10. Manchester City 6-3 Arsenal, Premier League, Etihad Stadium, 14th December 2013
(Manchester City – Aguero 14, Negredo 39, Fernandinho 50, Silva 66, Fernandinho 88, Toure 95 (pen); Arsenal – Walcott 31, 63, Mertesacker 92)
Manchester City continued their incredible home form by trouncing Arsenal 6-3 in a goal fest at the Etihad. Theo Walcott made a return to the starting lineup for Arsenal, but it was Sergio Aguero opening the scoring with an acrobatic effort off a corner. Theo Walcott equalized on 31 minutes, with a simple finish past Romanian Pantilimon, before Negredo tapped home City’s second from close range, just before half time. A loss of possession resulted in Brazilian Fernandinho curling the ball past Szcsesny, before Walcott scored a beautiful second to reduce the deficit to 3-2. 3 minutes later, David Silva made it 4-2 after a well worked move. From there on Arsenal looked tired and sluggish in midfield, losing the ball far too often. Fernandinho scored again to make it 5-2 in the 88th minute. Mertesacker’s goal in the 92nd minute seemed like consolation, but Yaya Toure added the cherry on top of City’s cake, scoring a penalty in the 95th minute. The match culminated in a spat between compatriots Mertesacker and Ozil.
9. Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 Arsenal, Premier League, White Hart Lane, 3rd March 2013
(Tottenham – Bale 37, Lennon 39; Arsenal – Mertesacker 50)
This was not really a bad performance, rather a bad result. This was an even contest all the way until the 37th minute, when Sp*rs struck. Arsenal were playing a risky high defensive line, and Gylfi Sigurdsson played in the quick Gareth Bale, who had the easy task of rounding off Szczesny to tap home the opener. And before Arsenal knew it, they fell victim to their own tactics, when Aaron Lennon burst past the defence to score Sp*rs second in as many minutes. Arsenal rallied and got one back when the ball bumbled off Mertesacker into the net. The game remained even throughout with both sides having plenty of chances to score, but Sp*rs won to take them to 3rd place, 7 points clear of Arsenal. We know how it all ended, though.
8. Arsenal 0-2 Manchester City, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 13th January 2013
(Manchester City – Milner 21, Dzeko 32)
Mike Dean ruined a possibly sumptuous match between two quality sides, by reducing the home side to 10 men after just 10 minutes. Laurent Koscielny was sent off after bringing down Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko in the box, after wrapping his arms around the lanky striker. Dzeko missed the penalty, but City soon had the lead, when James Milner powerfully finished past Szczesny, having been set up by Argentine Carlos Tevez. Arsenal rallied back with little incision, as Manchester City comfortably played out the game. Dzeko would make amends for his earlier penalty miss, by tapping home a second goal following a rebound from Szczesny from a Tevez shot. Arsenal defended commendably, and despite the sending off of Vincent Kompany, late in the second half, ended up losing 2-0.
7. Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal, Premier League, Old Trafford, 10th November 2013
(Manchester United – van Cunty 26)
Arsenal emerged as the losing side in a rather closely contested game between two sided matching in quality, in an intense encounter at Old Trafford. The difference turned out to be a fine header by Robin van Cunty, and his celebration thereafter did create a furor among the Arsenal faithful. To add to that, it was another accomplished performance from Wayne Rooney, so often the thorn in Arsenal’s side. The Gunners enjoyed pockets of fine passing, yet failed to breakdown a stringent United side. Giroud, Ozil, Bendtner all missed some good opportunities to score, as the Red Devils closed the gap between the two sides on the league table.
6. Napoli 2-0 Arsenal, Champions League Group Stages, Stadio Sao Paolo, 11th December 2013
(Napoli – Higuain 73, Callejon 92)
In a dour match, Napoli defeated Arsenal 2-0, yet failed to qualify to the knockout stages of the Champions League, with Arsenal just about catching the last boat, after Dortmund beat Marseille 2-1 in France. Both sides were locked in an intense physical, midfield-oriented and scrappy football battle, which was interrupted far too often by the referee’s whistle. Gonzalo Higuain, who chose Napoli over Arsenal in the summer, put the home side ahead in the 73rd minute, with a fine left footed shot. The Italian side looked content with the result, as Dortmund were unable to find a winning goal in France. As news poured in of a Dortmund goal, there was a barrage of attacks, with another Real Madrid import Jose Callejon scoring in the 92nd minute. But, it was a case of too little too late, as Arsenal made it through to the next round. Just about.
