5 Best Arsenal Moments of 2013
With the year coming to an end, it's been another memorable 12 months for Arsenal.
Arsenal started the year off with a 1-1 draw against Southampton which saw them at fifth place and ended it with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Newcastle which sees them end the year at the top the table with 42 points from 19 games played.
With unbeaten runs, stunning goals and huge wins, we take a look at the five best moments of 2013 for the Gunners.
5. 1-0 Win at Dortmund
At this point, Arsenal had been playing some lovely football, while sitting comfortably at the top of the Premier League and in their Champions League group.
A 2-1 home loss to Dortmund however, led to critics questioning Arsenal's ability to win the big games and if they were really ready to end their trophy drought.
And so, Arsenal's 1-0 win at the imposing Westfalenstadion in the return fixture was quite the feat, especially given the nature of the game. The Gunners were soaking up German pressure for majority of the game before an Aaron Ramsey header against the run of play sealed the game in what was a memorable night for Arsenal.
Not only did they silence critics but the win was pivotal in Arsenal getting out of this season's Champions League group of death.
4. 2-0 Win Against Napoli
Arsenal's first home game in the Champions League this season welcomed Italian side Napoli—and it turned out to be one of their best displays of football.
It wasn't only because record signing Mesut Ozil scored a great first goal for the Gunners and went on to assist another for Olivier Giroud. Arsenal were simply rampant and dominant against one of the best sides in Italy.
Wojciech Szczesny recalls the game as he told the official website, "I think in the first half-hour we were frightening. I never touched the ball so that should tell you a lot."
It was as if Arsenal were making a statement in Europe.
3. Pipping Spurs to a Champions League Spot (Again)
It was similar to the 2011/2012 season—Arsenal had fallen behind local rivals Tottenham again and a crucial Champions League spot looked like it was slipping away, especially after a 2-1 loss at White Hart Lane.
Seven points behind Spurs with 10 games left in the season, Arsenal made wholesale changes including the dropping of Wojciech Szczesny and captain Thomas Vermaelen and went on to end the season in fourth with eight wins and two draws, conceding only five goals in the process.
Spurs, meanwhile, faltered and eventually fell behind Arsenal to fifth—making it another season having been unable to finish above Arsene Wenger's side as well as no Champions League football.
And of course, their star man Gareth Bale proceeded to leave in the summer.
2. Beating Bayern Munich 2-0
But what got Arsenal to turn their season around? It was of course, defeating the eventual Champions League winners Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 2-0.
Having lost the first leg 3-1 as well as losing to Spurs in the league a few weeks after, the Gunners' season was slowly collapsing. When many expected a rout in Germany, however, Arsenal went on to beat the Bavarians and were just one goal away from actually producing the comeback of the season.
It was disappointing but the win gave Arsenal a huge boost in saving their season as they finished in the Champions League spots, having been unbeaten until the end of the season.
1. Signing Mesut Özil
Finishing above Spurs and beating a team like Bayern Munich is always great, but nothing was in comparison to what happened on summer transfer deadline day.
Arsenal finally smashed their transfer record and by some amount—signing Mesut Ozil, arguably the world's best playmaker from Real Madrid for a stunning £42.5 million.
Not only a signal of intent but the transfer also proved that the very best players were still ready to play under Wenger as Ozil has simply galvanized the club, lifting the players and the fans ever since his arrival.
Blessed with immense creativity, technique and talent, the former Werder Bremen man has significantly improved Arsenal's style of play, having adapted to life in England seamlessly.
It's not wrong to say Arsenal wouldn't have finished 2013 on top of the table without the special German international.