Arsenal Football Club began its 2011/12 campaign with a preseason adventure that saw Arsene Wenger and his men book a trip to the Far East to take on Malaysia’s best XI and Hangzhou Greentown.
A quick trip to Lukas Podolski’s FC Cologne came up next. The game was an avenue for Gervinho to show the Arsenal fans what he was made of. He ended up scoring a brace in the 2-1 victory.
After another disappointing loss in the Eusebio Cup final to SL Benfica, the Premier League began in earnest with an opening fixture against Newcastle United in St. James Park, or the Sports Direct Arena, as it’s now called.
Five months on, with 29 games played, 49 goals scored and 36 goals conceded over three competitions, Arsenal is presently within touching distance of the teams in the top four. They've booked a Champions League first knockout phase date with AC Milan and also booked out of the Carling Cup following a defeat to Manchester City in the quarterfinals.
Despite all that, the first half of the 2011/12 season will be fondly remembered for the right and wrong reasons by Gooners worldwide.
Taking a quick peek at the bad side, Arsenal fans saw two of their best creative midfielders leave the club for greener pastures when they still had a lot to offer to Arsene Wenger’s side. Fans witnessed the club’s worst ever defeat in the 21st century following an 8-2 drubbing at the hands of fellow title rivals Manchester United.
The fans also witnessed a lot of disappointing results this season with the pick of the bunch being the surprising 4-3 loss to Blackburn at a time when Steve Kean was under fire following three losses in a row. What makes the defeat more embarrassing was the fact that Arsenal were the plotters of their own downfall with two unfortunate own goals.
Nevertheless, there are many positives to take from the first half of the season and I’ll share my top 20 using a somewhat chronological order.