2013 was a year to remember for Arsenal supporters.
From January through the last game of the year in Newcastle, Arsenal have been in magnificent form. In fact, if you combine the great finish to the 2012/13 campaign with this season's record Arsenal have tallied more points in the Premier League this year than any other club.
There have also been fantastic individual performances, some legendary matches and some stunning moves by the Club upstairs.
But what stood out the most? We turned to our panel of supporters in the USA and Canada to find out what they thought were the most memorable moments of the past year.
Question: What do you think was Arsenal's top highlight from 2013?
I remember doing one of these earlier this year outlining the highs and lows of the 2012-2013 season and I said it would mostly be one for me to forget. Thankfully things have picked up since then and I am feeling much more positive about the club now than I did a year ago. While reflecting on the year since January, I can clearly think of pivotal games, goals and signings that will be imprinted in the memories of most if not all Gooners.
In terms of matches, it is difficult to top the effect Bayern away had on the end of the 2012-2013 season. The win was underestimated by many that day as the team got eliminated from the Champions League anyway but it is what turned our season around. The result that day sparked a run of form not seen all season. Not only did Arsenal beat the eventual Champions League winners on their home ground, they also kept a clean sheet. Not many teams that have played at the Allianz Arena that season could say the same. In their final 10 matches the team went unbeaten, recording eight wins, two draws and a top four spot. Hopefully the team’s focus, determination and performance from that day in the Arena can be replicated again for the upcoming tie against the Munich team.
With signings, it is difficult not to stress how monumental the Ozil signing was for the club. The fact that the club were able to secure the services of a player of his pedigree at the start of his peak. The signing sent a message to the world - Arsenal meant business and the club was finally ready to play with the big boys.
There is one goal that Arsenal fans and football fans will most likely be talking about for years to come: Jack’s goal at home against Norwich.
The signing has no doubt inspired the team as evidenced by the position in the league and the fanbase. We were able to dream again. The club’s performances so far this season have also made me feel grateful about another set of significant contracts that were signed in January. The re-signing of Arsenal’s Brtish Core in Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Aaron Ramsey and Carl Jenkinson and Theo Walcott soon after for new five-year deals showed the club’s commitment to build a team around a strong basis of talented young players.
In terms of goals, there is one goal that Arsenal fans and football fans will most likely be talking about for years to come and that is Jack’s goal at home against Norwich. Cazorla to Giroud to Wilshere to Giroud to Wilshere to the back of the net all in matter of seconds. Even though it was the first of four goals that were scored on Norwich that day, it was one-touch football at its absolute best. Wengerball at its finest. Wenger even rated it among the top three Arsenal goals he has seen in his 17 years at the club and new boy Ozil referred to it as a “Playstation goal”.
Obviously, and as always, Zara makes fantastic points and gives a great account of what happened over the past year. For me though, one match stands out.
It’s the match that set everything in motion. It’s the match that is the reason Arsenal top the table. If Arsenal do not defeat Newcastle on the final day of the 2013 season, there is likely no Ozil, there is no matchup against Bayern in the Champions League and there is no lead at the mid-way point of the season.
I lost sleep before that final match of the season, and had the Gunners failed to win, surely I’d have had many restless nights after. The lead-up to and the eventual final game of the season were vital to the health club as a whole and the final whistle of the final match, though not a trophy, was the highlight of the 2013 year for me because of how important it was.
I think Zara covered the majority of my Best of 2013 list, but I also have to add last season’s finale against Newcastle. It may seem a little pitiful when you consider where Arsenal currently sit in the Premiership table, but back in May this fixture was do-or-die in terms of our Champions League aspirations, so for me the victory was memorable for its sheer sense of relief, if nothing else.
On a somewhat related note (since I’m assuming he was at least aware of what was achieved during that game), I agree that Mesut Ozil’s arrival some four months later has to be the most significant event on the 2013 Arsenal calendar. The intent that it signaled to Arsenal’s Premiership rivals and subsequently the bar that it raised within the squad have galvanized the club’s performances in the following months.
Whether or not Ozil’s arrival had an effect on Aaron Ramsey’s form, you’ve got to say the Welshman’s continued ability to just play out-of-his-mind football for the majority of the fall has to be the final standout of this last year. Ramsey’s goals against Liverpool, Norwich, Swansea and Cardiff all serve to underline a hugely successful second half of 2013, both for himself and the club.
The views expressed above are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Media Group.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 30 Dec 2013