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Moment of the Season: 2011-12

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.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Tuesday May 29 2012
Time: 10:02PM


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.
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.
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.
29/05/2012 23:56:00
Hate to disagree but I can't look past Sagna's header
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.
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
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
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
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
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?
30/05/2012 15:37:00
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