Daily Archives: June 6, 2013
In yet another fruitless campaign by our standards, Arsenal secured a fourth place finish right at the death in the Premier League but the Gunners didn’t fare too well in other competitions football had to offer in the 2012/13 season.
The Capital One Cup adventure ended in the quarterfinals after losing through the lottery of the penalty shootout against lowly Bradford City and they managed to reach the Fifth Round of the FA Cup after a disappointing loss to Blackburn. The Gunners bowed out of the Champions League in the first knockout stage following a two-legged affair with eventual winners, Bayern Munich.
At the end of each season, Gooner Daily will publish a list of its personal awards for the Gunners in that campaign. There are awards for the good, the bad and the ugly.
The criteria include:
- Save of the Season
- Goalkeeping Blunder of the Season
- Goal of the Season
- Assist of the Season
- Match of the Season
- Worst match of the Season
- Most Improved Player of the Season
- Most Disappointing Player of the Season
- Player of the Season
Each criterion will have a top three listing from the third to the first.
These awards are the results of the End of Season nominations poll I created a while ago.
SAVE OF THE SEASON
Despite the fact that a goalie might have one of the most “boring” roles in football, his importance to the team is unrivaled. As one of the essential components that form the back bone of any team, he can be the difference between three points and one point. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top three.
3. Wojciech Szczesny against Wigan (May 2013, 25.67%): With Arsenal tied with relegation-bound Wigan at halftime, the Latics had a chance to go two up when Arouna Kone was clear on goal with little time to dwell on the ball. The Ivorian fired a goal-bound shot but Wojciech Szczesny made himself big to block the shot.
2. Wojciech Szczesny against Sunderland (February 2013, 35.83%): In a game fondly remembered for Arsenal’s resolute defending, Szczesny pulled off a magnificent save from a Steven Fletcher header that was destined for the net
1. Wojciech Szczesny against QPR (May 2013, 38.5%): This can be defined as the save that was the difference between three points and one. After Theo Walcott had managed to score QPR early on, the game settled into what would be regarded as a nervy encounter. QPR hotshot, Loic Remy, had a glorious chance to level the contest but Szczesny was on hand to make an absolutely important save.
GOALKEEPING BLUNDER OF THE SEASON
In the yesteryear, Arsenal fans graced themselves to witness horrendous displays from their goalies that always ended up hurting the team. Of course, a season can’t be complete without a blooper or two.
While the likes of Szczesny, Fabianski and Mannone did well to put up decent performances, there were some moments of madness they exhibited that probably made them hope that the ground could open and swallow them up.
Here are the top three goalkeeping blunders this season.
3. Wojciech Szczesny against Aston Villa (February 2013, 24%): Santi Cazorla will definitely take the plaudits for his brace that granted Arsenal all three points but a low point in the game arrived when Andreas Weimann’s attempt from three blocks away was guided into the net by Szczesny through some weak goalkeeping.
2. Wojciech Szczesny against Southampton (September 2012, 36.88%): Arsenal had managed to keep three clean sheets in and everyone lauded Steve Bould for improving the fortunes of the defense. Szczesny came in Vito Mannone’s stead to make an unbelievable gaffe that made Arsenal concede its first goal in the Premier League. I’m sure he wanted the ground to open up.
3. Vito Mannone against Norwich (October 2012, 39.38%): After the impressive away win over West Ham, the Gunners went on an international break before playing a Norwich side with fresher legs. The only goal of the game arrived when Alex Tettey’s shot was parried straight into Grant Holt’s path for an easy tap-in. A very poor piece of goalkeeping by Mannone.
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Goals are the very essence of football. The Premier League is rated as one of the best divisions in world football because of the high-octane football played as well as the entertainment value is brings. In football, one goal is enough to get you three points in a match provided you are rock solid and water-tight at the back. These are the three goals Gooner Daily felt stood out from the crowd in the 2011/12 season.
3. Kieran Gibbs against Swansea (January 2013, 14.56%): After Miguel Michu put the home side in front, Lukas Podolski came off the bench to score an equalizer. Late on, Kieran Gibbs supplied a pass to Olivier Giroud and made a foray into the box. The Frenchman dinked the ball perfectly for the fullback and he blasted the ball past Michel Vorm in goal.
