Arsenal: Ranking the Club's Worst 10 Moments In Recent History
Arsenal FC have endured some quite trying times over the last few years. Take a look at what transpired between May and August, and you could easily fill out a list of reprehensible moments for the club.
The current spell of the North London club has tested their supporters beyond reason. A club with such a proud and prestigious reputation has mastered the art of losing games during recent years.
This list may bring back some acid-like flashbacks to a time you'd probably rather forget if you're a Gooner.
1. Manchester United 8:2 Arsenal; August 2011
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Manchester United not only disproved the Arsenal youth experiment, but they exposed it and took a leak on it. Arsenal over recent years has strayed away from bringing in any veteran leadership. Cesc Fabregas was the captain and he was only 24 years of age before he left for Barcelona.
The startling statistic that blew Arsene Wenger's youth project philosophy into a million pieces was the average age of the two starting line ups that day. Manchester United's average age was 23.1 years old.
Their starters were an average age of 23.6 years old. Six months older than the squad Sir Alex Ferguson put out onto the pitch that day.
United's quality simply blew Arsenal out of the water and made them look incredibly inferior.
A dead ball hat trick for Wayne Rooney, a stunning brace for new boy Ashley Young and goals from Nani, Park and Welbeck tallied up the eight goal drubbing.
Arsenal let up eight goals in league play for the first time since 1896. Unfortunately for Gooners, it's a day many wish they could forget, but will always remember.
2. Newcastle United 4:4 Arsenal; February 2011
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Arsenal started off the day before the first minute even elapsed. Theo Walcott raced down the pitch to put the ball in the back of the net 44 seconds after the whistle blew to start the game. Fans didn't even have a chance to take a seat before Arsenal took the quick strike lead.
Three nil to the Arsenal before the 10 minute mark. Game over.
Van Persie added a fourth after a superb cross from Bacary Sagna on the right wing found him in the middle of the box right before the half. Newcastle United seemed to be dead and dusted. The interval saved Newcastle from any further embarrassment.
A reckless slide by Joey Barton and an Abou Diaby retaliation later saw Arsenal down to 10 men at the 50 minute mark. That's when the fun began.
Laurent Koscielny gave Newcastle a lifeline as he clumsily tackled Leon Best in the area. Barton put home the magpies' first goal from the spot with ease.
Best did his part to cut the deficit in half by finding his way on the end of a cross from Jose Enrique. Arsenal's insurmountable first half lead had been reduced to 4-2.
Koscielny provided Barton with a second penalty (albeit a soft penalty) and Barton did not waste the opportunity making it 4-3.
One of the more astounding and enthralling second half comebacks in memory to take place in the Premier League was capped off with a wonder strike as Cheick Tiote crushed the equalizer sending St. James Park into a euphoric celebration.
3. Letting Adebayor Score; September 2009
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The newly cash rich Manchester City went on a shopping spree during the summer of 2009. Included on their football grocery list was Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
Adebayor left the Emirates for the city of Manchester during the transfer window of 2009. His departure left many Arsenal fans rubbed the wrong way.
Manchester City’s new striker did not have to wait long for his chance to justify his decision. Arsenal traveled to Manchester early into the season campaign in September. A perfect chance for Adebayor to show his former club what they’re missing.
Arsenal ended up losing 4-2 on the road at the City of Manchester Stadium. Although a loss like that does not resonate well, it was the fourth goal and in particular the celebration after the score that infuriated the Arsenal faithful.
Adebayor ascended into the air to connect with an airborne cross and put it past the Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia. He quickly began to sprint the length of the pitch towards the visitors section and went down on both knees sliding into his spiteful, narcissistic celebration in front of all the Arsenal supporters.
The Arsenal supporters were engulfed in rage over the audacious display. But they can take solace in the fact that Adebayor is now a dirty Tottenham player.
4. Tottenham 2:1 Arsenal; April 2010
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Arsenal still maintained a fighting chance for the title at this late stage in the season, but they needed to take all three points away from their North London derby clash at White Hart Lane. Instead they lost all three points to the hands of their hated rivals.
Tottenham had not beaten Arsenal in over 10 years in league play before that night. Danny Rose took full advantage of his opportunity as he scored on an absolute piledriver off a poor corner clearance from Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia in the 10th minute.
The debutante’s goal sent White Hart Lane into a ravenous craze.
Gareth Bale added a second goal to send the Spurs up 2-0 early into the second half. Nicklas Bendtner pulled one back for the Gunners, but it would prove to be too little too late.
Arsenal has failed to beat Tottenham in either of their two league matches since this unbeaten streak ended, which may come up in later slides.
5. Carling Cup Final; February 2011
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A glorious day at Wembley Stadium awaited the Gunners in February early this year. A competition that had usually been reserved for, well, reserves, was being taken a little more serious than usual.
Arsene Wenger’s squad entered the final still challenging in all four of their competitions at the time.
The Carling Cup Final would be the first final of the season and they hoped it wouldn’t be the last. The appearance at Wembley should have been what kick started a squad as they progressed into their remaining three competitions.
