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My Experience as an Arsenal Fan: 2010-11 Season In Review

Photo by lorenzo23

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.

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  1. Moe

    June 12, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Both Defenders Purchased this season were not ment to be starters. After Vermilion got hurt, and he is one of the best CB’s in the League, these 2 were forced to play much more than expected. But i do agree that Arsenal need 2 more CB’s and a good CM. Defense is what made Arsenal’s season end the way it did.

  2. IanCransonsKnees

    June 9, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    If you’d had Stoke’s substitute goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen along with Shawcross (go on then give me plenty of stick I know it’s coming from the KWs) & Huth Arsenal would have won the title.

    • RVPFan

      June 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm

      Ramsey is back and playing well. No stick for you Ian. Your point is well taken anyway.

    • Moe

      June 9, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Dont think so, Sorensen is only Better than Almunia, there rest of the keepers were injured this year for significant amounts of time and are better than him and you #1 keeper.

      • IanCransonsKnees

        June 10, 2011 at 2:24 am

        Flapianski make Gomes look assured nevermind Begovic or Sorensen. As for the young Pole conceding 3 at the Britannia Stadium to dirty boring Stoke does his stock no favours. How good are your centre halfs though, well worth the money, snigger.

        • Moe

          June 10, 2011 at 8:28 am

          Your thinking of Fabanski from the season before. he actually played well before he got hurt. Arsenal’s best defender was out all season, I agree arsenal need defenders, but of a better quality than your team.

          • IanCransonsKnees

            June 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

            I don’t dispute that Arsenal need better defenders Moe, even better than the two centre halves we have if they’re serious about Europe. However for £8m the pair Shawcross and Huth (nine goals from centre half), would have been money better spent than the two muppets you employed this season and would have got you a damn sight closer to the title.

            Arsenal don’t need defenders who can walk the ball from the edge of their box into the opposition net, they’ve got midfielders and forwards capable of that. What they need are two defenders who can do the basics of tackling, blocking and passing the ball to someone more skilfull. I’ll argue that Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Martin Keown did no more than that and they were a mite more successful than the pretenders that you employ now.

  3. Nelson

    June 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The first north London derby this season was the BEST game all year! I am enjoying the closing gap between the two sides. Should be even more exciting next year as it looks like Spurs will only improve.

  4. Cav

    June 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Lots of good points about previous AFC transfers (done by Arsene or one of his predecessors) in comparison to transfers of ManU … or other big (i.e., wealthy) clubs – here are a few more points:

    1) The economics of the game at the highest level, i.e., top teams in England, Spain, Germany, and Italy, have changed dramatically in the past 10 years. In the EPL, Man City and Chelsea have had their histories altered permanently by the seemingly bottomless pit of money that their new owners have brought to the party.

    “Traditional” powers – teams like Arsenal, Man U, and Liverpool (to name a few) – are having a much harder time buying and building the type of talent and depth that wins championships and tropheys. And no, it’s not because each of the teams I just mentioned are owned by Americans; it’s because the owners of the vast majority of teams throughout the world have to worry about a balance sheet.

    Until (and unless), FIFA, UEFA, and the key individual football federations get together to impose some kind of financial sanity, the playing field for all but the wealthy few will be decidedly “unlevel.” Please see MLB and the NFL (current labor negotiations notwithstanding) in the USA for examples of what works as far as parity.

    2) Which leads right into my second point – that evaluating and securing football talent is the most difficult part of building a professional football franchise. There are so many variables that go into making a situation “right” for any individual player, that it is exceedingly difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy which players will be successful and which ones will not be. To use an example that was discussed in previous posts – Javier Hernandez was a great piece of business by Man U (and by extension, SAF) and had a fantastic first season with his new club. But, there have been many players who have had one good season only to find that it is hard to duplicate that form year-after-year. And, for every Chicharito, there are at least 5 Bebe’s – most of whom we never hear about because they never even make it to the first team for real exposure. Every team has this problem. Managers who are around long enough to develop a track record at a club have a ledger of transfers in and transfers out that can be analyzed and criticized by the many people who love and follow those clubs. The only difference is that clubs with the ability to spend more than their competitors can cover up transfer mistakes by buying yet more high-priced talent.

    That having been said, I am not under any illusions that teams that are just below the top of the financial pyramid, e.g. Man U, Arsenal, and Liverpool, don’t still have a vast advantage in earnings and spending over the rest of the teams below them. But, amongst the teams that vie for European qualification, it is more challenging for those teams to build the kind of talent and depth that wins.

    I can hear all of the old-timers (and younger students of football history) saying as a response to my points about money and the economics of football, “Always has it been thus, and thus is shall always be.” Fair point. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be changed for the better, such that the same cycle of boom and bust that inflicts our worldwide economy doesn’t also have to be the pattern in football club ownership (please see Leeds United ten years ago as an example).