2. Santi Cazorla against West Ham (October 2012, 27.67%): The Hammers had grabbed the lead through a sweetly-curled effort by Mohamed Diame but the Gunners equalized through a toe poke from Giroud. Theo Walcott scored the all-important second goal that swung the pendulum to Arsenal’s side but Santi Cazorla’s peach of a finish was the icing on a well-baked cake.
1. Lukas Podolski against Montpellier (November 2012, 57.77%): Olivier Giroud was instrumental in the home fixture against his former employers, but the landmark of the night was the awesome finish by Podolski. As they say goes, pictures speaks in more volumes than words.
In this case, feel free to feast your eyeas in this beauty of a video…
ASSIST OF THE SEASON
This season, there were three outstanding assists for the Gunners that cut opposition defenses like hot knife through butter. Despite the fact that the end product created the euphoria, three passes were worth their weight in gold. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top three.
3. Olivier Giroud for Kieran Gibbs against Swansea (January 2013, 15.59%): Giroud is renowned for his technique and his prowess was showcased yet again when his carefully-weighted lobbed pass was finished aplomb by Kieran Gibbs.
2. Santi Cazorla for Theo Walcott against Chelsea (January 2013, 19.35%): Arsenal were trailing after goals from Juan Mata and Frank Lampard gave Chelsea the onus. Early in the second half, Santi Cazorla threaded an eye of the needle pass to Theo Walcott and the finish matched the excellent buildup
1. Olivier Giroud for Lukas Podolski against Montpellier (November 2012, 44.09%): Arsenal needed a victory against Champions League newbies, Montpellier, to qualify for the knockout phase. Two goals from Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podoldki (both setup by Giroud) put Montpellier to the sword.
The Ox used his reserves of pace to great effect on the right before teeing up Podolski. The German forward executed an inch-perfect one-two with Giroud before thumping a thunderous shot past Jourdren.
MATCH OF THE SEASON
Arsenal fans endured the ignominy of another fruitless campaign but there were some fixtures that made everyone concerned with the club proud to feel Red and White. Blazing Cannon has published a comprehensive list containing Arsenal’s10 best games this season, but here are the top three matches that will remain in Gooner hearts forever.
3. Bayern 0 Arsenal 2 (March 2013, 28.5%): The Gunners suffered a humiliating defeat at home to Bayern but the spirits were high ahead of the return leg at the Allianz Arena. The manager made a conscious decision to axe captain Thomas Vermaelen and Wojciech Szczesny from the team and it paid dividends as the replacements put up stellar shifts in the spirited win over Bayern.
2. Arsenal 5 Tottenham 2 (November 2012, 33.33%): With the Gunners in a winless streak in November following a defeat to Manchester United followed by two disappointing draws against Fulham and Schalke, Tottenham visited the Emirates to be on the wrong end of a real whooping. A classic case of deja vu.
1. Reading 5 Arsenal 7 (October 2012, 38.16%): This would be one of the most pulsating encounters I’ve ever witnessed as a football fan.
In all my years as an Arsenal fan, I haven’t seen a game that made me go through so many emotional phases like yesterday’s game against Reading. I started the game with arrogance (simple stroll in the park, I thought), but that was quickly changed to a state of surprise (1 – 0), perplexion, bewilderment (2 – 0) and shock (3 – 0) before getting heavy doses of frustration and despair (4 – 0).
I began the second half with doubt (4 – 1), but it was changed to hope (4 – 2). At 4 – 3, urgency became my watchword and when Walcott made it 4 – 4, my euphoria knew no bounds. 5 – 4 was somewhat orgasmic, but the equalizer was a bitter pill to swallow. After the final two goals that put the game beyond doubt, the only feeling I had was pride.
What’s not to love about Arsenal?
WORST MATCH OF THE SEASON
There were also some matches that were very unbearable to watch. While there were games that filled the fans with fits of euphoria, there were other games we couldn’t wait to see the back of. This season, Arsenal has had a plethora of horrible results that dented their chances of winning silverware this season.
Here’s my top three.
3. Arsenal 0 Swansea 2 (December 2012, 18.46%) : After going through a rough patch of form with draws against Everton and Aston Villa, Swansea arrived at the Emirates and beat the Gunners in their own passing game. Miguel Michu was a standout performer with two late goals that put the game beyond Arsenal’s doubt.