Nay. In typical Arsenal fashion the Gunners threw away a match in which they should have won easily. Not only did they lose to the lowly, eventually relegated Birmingham City but they lost in the most demoralizing way possible.
A calamitous attempt to clear the ball by Arsenal centre-half Laurent Koscielny caused the Arsenal keeper to muff the ball allowing Obafemi Martins to capitalize. The 89th minute winner allowed Birmingham City to retake the lead and stun the shell shocked Gunners.
This Carling Cup Final catapulted the Gunners into a downward spiral that they never recovered from.
6. Machester United-Arsenal UEFA Semifinals 2009
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Arsenal was on the cusp of a return trip to the UEFA Champions League Final in 2009. The Gunners drew their rivals Manchester United for the semifinal tie and the two faced off with a finals birth on the line for the English giants.
The first leg took place at Old Trafford. Manchester United dominated the game and was clearly the better of the two teams on the day. Somehow Arsenal managed to minimize their losses and walked out of Manchester only down 1-0 on aggregate for the return trip to the Emirates.
Spirits were high for the Gunners when they returned home for the second leg of the semifinal. The only problem was that they failed to show up prepared for the match and United pounced.
Only 11 minutes into the second leg and United carried a 2-0 lead and a 3-0 lead on aggregate with two all-important away goals. Ji-Sung Park and Christiano Ronaldo put the Red Devils ahead for good as Arsenal let another grand opportunity pass by.
7. Arsenal 2-3 Tottenham; November 2010
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Not only does Tottenham make this list twice, but also they beat the hapless Gunners in consecutive league matches with the second victory coming in November of last year.
Arsenal proved to be the opposite of the comeback kings in recent memory. They were the ones giving up the big lead time after time.
Arsenal carried a 2-0 lead into halftime against their North London rivals. The Gunners out classed their visitors throughout the first half and it paid off. Samir Nasri and Marouane Chamakh gave Arsene Wenger’s side a two-goal cushion.
Then came the collapse. Gareth Bale put Tottenham on the board first. Rafael van der Vaart followed suit tacking on the tying goal from the penalty spot. Then with less than a handful of minutes left on the clock Younes Kaboul headed the Spurs to victory silencing the home crowd.
Tottenham beat Arsenal at home for the first time in 17 years.
Arsenal 1:1 Liverpool; April 2011
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Arsenal went into a crucial stretch of the season and needed to take away six points from their two games against Liverpool and Tottenham.
Manchester United still had not sealed the title and the Gunners had an opportunity to turn up the heat on the table leaders closing within four points.
Liverpool travelled to North London on that Sunday afternoon. An all around event-less and boring game got incredibly interesting in stoppage time. Cesc Fabregas had been taken down inside the area providing Arsenal with a last second prayer to take away the full three points.
Robin Van Persie stepped up to the line and sealed the victory for Arsenal in the 97th minute after an eternity of extra time. The latest penalty ever given into stoppage time Premier League history.
Except for the bumbling idiot Emmanuel Eboue unnecessarily herding Lucas Leiva all too closely in the box and bundling over him. Liverpool was awarded a penalty as the last play of extra time in the 101st minute. Dirk Kuyt stepped up to the line and easily put it past the Arsenal keeper setting a new stoppage time record.
9. Tottenham 3:3 Arsenal; April 2011
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Arsene Wenger and his men still held onto a slim chance of catching the table leaders Manchester United as they hosted their rivals Tottenham later in the week. A perfect game to forget one enormous mistake of a teammate and get your title hopes back on track.
The Gunners did just that. Scoring two goals early into the first half seemed to help Arsenal bounce back as needed. Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie put Arsenal two goals to the good before the interval. Except Tottenham pulled one back right at the break to provide themselves with some momentum for the second half.
With a little over 20 minutes remaining in the match Rafael van der Vaart finished off a penalty putting the Spurs into the lead 3-3. Arsenal’s title hopes all but drowned that week with their horrendous ability to defend a lead.
The week of April 17 started with a chance to cut into Manchester United's lead after they drew with Newcastle United. Instead they faltered twice taking just two of the six possible points and letting United's lead balloon to a more comfortable six points by week's end.
10. Six Years Without Silverware
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The North London club certainly has fallen upon hard times during the past few years. For a club that seemed to be making a transitional step forward in the English hierarchy, Arsenal quickly took two steps back.
In the beginning of the 2000s Arsene Wenger had many believe he could challenge Manchester United on an annual basis for the title. Halfway through the decade that quickly changed as Arsenal has not won a trophy since 2005.
The Gunners went into the Carling Cup Final last February involved in four different competitions. All of which they had a legitimate shot at winning yet they came up empty handed for their sixth season in a row. Their lack of silverware has caused some of their players to seek trophies elsewhere.
Arsenal do not look to be in a better condition than they were last year, in fact they look much worse at the moment. The trophy-less reign could be the end of an era if Arsene Wenger cannot turn things around quickly.
Maybe his deadline day spending brought in just what the doctor ordered: fresh blood.