    As an Arsenal fan since the mid-80s, it is as frustrating for me as any other Gooner to watch my beloved team crumble at the end of the season and not win as they did 6-15 years ago. However, if the solution was as easy as buying a few high-priced players to guarantee success, Wenger and many other managers would have already done that. Those multi-million pound decisions are perilous, and can have far-reaching implications for the finances for all but a few of the clubs in Europe. And that’s all before we even talk about squad selection and team tactics!

    • RVPFan

      June 9, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      I agree with you. As Wenger has said on multiple occasions previously, only buying players will not help. However, as a manager, he has to understand that young players needs some leaders to lead them while they develop their talents alongside the veterans. This is Arsenal’s problem. They do not have leaders in their side who can urge them when going gets tough. Cesc is not a leader and will never be one. Some players are just not meant for that kind of role, and he is one of them.

      I have watched Arsenal since 96′ and been an avid fan. What Wenger had previously and what they are missing now are good old fashioned wizened – old warriors that can lift the gear with their voice. As Ian Wright said to Bergkamp when he first came into the league and got bullied around, “you gotta leave some”.

      Teams at the bottom of the PL have passion but less talent than Arsenal. So they play to their strength, play physical and play long. Arsenal’s lack of quality physical mid-fielders and players at the back is what is causing all sorts of problems in defense. We just don’t have that steel anymore.

      You raise good points.

  5. Ian

    June 9, 2011 at 12:51 am

    wow, you’ve been a fan all the way since we’ve been at emirates? thats nearly 5 years! what dedication

    • Den

      June 9, 2011 at 5:41 am

      I have been a fan since 1996 and this season was the worst ever!!!! It gave us promise and yet we collapsed like a termite infested tree!!!! I am afraid to say next season will be worse!!!!

    • MG

      June 9, 2011 at 11:27 am

      Unnecessary sarcasm, Ian haha. Keep in mind, this is a Premier League blog centered around the AMERICAN experience. Not everyone grew up with the club. Clearly, we aren’t all English and/or Londoners. Some only started following/supporting them last year or since 2006, or (in Den’s case) since 1996. Keep hating, though, if it makes you think you’re a better person.

  6. Taimur

    June 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm

    If they want to win a title, they need stronger and quality players in the midfield like they had in the early 2000s such as Emanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, and Gilberto Silva. In the Premier League, you need players who can fight with the opponent’s players to win the ball in the middle. AFC don’t have that anymore. Jack Wilshere is good but he’s not strong. Theo Walcott is also talented, but isn’t good at tracking back and trying to win the ball back. Abou Diaby is only good at hacking other players’ legs and picking fights.

  7. Sean

    June 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Buying Chicharito for 6 million pounds was buying a title…. It’s about the ability to recognize young talent, compliment it with Vidic, Ferdinand and Giggs and build a winning side. Arsene does not understand the balance of youth and experience to win titles. He doesn’t understand the ability to compete on multiple fronts with a deep bench. Yes, we got out bollocks kicked in by Barca, but we compete. Why?
    1. Sir Alex wins.
    2. Arsenal are no threat to the premiership. Kids win games, not championships, so take your kids and walk the ball into the net. I’ll take the trophies….

  8. Jack Tomczuk

    June 8, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Taylor, I would not say that Wenger got “lucky” with Overmars, Henry, and Vieira. Wenger and his staff know talent when they see it. Wenger also knew Henry from his time at Monaco so it wasn’t just a lucky guess.

    I also would not want to “buy” a title. Only spending as much as Chelsea or Man City is buying a title. United did not buy the title this season. Arsene should buy a centre half (Chris Samba could be cheap) and a striker (Benzema if we sell Cesc).

    That would not be considered buying the title because we could use the Fabregas money to buy players in key areas. Arsenal can certainly be title-contenders next season if Wenger can upgrade the defense and give RVP some help up front.

    • Taylor

      June 8, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      What I meant with lucky was these players were available on cheap.

      Arsenal is a well-run club and I respect them for doing the right thing. I can’t root for City or Chelsea (although I used to enjoy watching them play during the days of John Spencer, Gavin Peacock, etc).

      Cesc needs to go – his attitude of watching Spanish GP when his team mates were still playing indicate his heart wasn’t @ the Emirates anymore. Plus calling out his team “Not Good Enough” is a big “NO” for me. This type of comment should stay in the dressing room. The captain should give encouragement to the players: there has to be a certain degree of “arrogance” that We’re good enough and we can win it !

      • Jack Tomczuk

        June 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

        Taylor, I agree with you on Cesc. It is time for him to go. He is not a true captain. Wenger needs to see if his heart is still in it. If not, sell him to Barca for a huge fee and use that cash to fill the holes.

        We can win without Cesc but we cannot win with the same back four. Maybe Wenger needs to bring in Tony Adams or Steve Bould to coach these defenders on the finer points of positioning.

