Arsenal 2012/13 season reviewed
This article first appeared on Sabotage Times.
The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season? Surprisingly, many to choose from here. The 7-3 against Newcastle was mental, the 3-1 comeback against Norwich a huge moment in our season and the 5-2 against Tottenham enjoyable. However, the utterly insane 7-5 Capital One Cup victory over Reading takes it by a nose – 4-0 down, back to 5-4, pegged back to 5-5 and two goals in added time of extra time to win it. Crazy. If anyone had money on 7-5, you’d have to imagine the people at bwinbetting.com were pulling their hair out.
The season ticket shredding moment? Less surprisingly, many to choose from again. A disappointing loss to Norwich is right up there, however you’d probably have to say the 2-1 away loss to Tottenham, despite the way in which it turned our season around in a positive way. Absolutely shocking defending through-out.
Moment that just about summed it all up? Probably the 3-3 home draw with Fulham – 2-0 up, inexplicably 3-2 down, instantly back to 3-3 then missing a last-minute penalty. Thankfully it’s not quite an accurate metaphor for the season, given that we squeezed over the line at the final hurdle.
Got the right manager? You certainly can’t convince me that we haven’t, although plenty have tried and likely will continue to. The fan-base is still somewhat divided over Wenger – some say he deserves credit for making a big change in dropping Szczesny and Vermaelen and Fabianski and Koscielny, others say he was simply correcting his original mistake. It’s time for him to be vindicated next season.
Player of the season? Per Mertesacker has been solid all season, with Laurent Koscielny returning alongside him in the second half of the season to shore up the defence superbly. Mikel Arteta has enjoyed a similar return to form after the revival of Aaron Ramsey, while Theo Walcott has had his best return in front of goal. However, in his debut season Santi Cazorla has to take it – the incredibly robust Spaniard barely missed any games, and only suffered slightly consistency-wise, winning over Arsenal fans with some magical performances and other-worldly touches.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer? Formation is good, seems to have gotten the defence all singing the same tune of late – Steve Bould’s done a good job there, despite the rumours that Wenger refused to let him work with the defence because he was jealous. The main thing is getting someone to cover for Arteta – pretty much the only trust-worthy midfielder who’s got defensive nous, although Ramsey covered for him very well when needed.
Which player would you like to sign? Olivier Giroud has lead the line quite well in his debut season, while Theo Walcott has shown promise up-front (despite still getting into those positions from out wide), with Lukas Podolski slightly less successful in the middle. A proper good striker is very high on most Arsenal fans’ lists, and Stevan Jovetic has been linked. Tall, strong, good at holding up the ball, great at link-up play, skilful, mobile, a good finisher – Fiorentina missing out on the Champions League has given some fans hope that we can prise the Montenegrin away from them.
Biggest own-goal? Very nearly Wojciech Szczesny’s way-too-early gloating of sorts that Tottenham ‘lack quality’, although we (and he) came good in the end, so that’s alright. Bacary Sagna’s catalogue of errors to give Robin van Persie a penalty at the Emirates was awful, but playing a more-or-less full-strength team at Bradford and still losing was pretty embarrassing so let’s go with that.
Biggest t*sser? I’d love to pick from the series of Tottenham staff who insisted it’d be their year (yet again) – Bale, Adebayor, Villas-Boas etc – as well as Steffen Freund, whose final day aggravations behind the manager were utterly hilarious. Piers Morgan is also a contender, as would anyone who made Alan Sugar’s opinions on Arsenal seem sensible. A word, too, for Stewart Robson, who, having been removed from his analyst duties, did his best to destabilise the club with myths about Wenger and Bould not being on speaking terms. Let’s just say everyone’s a t*sser and be done with it.
Best chant? Not many to choose from to be honest, although if I’d been to more away games I could list some of the more imaginative ones. I’ll keep it plain and simple and go with Per Mertesacker’s: “We’ve got a big f*cking German, big f*cking German”, which went down a treat with big Per.
Player’s tweet of the season? Nothing hilarious, just a perfect summary of everything from Mikel Arteta, accompanied by a charming mis-spelling of ‘title’: “We kept great TOGETHERNESS between Players,Staff,Directors & Supporters and we got rewarded! Proud 2 play 4 Arsenal!Let’s win a tittle now!”
Best laugh you had all season? All of my gold doubloons go to the man who sent a text to someone at White Hart Lane, mischievously misinforming them that Newcastle had drawn level against us. Wild celebrations ensued at the Lane. Even Michael Dawson was on his knees celebrating when Bale scored – he thought they’d done it. Oh Tottenham. The gift that never stops giving.
How do you plan to get through the summer without football? Tennis. I need to prepare myself for goal line technology.