th of November 2013
We were heading out of the Champions League, weren’t we?
After losing at home to Borussia Dortmund, we were in a very delicate position – losing at the Signal Iduna Park would have resulted in us crashing out of Europe, with much rejoice for a large amount of pundits, journos and analogous subspecies.
Well, we disappointed them once again that night.
The grit, guts and ferocity we put in that game are still the best memory I have: united and solid, we looked mature and ready for a fight; gone were the times when a slightly over-the-top tackle would take any of our players out (mentally, of course); gone were the times our defence could soak pressure.
That night in Dortmund we kept at bail a team that never failed to score in their previous 59 home games and defeated a group of players who won their previous eight European games on home soil; first English Club to win in the Santiago Bernabéu, first English Club to win in San Siro and now first English Club to win in Dortmund – handle this, Dailymailians!
No.2 Arsenal v Manchester United 2-1, 21st of January 2007
The move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium was longer than we all believe; yes, we officially started to play there on 18th of August 2006, however we finally completed the move on January, 21st at (roughly) 5.45pm.
At the precise moment, Thierry Henry ascended over Vidic and Ferdinand and headed the ball past van der Sar to give us a brilliant come-back victory against Manchester United.
For the very first time since the move, the crowd erupted and the Emirates Stadium discovered its soul.
I will never forget that roar, never.
It doesn’t matter how many saves Lehmann had to do or how much better Manchester United looked that afternoon, that game will always be one of my favourite.
The atmosphere was electric since the very beginning but it really started to build when Robin van Persie equalized; when Emmanuel Eboué outsprinted Evra to cross the ball and I saw The King rising in the box, everyone seemed to hold his breath.
That little second of silence was the perfect platform for the subsequent explosion of pure joy that made me think “we’re home”
No.1 Arsenal v Everton 7-0, 11th of May 2005
We all have one friend who really doesn’t give a freak about football: he or she finds it boring, doesn’t really get the purpose of that and – most annoyingly – labels it as either “twenty-two grown men running after a ball” or “twenty two overpaid kids acting in clearly fixed games to distract serious people from serious matters”
If you still have one of those friends, make her or him sit in front of a screen and show this game.
To date, that is the best football I’ve ever seen in my whole life.
Our football that night was so fluid, so inspired and so perfect it could be easily considered as art.
None of the seven goals we scored that night was banal; Dennis Bergkamp was at his very best and those around him were on the top of their game, ready to make the most of anything the Dutchman was about to create.
If I had to pick one, I’d say our third goal was the best of the day: Pires to van Persie, whose slight touch enabled Bergkamp to split Everton defensive line and clear Vieira on goal – who completed the move with a superb chip past Richard Wright.
The timing, intelligence and precision of each touch was stunning, virtually impossible to replicate.
Even the penalty, per se not a very spectacular way to score, was special: despite not being our penalty taker, Edu stepped up and scored in his last game with the Club, to make the day even more memorable.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed all of the Top 1o Hidden gems
Thirty-something Italian, currently in Switzerland. Gooner since mid-ninties, when the Gunners defeated my hometown team, in Copenhagen. Twelve years ago I started my own blog (www.clockenditalia.com) after after some experiences with Italian websites and football magazines. Debate, don’t insult or you’re out.