    • MUFC77

      June 9, 2011 at 7:46 pm

      Benzema up front with RVP would be deadly combination. RVP leading the line with Benzema playing in the hole behind him. As much as i like RVP he seems to pick up a lot of injuries, especially the last couple seasons

  9. Taylor

    June 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    United didn’t buy the title. Most of players developed at United and for the players who didn’t grow with United, they went to the next level after playing with United

    I respect Wenger and if United didn’t win the title, I;’d be happy to see Arsenal win the title. Wenger has a lot of talents in spotting young players but let’s be honest: he’s been lucky with certain things:

    1. When he joined Arsenal, the squad was almost full of internationals: David Seaman, Nigel Winterburn, Martin Keown, Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Paul Merson, David Platt, Glenn Helder, Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, John Hartson, Steve Morrow, Eddie McGoldrick. Those were
    full internationals. You add Andy Linighan, Ray Parlour, David Hiller and Ian Selley that makes it 19 players. None of them were signed by Wenger, but by George Graham (who is an excellent manager) or Bruce Rioch. If you have followed Arsenal since early 1990s, you’d concur with me that the players were really excellent players.

    2. 3 key signings were obtained for cheap: Overmars (after bad knee injury), Viera (failed to shine at Milan) and Henry (failed at Juventus as he was deployed as a winger instead of striker)

    Plus some of the transfers were not disclosed publicly (like Hleb’s) so the valuation was only an educated guess. Also, some of the transfers also had clauses that could inflate the transfer price.

    Nevertheless, I respect AW. he just needs to realize what the team is lacking and if he can’t find it cheap, he might have to buy. This is how things work and part of being a good manager is to evolve with the time.

  10. Taylor

    June 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    I don’t think if Wenger splashed money to buy a goalkeeper and central defender, it’ll be classified as buying a trophy. It’s called completing the squad.
    I have a respect for Gunners’ approach and if United didn’t win the league, I would be happy for the Gunners to win the title.

    Wenger has never spent a lot of money for players, except with 3 players. However, Wenger has also been quite “lucky” with Overmars (signed after major knee injury), Viera (failed to blossom at AC Milan) and Henry (played mainly as left wing at Juventus). They were signed really cheap.

    Also he’s been blessed with good players who have been with Arsenal and still very good when he joined Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Bould, Adams, Platt, Wright, Merson, Bergkamp, Helder, , Keown, Parlour, Hartson, Morrow. Those were full internationals. You add: Linighan (England B),Hillier (U21), McGlodrick (Irish international), Selley (U21) and Dickov (Scottish U21) – he didn’t need to fill a lot of holes.

  11. Norfolk Enchants

    June 8, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Sean you can eat me. If our only way to win is by buying a trophy I’d rather not have one at all.

    I love the gunners and the approach. Those are the terms I want to win on.

    • Red20

      June 8, 2011 at 8:36 pm

      I hate United with a passion, but just saying they “buy titles” is not only incorrect, it’s also a crappy excuse.

      Putting the best players possible into positions that help the team win, is what the club is supposed to do. Like literally, its sole purpose.

      And if you’re going to refer to buying Chicharito as part of buying the title, then that’s a limp argument as well. He was not only cheap, but he was readily available to anyone else that wanted him. United had the foresight to buy a young player for a low amount, and he helped them win the title. Seems like a great piece of business to me, and not the same as buying a Ronaldo or Kaka.

      • Rob

        June 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

        As an Arsenal fan I agree 100%. Man United picked up Hernandez for a bargain price which is a move that if Wenger had done would have earned him genius praise. Give Them credit for a great year whereas we just wilted when things got tough. As for not accepting bought titles, I’d love to see you give one back. If we buy a few players this year and win a trophy last year did we then “buy” it. It’s such sour grapes, we need to accept that the “Arsenal way” isn’t the only way of doing things. And it certainly doesn’t guarantee anything.

  12. Sean

    June 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    At one point you had the title, all you had to do is win out. But experience is the difference, that is why Man U (my club) won their record 19th and Arsenal finished 4th. You need leadership, and Arsene won’t splash the cash for it, that is why the Gunners will never be taken seriously for a title contender. You need a keeper, central defender. But, you won’t get him…

    • MG

      June 8, 2011 at 9:00 pm

      “that is why the Gunners will never be taken seriously for a title contender”

      never? haha no.

    • Moe

      June 9, 2011 at 1:25 pm

      A Keeper isn’t needed, the Needs are CB, CM, and another good striker. Also, whoever is purchased needs to have some experience and not be some 18 year old

  13. MG

    June 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    A disappointing season for sure. Now that the season is done, all one can do is hope and look forward to the future. The keyword is ‘forward’ and it’s appropriate that that very word is now emblazoned on the 2011-12 kit.

    Come on Arsenal!

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