Goal of the Season
The style of football Arsenal produce sometimes overly relies on all component parts synchronising in harmony. It's an oft levelled criticism that we do not have the tools to eke out results when a few cogs in the wheel show signs of rust. However, one thing you can guarantee is that when the symnphonic chords are all struck, Arsenal will grace any season with some beautifu goals. Here are my top ten Arsenal goals this season in reverse order. Agree, disagree, call me a twat and threaten to remove my limbs, as ever the floor is yours in the shape of the forum.
10.DENILSON- Bolton Wanderers (a) 20th September 2008-
With trips to Kyiv and Blackburn having been completed in the seven days prior to this fixture, the Gunners found themselves 2-1 up at half time and a fatigue ridden Arsenal defence were resisting something of an alamo from Bolton in the second half. Arsenal's defence was repelling the Trotters' attacks into the last minute, when substitute Theo Walcott, still invigorated by his England hat trick ten days earlier, picked up the ball on the halfway line and tore at the Bolton backline, causing them to back peddle furiously. With three Bolton defenders occupied, Walcott slipped a clever ball to Adebayor in the area, who spotted the forward run of Denilson and the young Brazilian swept Adebayor's low cross into the roof of the net and seal the result that put Arsenal top of the league for 24 hours. A clean, crisp, incisive counter attack goal, the kind which the Invincibles made a company patent and the sort we simply do not score enough of nowadays. (Diaby's goal at Villa Park being the only other similar example I can think of from this season).
9.Andrey ARSHAVIN (2nd goal)- Liverpool (a) 21st April, 2009.
The second goal of four on a night that would truly announce Arshavin's arrival in the Premiership. The Gunners had serendipitously gone in at half time a goal to the good, only for Liverpool to quickly roar back with two early second half goals. Arsenal looked resigned to defeat as the Reds scoured for more goals. With the Gunners bereft of inspiration, Arbeloa sloppily allowed the ball to run loose at the edge of the area. Arshavin scented the ball out like a bloodhound and firmly smashed a first time exorset past Reina from 25 yards. It was a true example of the kind of improvisation Arsenal had been lacking in attack all season and another instance of Arshavin providing a moment of genius just when he looked at his most anonymous in a game.
8.Samir NASRI (2nd goal)- Manchester United (H) 8th November, 2008.
Probably the most keenly celebrated goal of Arsenal's season. With Arsenal emerging for the second half in a deserved one goal ascendancy, one sensed that United would attack relentlessly. But the wind was knocked firmly out of their sails early in the second period. Cesc Fabregas drew Nemanja Vidic out of the centre of defence, teasing him by showing him the ball thirty five yards from goal. He then slipped an intelligent ball to Nasri on the edge of the area and the Frenchman announced his arrival by spanking the ball powerfully into Edwin van der Sar's top corner from 20 yards. It was the element of surprise as well as the quality of the strike that sent the crowd into raptures and helped us on our way to a 2-1 victory.
7.Nicklas BENDTNER (2nd goal)- West Bromwich Albion (a) 3rd March, 2009.
It's perhaps significant that for the third consecutive time in this list, a player's second goal of a match features. With the confidence of a first goal behind them, the aforementioned had the audacity to take on strikes they might otherwise have not attempted. This goal neatly demonstrated the improvement in Nicklas Bendtner and in many ways set the tone for a strong end to a campaign which saw him collect 15 goals. Kolo Toure arced a long ball to Bendtner on the edge of the Baggies area, with his back to goal. He trapped the ball on his knee, swivelled and dispatched a firm volley into Scott Carson's bottom corner. Fantastic technique and the sign that a player who endured a forlorn winter had got his mojo back.
6.Robin van PERSIE- Everton (a) 28th January, 2009.
