So here we are folks, the final day of 2016. What a year. It more or less began with the death of David Bowie, and after that all bets were off.
I think it’s a year many of us will be glad to see the back of in the vain hope that 2017 can’t possibly be any worse, but I’m afraid the rise of rampant wankerism will continue unabated. I guess it’s up to us to do what we can to make the world a better place. Little things can have big ripples.
Anyway, I thought – as I’m a glutton for punishment – we might relive some of the best moments of 2016 from an Arsenal point of view. I know, I know, but while not winning the league remains a continual disappointment, not everything that’s good about football boils down to trophies.
They are great, but if that’s all you’re interested in then you’d best be prepared for being miserable about it all the time. As you read around on this great world wide web of ours, this digital Library of Alexandria full of information, truth, and sagacity, you’d get the impression that some people don’t like anything about Arsenal, or football, at all.
– What did you do today, Dad?
– I waited for an Arsenal related article to be published on a website and then pushed to my Facebook feed and I left a hilariously snarky comment based on the headline alone without even reading the piece, LOOOOOOLLL!!!
– You’re my hero, Dad.
– Shut up, you fraud of son.
Anyway, without further ado, some highlights of 2016 from my very personal point of view. Please feel free to chip in with your own in the arses.
The Danny Welbeck goal against Leicester
I was there. It was brilliant. It looked like we weren’t going to win and then we did, in the very last seconds. Danny Welbeck, on as a substitute and making his first appearance since the previous April, rose high to nod home a Mesut Ozil free kick.
Arsenal 2, Leicester 1, and everyone went mental. It felt huge. It felt significant. It felt like it was the goal that would reignite our title challenge. Which just goes to show you feelings are a load of absolute bollocks, but at the time it was brilliant.
And it also provided us this wonderful medley of commentary from around the world.
The final day of the season
Look, I think we can all state without too much uncertainty that the season as a whole was profoundly disappointing. Leicester winning the league was like a footballing portent of doom, and we blew our chance of the title in woeful fashion. On top of all that was the fact that Sp*rs looked like they were going to finish above us in the Premier League for the first time since the dinosaurs.
This was the league table going the final day:
All they had to do was avoid defeat to relegated Newcastle at St James Park. Instead they went there and gave us a masterclass in bottling. As bad as we might be, this was off the scale. There were regular bottles, magnums, jereboams, methuselahs, and even a few jam jars thrown in for good measure.
They got humped 5-1. 5-1! Meanwhile, an Olivier Giroud hat-trick, his first goals for months, helped us to defeat Aston Villa 4-0. St Totteringham’s Day had arrived, as late as a Danny Welbeck winner, and if you didn’t laugh then you’re dead inside because, you know, it happened again.
Arteta’s tearful goodbye
Yes, his legs had gone, but in the five years he spent at the club, he made a real connection. When you consider the absolute shit-storm he arrived into, I think his influence is often overlooked. He’s never going to go down as one of the true legends, nor as one of the greatest players ever, but what he was was a very good player with experience and intelligence who helped steady the ship and sail us towards calmer waters.
We should never have been where we were when he was signed, but along with Per Mertesacker he became an integral part of the team which helped bring back silverware after so long. Two huge signings, in my opinion, and when his time was up he knew it.
Denied a goal on the final day by busybodies, I like to remember that 4th against Villa as his. He stayed on the pitch, cried real tears, and said:
I can’t even talk. I feel very honoured to play for this club and captain this place. This club is class and once you are here you never forget it.
It was a nice way to say goodbye to the Lego-haired hunk.
Arsene Wenger 20
I get he’s not everyone’s favourite man, but there’s no doubt he’s created a legacy at this club and brought us some of the best footballing moments of our lives. I wrote about his milestone here.
Andrew Allen put together this brilliant 20 moments from 20 years piece over on Arseblog News.
Beating Chelsea 3-0
Ok, it was a performance to relish, but watching it at 12pm, beer in hand, with loads of New York Gooners was just superb. The atmosphere in the Barleycorn bar was amazing, people were loving the way we played, and it was celebratory.
It was also made even more enjoyable by the fact we were over there to do a live Arsecast the next day, and while we were all enjoying the match, James was stuck in a taxi.
Also, Diego Costa got unfathomably angry, and even now as I think about it, it makes me laugh. I mean, look at him! Sure, he might be having the last laugh at the moment with his stupid scoring all the time for his stupid winning all the time team, but still. Dead inside etc etc.
Another calendar year of podcasts has gone by, and we’ve done a couple of live events – one in New York, as mentioned above, and one in London. They’re always great fun to do, to meet and chat with people before and after, and we’ll definitely do more in 2017.
A big thanks to everyone who comes along and buys tickets, the support is greatly appreciated.
That Ozil goal
It’s 2-2 in Bulgaria, Mohamed Elneny plays a pass to Mesut Ozil who has stayed onside. Words don’t do it justice, so you’ll have to just watch it instead.
Breathtaking. Unquestionably the Arsenal goal of 2016 for me, and it’s right up there with the best anyone has scored this year.
Also, someone made this brilliant wallpaper of the goal. Have tried to find out who, so if anyone knows or if the person who made it is reading, let me know and I’ll make sure they’re credited.
For all the work we do here on the site, it would mean nothing without all of you. So once again, thanks for reading, listening, commenting, and everything else. If I could beg your indulgence on a couple of things, that’d be great.
1 – Our business model isn’t that great really, when you think about it. We make a lot of stuff every day and give it away for free, so we are reliant on advertising and sponsors. If you use an ad-block, please whitelist us, and we promise we won’t do pop-ups, autoplay videos or anything like that. If you see that kind of an ad, get in touch, and we’ll get it blocked, because we hate them too.
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So, to conclude, I’d like to wish you and yours a very happy, prosperous and healthy 2017. Let’s hope Arsenal can give us something to enjoy as well.
See you next year. Peace and love.