What a crazy footballing year 2012 has been. There have been plenty of ups and downs. Here is a look at Arsenal’s best games of 2012!
10. Arsenal 7-3 Newcastle United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 29th December 2012
(Arsenal – Walcott 20, Chamberlain 50, Podolski 64, Walcott 73, Giroud 84, 84, Walcott 92; Newcastle – Ba 43, Marveux 60, Ba 68)
This is a really really late entry into the list, and just about pips Arsenal’s 2-1 win at Anfield, in February. Arsenal took on a Newcastle side, that had almost scared the wits out of toppers Manchester United, before eventually losing 4-3, thanks to a Fergie time goal from Hernandez. But, they were hampered by injury worries and suspensions. Arsenal started brightly, and took the lead through Walcott’s Henry’esque finish. Newcastle held their own, dominating possession, but having little to show for it. They equalized on the stroke of half time, when Demba Ba’s free kick was deflected in off a ducking Jack Wilshere. 1-1 at the break, and no one could envisage what was to happen next. Cazorla set up Chamberlain for a neat finish, before Sylvain Marveaux tapped in from close range, 10 minutes later. Arsenal took the lead immediately when Wilshere’s cross was headed on to the bar by Collocini, and bundled home by Podolski. Ba escaped the attentions of Gibbs to make it 3-3. 5 minutes later, Walcott swiveled in the penalty area, to score the 4th. And Arsenal went on a rampage after that. Walcott’s cross was met by a diving Olivier Giroud, before Giroud’s classy right foot finish made it 6-3. Late on, Walcott was fouled in the box by two Newcastle defenders, but he carried on running, to chip home Arsenal’s 7th, and complete his hat-trick, in a truly epic game.
9. West Bromwich Albion 2-3 Arsenal, Premier League, The Hawthorns, 13th May 2012
(West Brom – Long 11, Dorrans 15; Arsenal – Benayoun 4, Santos 30, Koscielny 54)
A place in next season’s Champions League at stake, Arsenal travelled to West Brom on the final day of the season. They were off to the perfect start, as Yossi Benayoun made most of a hesitant Martin Fulop. 10 minutes later, West Brom were leading owing to some disastrous defending. First Shane Long, in an offside position, took advantage of the space, and then Dorrans scored after some slack defending. Andre Santos scored from outside the box on the half hour mark, again after Fulop fumbled the ball. Fulop had another nightmare, when he made a hash of a clearance, allowing Koscielny to net home the winner in the 54th minute. West Brom applied incessant pressure through the game, and almost came close to equalizing late on, but Gibbs made a crucial tackle, with Arsene Wenger holding on to Pat Rice adorably.
8. Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 18th November 2012
(Arsenal – Mertesacker 24, Podolski 42, Giroud 46, Cazorla 60, Walcott 91; Tottenham – Adebayor 10, Bale 71)
Arsenal recreated a familiar scoreline, as they blew away Sp*rs by the same margin, they had thumped them back in February with. Who else, but Emmanuel Adebayor to open the scoring in the 10th minute, after Szczesny fumbled from a close range Defoe shot. But, he ruined the afternoon for his side with a mad lunge on Santi Cazorla. Arsenal roared into action, with Mertesacker blasting home a header. Podolski’s shot squirmed in like a possessed top, before Giroud swiveled in the 3rd. To their credit, 10 man Sp*rs made it more of a game, but Cazorla scored in the 60th. Bale, who was running rings around Arsenal’s defenders reduced the deficit, but Walcott made sure of the win, and stamped Arsenal’s authority in North London.
7. Liverpool 0-2 Arsenal, Premier League, Anfield, 2nd September 2012
(Arsenal – Podolski 31, Cazorla 68)
Unlike Arsenal’s visit to Anfield in March, this game was more even, with Arsenal controlling most parts of the game. Arsenal were still looking for their first win of the season, having drawn to Sunderland and Stoke, and struggling for goals without Robin van Persie. Abou Diaby shone in midfield, as Santi Cazorla proved what a class signing he is. He set up Lukas Podolski for the first goal, with Olivier Giroud pulling in both Liverpool centre-backs towards him in the 31st minute. Santi Cazorla scored the second, as Podolski turned provider this time, with Pepe Reina letting the ball go from under his grasp.
6. Manchester City 1-1 Arsenal, Premier League, Etihad Stadium, 23rd September 2012
(Manchester City – Lescott 41; Arsenal – Koscielny 82)
It was not a win, but Arsenal produced a masterful performance at the Etihad as they outplayed the champions in their own backyard, and probably deserved a win for their enterprise. Gervinho was guilty of missing the games best opportunity, when he was spotted by Ramsey, but the Ivorian’s first touch was heavy. Cazorla was threading strings in midfield, but Lescott’s header handed City the lead completely against the run of play. Arsenal did not rest and attacked, and they finally got their reward, 8 minutes from time, when Koscielny slammed the ball home post a poorly cleared corner.
5. Arsenal 2-1 Newcastle United, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 12th March 2012
(Arsenal- van Persie 15, Vermaelen 90+5′;Newcastle United– Ben Arfa 14)
With both sides aiming for Champions League qualification, and a bad tempered game earlier in the season, the stage was set for a feisty encounter. Arsenal carved out some early opportunities, but Hatem Ben Arfa opened the scoring for the Magpies, with a well taken goal. Robin van Persie equalized with a typically emphatic finish, less than a minute later. Tempers flared through the game, with van Persie and his compatriot and Newcastle custodian, Tim Krul exchanging the choicest of words, after Krul looked to bide his time in taking goalkicks. It was Arsenal, though, who went home the happier side, after an onrushing Thomas Vermaelen netted the winner in the 95th minute, setting a series of trollfaces around the Emirates.