5. Arsenal 1-2 Borussia Dortmund, Champions League Group Stages, Emirates Stadium, 22nd October 2013
(Arsenal – Giroud 41; Borussia Dortmund – Mikhitarayan 16, Lewandowski 83)
Arsenal’s fine unbeaten streak of 12 matches came to an abrupt end as Borussia Dortmund produced the perfect away European performance to take home 3 points. Dortmund’s first goal came on 16 minutes, when the in-form Aaron Ramsey misplaced his pass, only for Armenia international Henrikh Mikhitarayan to score the opening goal. Mesut Ozil was given a hard time by his former rivals, as Dortmund efficiently marshalled the midfield. However, a misunderstanding between goalkeeper Weidenfeller and Subotic resulted in Giroud capitalizing and scoring the equalizer for Arsenal. The Gunners looked industrious in the second half, creating more opportunities, but the lethal Pole Robert Lewandowski struck the winner with 7 minutes of normal time to play.
4. Arsenal 0-2 Chelsea, Capitol One Cup Round 4, Emirates Stadium, 29th October 2013
(Chelsea – Azpilicueta 26, Mata 67)
Jose Mourinho kept his record against Arsene Wenger intact as Chelsea put in another thoroughly professional performance, this time to oust the Gunners from the Capitol One Cup. The Blues put in a second string side that still consisted names such as David Luiz, Michael Essien, Juan Mata and Samuel Etoó. A poor moment of defending from Carl Jenkinson when he tried to head the ball back to Szczesny was calamitous, as his opposite number, Spanish international Cesar Azpilicueta slotted the ball home to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Arsenal looked lackluster throughout and lacked firepower upfront, with Bendtner plying the lone striker role. Mesut Ozil was bought on, but Juan Mata struck a beautiful second goal to send Chelsea to the 5th round.
3. Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa, Premier League, Emirates Stadium, 17th August 2013
(Arsenal – Giroud 6; Aston Villa – Benteke 22, 61 (pen), Luna 85)
Arsenal got off to the worst possible start in the new Premier League season, losing at home to an average Aston Villa side. Despite a bunch of debutantes, Aston Villa were made to look like a superior side on an error-strewn afternoon. However, it was the Gunners who had the better start, Olivier Giroud tapping home the opener past Brad Guzan in just the 6th minute. A physical battle ensued, as both sides looked to play ugly. Agbonlahor and Benteke were causing many problems for Arsenal’s defensive pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny, and the Villains equalized on 22 minutes, when Agbonlahor was bought down by Szczesny. Benteke missed, but scored off the rebound. Both sides had some opportunities, clear and tough to take the lead, but no one did till Villa in the 61st minute. Koscielny was harshly adjudged to have bought down Agbonlahor, and this time Benteke made no mistake in dispatching the penalty. Minutes later, matters became worse as Koscielny was sent off, and Antonio Luna made it 3-1 to the visitors, as Arsenal poured men forward in search of an equalizer.
2. Arsenal 1-3 Bayern Munich, Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg, Emirates Stadium, 19th February 2013
(Arsenal – Podolski 55; Bayern Munich – Kroos 7, Mueller 21, Mandzukic 77)
Arsenal’s season was in the doldrums at this stage. Already out of the title race, been knocked out by lowly Bradford in the League cup and an ouster from the FA Cup by Championship side Blackburn just 3 days earlier; they faced powerful Bayern Munich. Bayern were steamrollering their way to the Bundesliga title, 18 points of second placed Borussia Dortmund, a goal difference of 50 (It would be 80 at the end of the season), 7 clean sheets in a row, and a perfect squad with the right mix of German talent and foreign skill. That difference told as Bayern dominated a lackluster Arsenal side, taking a 2-0 lead with just 21 minutes gone. Arsenal briefly rallied, with Podolski managing to head home a goal in the 55th minute against his former employers. Olivier Giroud had a great chance to make it 2-2 but his shot could only strike the post. Bayern completed the job with a Mandzukic goal on 77 minutes.
1. Arsenal 0-1 Blackburn Rovers, FA Cup 5th Round, Emirates Stadium, 16th February 2013
(Blackburn – Kazim-Richards 72)
Blackburn became the second lower league club of the season to knock Arsenal out of a cup competition, when they visited the Emirates for this fifth round tie. Despite a squad boasting off 11 internationals, Arsenal failed to find the urgency and the desire required to win cup games. There was a lethargic feel to their play, and Blackburn defended resolutely. Goalkeeper Jake Kean was in inspired form. When the manager did make the changes by bringing Walcott, Wilshere and Cazorla on, Blackburn struck within a minute of those substitutions as Colin Kazim Richards put the ball into the back of the net, completely against the run of play. Arsenal barely made any inroads into the Rovers’ defence and were deservedly knocked out. According to BBC, the team was given a one hour hairdryer treatment after the game by the manager.
Jai Arsenal 🙂
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