When Robin van Persie receives the ball on his left foot, there are few players in the world who can match his technique and the trueness of connection when striking a football. A very ordinary looking Arsenal side were heading for a meandering and deserved 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park in injury time when Diaby sent a beautifully weighted 50 yard pass to van Persie in the area, the ball bounced and the Dutchman unleashed a vicious volley into the corner from the tightest of angles. A moment of creative genius in a side that looked to all intents and purposes to be UEFA Cup water treaders and served up in the most crucial of moments too.
5.Carlos VELA- Wigan Athletic (H) 11th November, 2008.
Another key theme in this list appears to be goals that announce a player's arrival and firmly cements their stock. Vela, already having bagged a hat trick in the Carling Cup 3rd Round against Sheffield United, firmly implanted himself in the minds of the Arsenal faithful with this gem. Fresh from an assist for Jay Simpson three minutes earlier, Djourou led the charge from the back and slid an incisive pass to Vela. He nudged the ball ahead of him and outpaced the scurrying Titus Bramble, before running to the edge of the area and releasing the open faced sand wedge, clipping the ball impudently over Kirkland in a breathtaking show of technique and spontaneity. It was the sort of goal you had to watch several times to decipher whether he intended it or whether there had been a deflection. He did and there hadn't.
4.Robin van PERSIE- Liverpool (H) 21st December, 2008.
Another in the swelling cavalcade of van Persie masterclasses. Samir Nasri looked up and chipped a beautiful ball from the left touchline to van Persie in the area. With Carragher and Agger in close attendance, there was plenty for the Dutchman to do. He somehow shifted his feet in the tiniest of areas available to him, flicking the ball onto his right foot and eeking out half a yard before unleashing a firm right foot shot past Reina. The goal also emphasised how much work van Persie has put into strengthening his weaker foot, the sort of technique he showed prior to the shot has been obvious for some time.
3.Andrey ARSHAVIN- Blackburn Rovers (H) 28th February, 2009.
Arshavin's first goal for the club in the game that really saw Arsenal start to motor away from Villa. Arshavin's signing undoubtedly made the difference between battling like mad with Martin O'Neil's men and consummately seeing them off. Arshavin, already heavily involved in Ooijer's first half own goal, picked up the ball in the penalty area, shimmied past the hapless Danny Simpson before swaggering to the byline, he then surprised everyone by deceiving the goalkeeper and bending and lifting the ball over Robinson from a tight angle. It was obvious we had a talented player on our hands.
2.EDUARDO da Silva- Burnley (H) 8th March, 2009.
Eduardo's return has been a bright spot on the season and he sealed his comeback with a finish of exquisite callibre. Alexandre Song lifted a flighted ball into the Arsenal penalty area, Eduardo had set himself but the cross came in slightly behind his poised frame. But he instantaneously adjusted his posture and cutely used the outside of his boot to caress a sweet volley past Brian Jensen in the Clarets goal. The stadium audibly exhaled in hushed awe as the goal was replayed on the big screens, a quite stunning piece of improvisation that redoubled the impression that Eduardo is an absolute mistress when given a football and a slight suggestion of a goal net. Eduardo has recently undergone revisionist surgery to correct the alignment of his ankle bones. On evidence of this goal, on this particular occasion, those awkward joints seemed to serve him well.
1.Emmanuel ADEBAYOR- Villarreal (a) 7th April, 2009.
Having sealed last season's award undisputably with his swivel and smash at White Hart Lane, Adebayor again takes the spoils with this inspired effort. Cesc Fabregas chipped a precise ball to Adebayor on the edge of Villarreal's area. Ade was completely isolated and yet delivered a moment of perfection, controlling the ball on his chest before delivering an outrageous overhead scissor kick from fifteen yards which left the stunned Villarreal keeper to kiss the ball goodbye as it drifted into his bottom corner. A truly world class goal on the biggest stage and a vital away goal which was imperative in securing Arsenal's passage into the Champions League Semi Final. It's just a shame that the goal has evidently swelled Ade's already massive ego to the point that he would only score one more goal thereafter and would not perform again.LD.