15th August 2009
Everton 1 Arsenal 6
In the run-up to the season, Arsenal has already been written off as a Top 4 has been and were tipped to missed out on the Champions League spot for 10/11. However, this opening result proved that if anything, football is not played on paper. Arsene Wenger paraded his newest signing Thomas Vermaelen in the starting line-up and showcased the latest formation that is to be employed by Arsenal for the rest of the season. The 4-3-3 took Everton by surprise and we stormed to an impressive 3-0 lead at Goodison Park by half time. Captain, Cesc Fabregas revelled being supported by 2 more defensive minded midfielders and roamed forward with ease and aplomb. Those incisive breakaways harked back memories of Bergkamp, Henry, Pires and Ljungberg at their most fluid.
29th August 2009
Manchester United 2 Arsenal 1
Against the so-called big four in the league, Arsenal managed to pick up only 6 out of 18 points. Even those 6 were against the same opponent, in Liverpool. We lost home and away to both United and Chelsea. This game was the first of the season against a title rival and the result set the tone for our result against the big boys. Though, this match bore contrasting performance to the ones that we dished out at home against the same opponents. This was our best game against the big boys. We controlled the majority of the play and were unlucky to go home without anything to show for it. Abou Diaby’s misplaced clearance only planted the ball past a stranded Almunia while, Wayne Rooney demonstrated yet again his propensity to look for the penalty.
16th September 2009
Standard Liege 2 Arsenal 3
First away fixture in the group stage of the Champions League and within 15 minutes, Arsenal were staring at defeat right in the eye, against the reigning champions of Belgian football. However, at the final whistle, we secured a remarkable comeback by winning the game to kickoff our European campaign in style. The two goals conceded were again down to defensive errors but the real story is the fighting spirit of these players. This result would be the catalyst of so many other comebacks and late wins that Arsenal achieved for the season. Nicklas Bendtner’s goal right before half time, meant that the momentum was with Arsenal going into the break. In the space of 5 minutes, Vermaelen and Eduardo secured the points.
31st January 2010
Arsenal 1 Manchester United 3
If the earlier fixture was dominated by Arsenal but without any sort of luck on our side, this was a totally different tale altogether. Possession were evenly shared between the two teams but the difference in the two teams could not be more distinct. United were at their ruthless best. Almunia was at fault for the first, out of position and could only palmed Nani’s shot direct into goal. Counter attacks were the key to United clinching the tie, two quick breaks on either side of half time, put Arsenal to the sword. Though Vermaelen dragged a goal back, the writings were on the walls for us. A win would’ve put us back on top of the league and the situation was made worse by Chelsea who beat us a week later.
14th April 2010
Tottenham 2 Arsenal 1
A decade of sole bragging rights in North London was to end on this very night. The first time Arsenal under Arsene Wenger has lost to their neighbour home or away in a league fixture for more than 10 years. Arsenal came into this game without their talismanic Fabregas and had to depend on the ageing legs of Silvestre and Campbell at the back. We may have hogged all the possession especially in the first half but a moment of hesitancy from Almunia, allowed Danny Rose a goal on his debut. The bright spot in this lost was the return of Robin Van Persie. In the 15 short minutes that he was on the pitch, his performance reminded us of how difference our title assault would’ve been had he kept fit. This reversal at the Lane meant that finally we were out of the title race no matter what mathematics taught us.