Arsenal - Moment of the Season: 2011-12
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Moment of the Season: 2011-12

In the last of this incessant week of polling (get your mind out of the gutter you filthy urchin) I asked you to vote for your moment of 2011-12. Even if 2011-12 ended a little more light on silverware than we would have liked, there were still a plethora of very special moments. (Littered in between the 8-2 and 4-0 shellackings away from home in big games).

Football is built on such moments, the sort that transport you and take you away from the humdrum of every day existence. The true beauty is that you never quite know when they're going to happen either. Such is the case for the moment that you voted for as your moment of 2011-12.

In terms of our fate for the season, the 5-2 win over Spurs in February- which started our claw back of a 13 point deficit on our hilarious neighbours, was probably our most important. In raw mathematics, it qualified us for the Champions League. Both in terms of the renewed momentum it gave us and the wind it simultaneously knocked out of Spurs' sails. Given the fact that we finished one point above them, it was clearly our most crucial. But it only got 37% of the vote in second place.

Similarly the 5-3 win at Stamford Bridge repaired early season wounds and allowed us to begin playing to the ceiling of our capabilities again, as opposed to the unrecognisable relegation fodder we had looked at the start of the season. Plus, it's always nice to see John Terry fall on his face. But this only came 3rd, with 5% of the vote.

In the relentless accountancy, transfer sagas and silverware lust, we all are guilty of forgetting about the romance that the game is capable of. Those one off moments that might not win you a cup or a league title, but that nevertheless make you smile even when you wake up the next morning. They make your next day at work a doddle. They become anecdotal dynamite for your next of kin for years to come.

A Monday night 3rd Round F.A. Cup tie against Championship opposition really has no right to give you that feeling. The 1-0 win that night didn't even bring us anything tangible. Save for two more games in a forlorn pursuit for a trophy we made a poor fist of winning. But that didn't matter when 47% of you clicked Thierry Henry's winning goal against Leeds as your moment of 2011-12. Nor should it have done.

I'd imagine simply by playing in the game, Henry might have got plenty of votes for Moment of the Season just by virtue of having returned at all. Indeed, I'd venture a good many seats were filled that might otherwise not have been due to his home coming. His re signing on a short term loan deal was quite a story. Some of us, thought this story was built on the sands of romance a little too much and not grounded in the concrete of logic enough to work. If anything, that made me enjoy the magic of what unfolded even more.

After 68 minutes of toiling, Marouane Chamakh was removed from the fray with the scores at 0-0. Thierry Henry entered to a roar the likes of which you've never heard. Ten minutes later, Henry ghosted in behind Tom Lees. Song found him with a slicing through pass. Henry controlled and a stadium held its breath. It was enough that he had returned, but he couldn't, could he? We recognised the position, the stance and, as it turned out, the finish all too well. Gracile, balletic, pure Henry. He simply caressed the ball into the corner.

But the calmness with which he stroked home the winner was not replicated in his celebration. A man who made a career out of poker faced goal acclaim sprinted the perimeter of the stadium, like a child in the garden who imagined scoring the last minute winner in the Cup Final. His eyes lit up like tractor beams, his mouth wide open. After the game, he told the ESPN reporter, 'This was my first Arsenal goal as a fan.' Thierry has always had a silver tongue with the media, but nobody could ever doubt the sincerity of that sentence.

At full time he raised his arms to the sky as did the whole stadium. We all recognised the poetry, the correctness of the moment. One of those rare instances in football. life even, when all the stars align, every traffic light is green and all the clouds take a sabbatical. I've always been drawn to a particular Richard Dawkins quote in which he says biological explanation and scientific rigour is more poetic and wondrous than ancient myth. This was the same. It wasn't destiny. It wasn't fate. It was too good to have been prescribed. It was just right. It was certainly the moment of 2011-12. LD.

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday May 29 2012

Time: 10:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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It was a perfect moment. Not to mention it gave my little boy the chance to see Theirry Henry play and score for Arsenal, and when you consider that he wasn't even born when Thierry left for Barca it's quite something, a nice tale for him to tell his children when he's telling tales of Arsenal back in the day.
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29/05/2012 22:30:00

It was incredible to see Henry come on to get the elusive goal in that game. Written in the stars, you can say. Team looking for that goal; van Persie was not involved; and then Henry scores in trademark fashion. His celebration said it all.
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29/05/2012 23:45:00

Getting the 3 points against WBA in the last game of the season was up there as well, but it wasn't even mentioned. That goal by Kos was the difference between us playing in CL and playing in the Europa league. That was a huge moment.
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29/05/2012 23:56:00

