Arsenal racked up an impressive 103 goals in the calendar year 2011. So, deciding the top 10 was a hard job. But, someone has to do it. Here are the top 10, or should I say 11, because I could not decide on the 10th spot. 😀
=10. Robin van Persie v Norwich City, Premier League, Carrow Road, 19th Nov, W 2-1
With scores level, Alex Song makes full advantage of a loose ball and releases van Persie, who goes clear off the Norwich defence to delightfully chip the Norwich goalie, Ruddy.
=10. Robin van Persie v Birmingham City, Carling Cup Final, Wembley, 27th Feb, L 2-1
Birmingham had taken the lead through Nikola Zigic in the 28th minute. And Arsenal needed a response, going into half-time. They almost got it when Jack Wilshere hit the post. But, it didn’t matter as it fell to Andriy Arshavin, who beat a couple of Birmingham defenders to cross to van Persie. van Persie, being closely monitored, stuck his leg out, across the defender, and despite being airborne, sees the ball at the back of the net.
9. Park Chu-Young v Bolton Wanderers, Carling Cup 4th Round, Emirates Stadium, 25th Oct, W 2-1
After fine work from Andriy Arshavin in the centre of midfield, Park-Chu Young finished with panache, curling one past Adam Bogdan, to score his first goal in Arsenal colours.
8. Samir Nasri v Tottenham Hotspur, Premier League, White Hart Lane, 20th April, D 3-3
Result of some slick passing, between Fabregas, Diaby and Nasri. At the end, Nasri unleashes a thunderbolt which goes right under Heurelho Gomes to temporarily give the Gunners an advantage in a pulsating North London derby.
7. Andriy Arshavin v West Bromwich Albion, Premier League, The Hawthorns, 19th March, D 2-2
At this stage of the season, Arsenal had been knocked out of 3 out of 4 competitions they entered in. And their Premier League hopes too were dying, 2-0 down at the Hawthorns, and 20 minutes left to play. But, Arshavin comes to the rescue as he rifles a brilliant left-footed shot past Scott Carson, before assisting the equalizer minutes later.
6. Niklas Bendtner v Ipswich Town, Carling Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg, Emirates Stadium, 25th Jan, W 3-0
1-0 down from the first leg, and no goals to show for, with just half-an-hour left, Niklas Bendtner brilliantly controls a fine long pass from Jack Wilshere. He then cuts inside, to beat two Ipswich defenders and curl one home. It opened the floodgates, as Arsenal won 3-0 on the night.
5. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain v Olympiacos, Champions League Group Stage, Emirates Stadium, 28th Sep, W 2-1
Signed from Southampton over the summer for a massive 12 million pounds, 18 year old Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had already announced himself, with a goal against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup. But, this was even better, as his shot went through the legs of a defender into the back of the net.
4. Theo Walcott v Chelsea, Premier League, Stamford Bridge, 29th Oct, W 5-3
A goal the pacy winger thoroughly deserved on an entertaining evening of football. He ran straight at Chelsea’s wall of defenders, even fell, but picked himself up to smash one past Petr Cech.
3. Andriy Arshavin v Barcelona, Champions League Round of 16, Emirates Stadium, 16th Feb, W 2-1
A goal, that will stay in Gunner’s fans’ memories for a long time to came. Everything in the move was clockwork. Wilshere tweaks one to Fabregas, who plays a long ball to a sprinting Samir Nasri. Nasri waits for a second and sees an unmarked Arshavin. And the rest is history. Arshavin smashes past Victor Valdes to seal an amazing victory.
2. Robin van Persie v Everton, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 10th Dec, W 1-0
The perfect occasion. The perfect score. The perfect goal. Arsenal was celebrating it’s 125th anniversary, and who better than Robin van Persie to score the winner, in a typical-old-school-rugby-style-Arsenal-1-0 win. Alex Song’s lofted ball was closely watched by the Dutchman, and he made a perfect connection with his famous left-foot to volley a low shot past Tim Howard.
1. Robin van Persie v Barcelona, Champions League Round of 16, Emirates Stadium, 16th Feb, W 2-1
Clearly top of the pile. Staring at defeat, with 12 minutes on the clock, against the best club in the world, Gael Clichy plays a superb ball to van Persie. Despite the very small angle, the Dutchman has one look at Valdes, and then brilliantly shoots past keeper and post into the net. Even the commentator was stunned. “How did he manage that?” were his exact lines. Manage, he did, on a famous famous night.