4. Arsenal 1-0 Manchester City, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 8th April 2012
Arsenal dented Manchester City’s title chances, with a clinical display at the Emirates. The game was off to a free flowing start, with Arsenal making many early chances. Arsenal created a host of chances through the game and completely outplayed the Citizens, who were looking to close the gap with leaders Manchester United to just 2 points. After van Persie, Vermaelen, Benayoun, all missed narrowly, it was man of the match Mikel Arteta, who let go from a long way out and completely beat the keeper of the season, Joe Hart, with 4 minutes left on the clock.
3. Arsenal 3-0 AC Milan, Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg, Emirates Stadium, 6th March 2012
(Arsenal- Koscielny 7, Rosicky 26, van Persie (pen) 43)
Having lost the first leg by a margin of 4 goals, everyone had expected to see Arsenal play for pride in the second leg against Milan. What we got to see was a gutsy display by a makeshift squad against the Italian giants. With Arteta, Ramsey, Benayoun, Diaby, Wilshere, Frimpong and Coquelin all out, it was the energetic midfield of Rosicky, Chamberlain, Song, Walcott, and Gervinho who took the challenge to haughty Milan, who named two goalkeepers on the bench. Laurent Koscielny headed in unmarked, in the 7th minute. Arsenal fashioned more chances against a complacent Milan, and deservedly were 2-0 up, when Rosicky shot past Abbiati, from a narrow angle. And, the tie was well and truely on when Djemal Mesbah tumbled over Chamberlain, in the box. van Persie stepped up, and dispatched the penalty. Arsenal looked visibly tired as they walked into the dressing room at half-time. Milan, who had named a fresh squad, held on, and closed down the game, to progress 4-3 on aggregate. They, however, paid so dearly, when van Persie’s chip was saved from point blank range by Abbiati.
2. Reading 5-7 Arsenal, League Cup, League Cup Fourth Round, Madejski Stadium, 30th October 2012
(Reading – Roberts 12, Koscielny (O.G) 18, Leigertwood 20, Hunt 37, Pogrebnyak 115; Arsenal – Walcott 45, Giroud 64, Koscielny 89, Walcott 95, Chamakh 103, Walcott 120, Chamakh 122)
It was literally an unbelievable game of football. Reading started firing on all cylinders, when Jason Roberts tapped home the opener on 12 minuter. 6 minutes later, Gunter’s cross was deflected in by Koscielny, and couple of minutes later, Leigertwood’s ferocious shot made it 3-0. Reading probably could have had a dozen more, and Arsenal’s calamitous defending was met by jeers from the Reading faithful. Noel Hunt made it 4-0 with a header, and Reading had almost booked their passage into the quarter-finals. Or so they thought. Andrey Arshavin played a delightful through ball to Theo Walcott to reduce the deficit to 4-1, before half-time. Surely, just a consolation. Arsene Wenger threw on Olivier Giroud and Thomas Eisfeld and it changed the dynamic of the game. Giroud made it 4-2 with a perfectly directed header. Arsenal pressed, but could not find another goal, till the 89th minute when an unmarked Koscielny headed in from a corner. There was just 5 minutes of extra time for Arsenal to equalize. And they did, as a hopeful ball forward was headed by Chamakh into the path of Walcott who managed to get the ball over the line, despite the Reading player having blocked it. Arsenal completed the mother of all comebacks, when in the 5th minute of overtime, Marrouane Chamakh, yes, Marrouane Chamakh’s long range shot went in. But, there was still drama, as Pavel Pogrebnyak made it 5-5 from close range, with just 5 minutes left in the second half of overtime. Andrey Arshavin went on another of his run, and Walcott poked the ball home from close range. Walcott had his hat-trick. Chamakh ensured a grandstand finish as he lobbed, yes, he can do that, Federici to make the scoreline read an incredible Reading 5 Arsenal 7!
1. Arsenal 5-2 Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 26th February 2012
(Arsenal- Sagna 40, van Persie 43, Rosicky 51, Walcott 65, 68;Tottenham- Saha 4, Adebayor (pen) 34)
Arsenal were staring deep into the abyss, 34 minutes into their match against Sp*rs. Having lost the first leg of the Round of 16 tie to Milan, 4-0, and knocked out of the FA Cup, by Sunderland, the Gunners conceded as early as the 4th minute, thanks to some poor defending. Arsenal’s response was good, and they were all over their opposition, but spurned away all their chances, including one that hit the post. Gareth Bale, then took a dive, in the panelty box, and Aebayor of all people, doubled the lead. The response from Arsenal was ruthless. Bacary Sagna headed powerfully in the 40th minute. van Persie then equalized with a peach of a goal, 3 minutes later. And then Sp*rs were taken to the cleaners, with some emphatic football. Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna exchanged passes, before the Czech finished from close range. A much maligned Theo Walcott, then finished twice in the space of 3 minutes, with some neat goals, to send out a loud message to their neighbours. This proved to be the turning point for both teams, as Sp*rs threw away a 10 point lead to a deficit of 5 points, in few weeks time.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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