Sunday, 17 May 2015

Arsenal's Most Important Results of 2014/15

After a top 5 most damaging defeats of the season, a top 5 most important results is necessary I feel. So sit back and re-live some of the most satisfying moments of Arsenal's campaign!

'Olivier, take this, I have a blog to read!'

5. Arsenal 2-0 Borussia Dortmund - Champions League Group Stage - November 26, 2014

After three games without a win, including the 3-3 result v Anderlecht, Arsenal were faced with the daunting task of facing a Dortmund side poor in the Bundesliga, but as good as ever on the European scene. Yaya Sanogo stunned the German visitors with his first competitive goal for the Gunners just minuted in, and Sanchez put the tie out of reach with a curling finish from distance in the second half. The win sealed progress to the last 16 for Wenger's men, and showed that they could do it in the big games after all. The game was also notable for third choice 'keeper Emi Martinez's clean sheet.

4. Arsenal 3-0 Manchester City - Community Shield - August 10, 2014

Calum Chambers clutches his Community Shield winners medal

Perhaps a debatable choice given the nature of the Community Shield, but this was a good day for Arsenal. The first test of the season was one full of promise, with the sun shining and many talking of another Arsenal title challenge after their impressive business over the summer. Of course, the title challenge wasn't to be, but on a day where Giroud smashed in a glorious twenty-five yarder against top opposition, Arsenal fans weren't to know. Two games and two trophies was refreshing form for Wenger's men.

3. Arsenal 4-1 Liverpool - Premier League - April 4, 2015

A  Champions League qualification 6-pointer (welcome to modern football), this game between two of the form sides in the league could leave the sides three points apart, or nine. Ultimately it was the latter as Arsenal stunned Liverpool with three goals, each more fantastic than the last, to essentially finish the game before half-time. Henderson added a consolation goal for Liverpool before Giroud showed his quality with a 90th minute stunner to diminish Gerrard and co.'s chances of a Champions League spot. Whether the Gunners had switched breakfast cereal since last season remains to be seen, but the early kick-off didn't seem to trouble them on this big occasion.

2. Manchester United 1-2 Arsenal - FA Cup Quarter-Final - March 9, 2015

Apparently Arsenal shared the grounds team of the year award with the people
at Old Trafford this season. You learn something new every day!

It is telling that the top two in this list are both away games, given the nature of Arsenal's fragility away from home against the bigger sides last year. Old Trafford always holds a bit of significance for Arsenal fans due to the embarrassing nature of our results there over the last nine years or so. Furthermore, to knock United out would leave Arsenal favourites for another FA Cup trophy which would take them clear of United as the most successful FA Cup side in history. I declared myself unfit for such an occasion, deciding we might have a better chance of winning if I didn't follow the game for once. Hidden in a restaurant, I allowed myself to check my phone once. Seeing it was one apiece, I sat back down to my curry and allowed events to unfold without me. Imagine my delight to see Welbeck had scored the winner! This game cured many ills. It was Arsenal's first win against United since 2011, and their first win AT United since 2006. Danny Welbeck scored against the manager who deemed him surplus to requirements, and it healed some wounds still fresh from the loss to Monaco, not to mention the performance of Coquelin, who buzzed around Fellaini all game. The result was made sweeter by the draw against Reading/Bradford.

1. Manchester City 0-2 Arsenal - Premier League - January 18, 2015.

The answer to Wenger's problems?

I dare say I enjoyed our FA Cup win v United more than this win, but if it weren't for this great day then I may not have been talking about a win at Old Trafford at all. Arsenal's season felt a bit flat. A 2-2 draw at Liverpool in the previous month had done little to lift morale, and the loss on New Year's Day to Southampton seemed only to confirm that this had been an uninspiring Arsenal campaign so far. The Gunners sat in fifth place, only a point off fourth, but after the sustained title challenge of 2013/14, such feats were of scant consolation. We had not counted on the one they call Coquelin.

Arsenal surrendered possession, with some reports suggesting they held as little as 35% of it. But it worked. After Cazorla converted a first-half penalty, Giroud stunned the hosts by heading in for 2-0 in the second half. Arsenal's new-found tactics, to sit back and wait for City instead of leaving space in behind, worked perfectly. Francis Coquelin did well in central midfield to limit the Pellegrini's creative outlets, and Arsenal secured their third clean sheet in a row, their first win at Manchester City since 2010, and what seems to have been a turning point. Wenger perhaps has found plan B again.

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