Hate to disagree but I can't look past Sagna's header
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30/05/2012 02:34:00

That could be said about all of our games in which we earned points Naija. How about Thierry's last minute winner against Sunderland? He doesn't score that, we're not in the Champions League! His contribution in that short space of time was nothing short of legendary! I f***** love that dude.
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30/05/2012 05:41:00

Is that Aaron Winter in the photo at the top with Henry? it certainly looks like him, but I was certain he retired years ago??
Scotch Eggs Rule
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30/05/2012 11:02:00

"This was my first Arsenal goal as a fan" - You have to say, some players always know the right things to say, others just open their mouths and continually put their 'foot' in it. Henry is most definitely one of the former.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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30/05/2012 11:06:00

Looks like the chavs are signing Hulk (most over rated player in Europe imo) now. Spending yet more money they don't is ****ed because of clubs like this.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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30/05/2012 13:33:00

what is happening to m'vila? i really hope we can get christian eriksen. just looked at his stat of last season. 19 assists in 33 games in the dutch league. impressive is an understatement. just imagine playing him behind rvp or podolski
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30/05/2012 14:58:00

I think moment of the season for me was RvP's 3rd goal against the Chavs at the Bridge, because that made the game safe and we got a result I never thought I would see. OT, but does anyone thing Wenger will renew his contract at the end of this season? If not, could Guardiola's sabbatical be perfect timing for us?
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30/05/2012 15:37:00

Moment of the season for was Szczesny penalty save against Udinese. The return leg was Massive. We qualified for the champions league group stage and we able to buy some players in late August. Imagine what would have happened? The press was all over us at the time.
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30/05/2012 15:49:00

@Joe the issue with M'Villa is PRICE. Rennes are stalling with what they value a 21yr old midfielder. Arsenal is trying to payless just like Spurs is trying to less for Vertogen
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30/05/2012 17:12:00

Scotch Eggs, that is Aaron Winter indeed, in an Ajax shirt. Maybe, one of the Amsterdam tournament games? Nice spot.
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30/05/2012 18:32:00

Agree Rocky. So many great moments to talk/write about; as a compromise, I've got to say the goal by Henry was a huge moment for the club and fans, as far as 'moments' go.
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30/05/2012 18:34:00

It was Bergkamp's testimonial NG. Here's a decent video to go with the article
Little Dutch
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30/05/2012 22:50:00

For me personally I will remember Henry's comeback goal in years to come just as I will remember the invincibles. Even some spuds were saying it was a great occasion. I struggle to think of a footballer in the premiership who has been given so much Adulation across the board from football fans all over. Says a lot about the man. Van persie take note; what Henry has achieved at arsenal is football immortality. No paycheck or trophy can beat that.
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31/05/2012 00:22:00

My two favourite moments are the late goals against Newcastle and Man City, both teams get their just deserts for either timewasting or parking the bus. Those goals/wins were sweet.
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31/05/2012 08:14:00

LD - I was absolutely gutted to miss out on that testimonial (my fault). "How quick can they possibly sell?" Forgetting it was gods testimonial!! Tickets went quicker than they did for a CL home game against Barcelona.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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31/05/2012 09:25:00

Naijagunner - Cheers. I quite enjoyed watching Winter play in his heyday. A very good alround midfielder and by the looks of it in that picture still a damn site fitter than me!!
Scotch Eggs Rule
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31/05/2012 09:32:00

Check out the last paragraph. Could the guy of hit the nail on the head any more perfectly?
Scotch Eggs Rule
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31/05/2012 09:49:00

This article made me go back and watch the highlights of that Leeds game. Great moment and I could not believe it when Henry shaped to score that goal. His goal against Sunderland also prompted some fist pumping. Terrific signing for 2 months, Wenger got this one spot on.
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31/05/2012 14:05:00

Prits - although not as emotional, he also managed to get the re-signing of Sol Campbell on the button as well.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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31/05/2012 15:44:00

And Mad Jens for that matter. 100% clean sheet record last season :D
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01/06/2012 18:50:00

Ya SER, Wenger does get a few things right after all eh :)
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01/06/2012 20:06:00

Think there was just a feeling when TH14 took to the field that he was going to find the back of the net. Clearly meant a lot to him as it did to us Gooners. Think his winner against Sunderland was an extremely important goal too.
Ned Stark
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02/06/2012 19:39:00

I think this takes the biscuit for the moment of the season.
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03/06/2012 17:11:00

prits - Whisper that quietly, it's not fashionable at the moment.
Scotch Eggs Rule
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07/06/2012 12:17:00


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