Arsenal FC: The Gunners' Top Goals of 2011 Part 1
With 2011 heading into its final days, it's normal for people world over to sit back and reminisce about the year gone by.
For sports fans, specifically football fans, that trip down memory lane usually consists of cognitive thought dedicated to goals, fouls, red cards and ultimately season defining moments of the previous year.
This slideshow, then, is a venue for all Arsenal fans to look back at the top goals of 2011.
P.S: Part one consists of goals from the latter half of the 2010/2011 season. Stay tuned for part two after Saturday's game against QPR.
Robin Van Persie vs West Ham United (15 January 2011)
(Video starts at 5:28)
Upton Park has never been a welcoming venue for visitors, especially not the Gunners.
After enduring countless seasons of disappointment at their neighbour's home ground, Arsenal, and Robin van Persie in particular, put in a stylish performance to stamp their authority in this mini-rivalry.
The first goal, though, was Arsenal's, and of course, Arsene Wenger's philosophy personified in one stylish and swift move.
Bacary Sagna vs Leeds United (Jan. 19, 2011)
For a full back not known for his scoring prowess, Bacary Sagna powered in Arsenal's second goal with some authority.
The right back, running in from his favoured side, received the ball at the edge of the opponent's area with both time and space.
The finish, though more brute power than accuracy, was a sight to behold.
Robin Van Persie vs Wigan Athletic (Jan. 22, 2011)
(Goal starts at 3:05)
Arsenal fans will fondly remember their home game versus Wigan for the team's splendid and "Arsenalized" performance, where they managed to secure the three points in style.
Of course, that game's highlight will forever be Robin van Persie's hat trick—his first for the club—which incredibly included a penalty miss. The unanimous pick of the goals, though, will undoubtedly be the Dutchman's second.
Arsenal's then-captain Cesc Fabregas chipped the ball beautifully into the path of the on-rushing van Persie, who made no mistake with the first time finish on the volley. The end result: a beautiful goal worth watching over and over.
Nicklas Bendtner vs Ipswich Town (Jan. 25, 2011)
Though Nicklas Bendtner will forever remain a striker on which opinions have been divided straight down the middle, there was simply no doubting the Dane's ability with his clutch goals versus Ipswich Town in the Carling Cup second leg fixture at The Emirates Stadium.
In a must-win game for the Gunners, one which saw the team unsuccessfully venture back and forth into the opposition's box looking for the all-levelling goal, Nicklas Bendtner provided a moment of inspiration, taking a well-timed long ball from Jack Wilshere to round the defender and score a well-placed goal.
It was the kind of goal which could alone warrant cult-like status amongst the fans for the player.
Robin Van Persie (Goal 1) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Feb. 12, 2011)
Though Robin van Persie was, initially to the goal being scored, always hailed as a great striker, he had been brandished as one simply unable to use his weaker right foot. Ultimately, it lead to the formation of the nickname "chocolate leg" by the striker himself
The myth of his over-reliance on his stronger left foot, though, was put to rest via a beautifully taken "scissor-kick" goal versus Wolverhampton Wanderers at The Emirates Stadium.
Once again, the goal involved the short-lived yet potentially promising "Fabregas-van Persie" combination, as the then-skipper played in a perfectly weighted lob pass—ironically, also with his weaker foot—to the Dutchman, who took the goal first time while falling in a backwards motion.
Though it may sound scrappy in a paragraph, it turned out to be a goal worth talking about, one which Arsenal fans now simply refer to as "the scissor kick."
Robin Van Persie (Goal 2) vs Wolverhampton Wanderers (Feb. 12, 2011)
Arsenal's style of play, at least in England, is a rather unique one.
With the rare ability to dictate and continually shift the tempo of the game, all the while playing the pretty passing game, the Gunners are without doubt one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the English Premier League.
And if you were to pick out just one goal from the 2011 calendar year that emphasized Arsene Wenger's unique philosophy in a nutshell, Arsenal and Robin van Persie's second would definitely be a prime candidate.
A move started from the back and continued on with virtually just one-touch from all the players involved, bar van Persie, who took an extra one to steady himself, is a goal worthy of any game. And though it was a goal scored against slightly less competitive opposition, the beauty of the goal cannot in any way be undermined.
Robin Van Persie vs Barcelona (Feb. 16, 2011)
A goal from a tight angle, against arguably the greatest football team ever assembled, witnessed by thousands of adoring fans. It's one that has all the makings of a classic.
And it was, unsurprisingly, scored by Arsenal's Dutch maestro himself, Robin van Persie.
In a repeat of last season's fixture at The Emirates Stadium, Arsenal found themselves trailing Barcelona courtesy of a first-half David Villa strike. And though Arsenal played brilliantly throughout the duration of the match, carving open the Catalan defence with half-chances more times than the visitors would have liked, they were unable to get that all-important goal.
That is, of course, until Robin van Persie scored "that goal" from a nearly impossible angle to tie the game and send the Gunners back to the halfway line with belief.
Andrei Arshavin vs Barcelona (Feb. 16, 2011)
Had this been a list compiling the greatest Arsenal goals of the last decade, this would have still made the list. Not just because of the buildup play, nor because of the finish.
Just because Arsenal—"Barcelona lite" as some liked to say—were playing Barcelona and beating them at their own game.
The end result was a beautiful goal by Arsenal's diminutive Russian Andrei Arshavin, which proved to be the winner against arguably the greatest football team ever assembled. And one which, undoubtedly, Barcelona and Pep Guardiola himself would have been proud of.
Robin Van Persie vs Birmingham City (27th February 2011)
Though the goal was scored in a game Arsenal fans would all love to forget, Robin van Persie's equalizer against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final is definitely still worth remembering.
After a great buildup powered by Jack Wilshere, Andrei Arshavin found himself on the right side of Birmingham's area. He then managed to speed past and quickly provide van Persie a beautifully floated pass onto his "chocolate leg" for him to score.
Besides it's importance, the goal remains one adored by Arsenal fans because of its status as a "sacrificial goal," as Arsenal's Dutch captain sacrificed his fitness in trying to get his team level in a cup final.
Ultimately, it's the greatest act of passion and love for a team, and one which, despite the bitter ending of the occasion, will continue to be talked about for years to come.
Samir Nasri vs Tottenham Hotspur (20th April 2011)
(Goal starts at 8:08)
Because it's Samir Nasri we're dealing with here, I'll keep this as short and simple as possible.
In the season's final North London derby, Samir Nasri—who had yet to cross the divide to the Eastlands in search of his big-money contractscored an impressive goal from outside Tottenham's box. It was a goal important at the time, as it restored their slender one-goal lead over their bitter rivals.
As always, I'd love to hear your opinion on which goals should have made this list.
Remember, though, this is just part one of the countdown, meaning it's the goals from the first half of the 2011 calendar year (last season). As such, only mention similar goals when posting links in the comments section.
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