2. Arsenal 0 Blackburn 1 (February 2013, 26.15%): With Wenger having half an eye on the big fixture against Bayern Munich, he decided to rest some key players as he had expected his team to roll over the Lancashire outfit. 90 minutes later, the Gunners were out of the FA Cup thanks to a Colin Kazim-Richards tame finish.
3. Bradford City 1 Arsenal 1 (3-2 pens.) (December 2012, 42.05%): Arsene Wenger had singled his intent to compete in the Capital One Cup quarterfinal fixture as he named a strong lineup for the game. The Gunners were very profligate with their chances and had to leave it really late to get an equalizer on the night. After 120 minutes of pathetic football from Arsene Wenger’s men, Thomas Vermaelen missed the penalty that sent his team out of the competition.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE SEASON
This season, many Gunners impressed their manager, fellow teammates and most importantly, the fans with greatly improved displays on a consistent basis. Here’s my top three.
3. Theo Walcott (43 Apps, 21 Goals, 17 Assists) (13.53%): Walcott was a vastly improved player this season and his output on the field of play was very impressive, with the forward scoring a lot of goals that helped his team’s cause as the season progressed.
2. Per Mertesacker (44 Apps, Three Goals) (22.22%): Mertesacker’s first season in England came to an abrupt end when he suffered an injury against Sunderland. This campaign, he cemented his status as Arsenal’s No. 1 defender and the Gunners struggled really badly when he wasn’t on the pitch.
1. Aaron Ramsey (47 Apps, Two Goals, Five Assists) (52.66%): Since his return to the squad in the holding midfield position, Ramsey became a refined player and worked in tandem with Arteta, balancing defense and attack. His performances, work rate and energy were vital in Arsenal’s surge for a fourth-placed finish. It was also good seeing Ramsey get some props from the same fans that rained curses on him in the past.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Arsenal also had its fair share of players that failed to step their game up all season long, and they were often subjected to a barrage of insults and causes from the fans. Here’s my take of the infamous three.
3. Bacary Sagna (30 Apps, 15.61%): For a player that has been a hallmark of consistency, this has been a campaign Sagna would want to forget quickly. Injuries definitely took its toll on the Frenchman and he struggled for form all season long.
2. Andre Santos (12 Apps, 31.22%) : Andre Santos arrived as a panic buy following the 8-2 mauling in the hands of Manchester United and he has definitely had his good days in the office but he was an aberration this season. He was appalling in his defending and he offered little or no threat offensively. His stunt with Robin van Persie at Old Trafford was the last straw
1. Thomas Vermaelen (39 Apps, One Goal, 38.54%): It’s fair to say that if the Verm had remained in Arsenal’s defense in spring, that Gunners might have missed out on Champions League qualification. The Verm struggled badly for form this season and his goal-costing errors were getting out of hand. Bold move from the manager to axe his captain but under the circumstances, it was a highly welcome move.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
Arsenal fans were given the opportunity to place votes of several polls created on the club’s website and the results were announced a few days ago. However, the prestigious award of the player of the season will be given the Gunners that really deserved it in my opinion.
3. Mikel Arteta (43 Apps, Six Goals, Six Assists) (7.73%): Arsenal’s unsung hero in midfield did the dirty work for the team using a unique clean style that epitomized his unrivaled importance to the team. He also converted his fair share of penalty kicks, keeping a cool head when the moment arose.
2. Laurent Koscielny (34 Apps, Four Goals) (19.31%): Koscielny overshadowed his peers in the heart of Arsenal’s defense with consistent displays that saw him humble a host of Premier League forwards as the season progressed. He was instrumental to his team in the tail end of the campaign.
1. Santi Cazorla (49 Apps, 12 Goals, 16 Assists): Coming into the Premier League and hitting the ground running is no mean feat but Cazorla played as if he had been in Arsenal for years. He grew to become the creative hub of the team and he made things tick for his team through his intelligence, flair, passing range, technique and of course, his ambidexterity. It’s still shocking to know that he couldn’t make it into the PFA Team of the Year.
There you have it folks, the end of season awards for the 2012/13 campaign.
Special thanks to those that voted in the polls I created a while ago.
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