I have been a dedicated Arsenal supporter since the move to the Emirates. Over the last few seasons, the Gunners have faded out of the title race as the campaign wore on. Disappointing seasons for sure, but none can compare to 2010-2011 season.
As I look back over the season, the Tottenham match in November is one that really sticks with me. We had already beaten Spurs by three goals at White Hart Lane in the Carling Cup. A quick two goal advantage and it looked to be a fine afternoon for all Gooners. But in the second half, we crumbled to our most bitter rivals like never before. A two goal lead at home turned into a 3-2 loss.
That game was a horrific sign of things to come. Our leaky defense resurfaced in early February at St James Park. Our attack was at its very best, putting four on the score sheet before the 27th minute. The second half started off with a series of misfortunes and stupidity. First, Sebastien Squillaci was forced to come on to replace the injured Johan Djourou. Then Diaby, with a four goal lead mind you, was given a straight red card after a scuffle with Joey Barton. Newcastle went on to make history by scoring four goals to take the two points from our warm, giving hands.
Arsene was able to inspire the players after that match. Somehow, those same players beat the best team in the world just eleven days after the stunning collapse. Arshavin’s winner will be one of the only positive memories I have of this season, along with the emergence of Jack Wilshere. Beating Barcelona 2-1 is our greatest moment at the Emirates so far.
In that same month of February, we managed to lose a cup final at Wembley to Birmingham City. Fair play to Birmingham, they earned the victory. But we sure didn’t make it difficult for them. That blunder between Koscielny and Szczesny will be hard to forget if the trophy-less seasons continue. Ironically, the Carling Cup Final left both teams in worse shape then they were.
We dropped too many points to supposed lesser quality teams after that cup final. Too many to mention. The team lost what little resolve it had and went into a terrible tailspin. We were beaten soundly at Old Trafford in the FA Cup to a weakened United eleven. Blew a 3-1 lead at White Hart Lane, not that anyone expected us to hold such a lead.
Do not worry. I didn’t forget about the Liverpool debacle, when Eboue lost his head and decided to run into Lucas in the penalty area. Of course it came in the 11th minute of injury time only minutes after van Persie had taken the lead with a penalty. That sort of nonsense was par for the course this season.
The season ended with us clinging to our fourth place perch. Manchester City just breezed past us to finish third, not that we put up any kind of fight to cement our position. That was just salt in the wound. Fourth place isn’t a bad result for most teams, but it wasn’t about the result. It was about the journey. And oh, what a journey it was.