We had a question on yesterday’s Arsecast Extra about the last direct free kick we had scored, and thanks to Harvey Downes at Opta, we got the answer we couldn’t come up with.
We've gone exactly 100 games in all competitions without a direct free-kick goal (since Ødegaard's v Burnley in Sep 2021), failing to score with any of our last 41 attempts. We haven't had a single DFK attempt yet in our 12 games this season.
— Harvey Downes (@HarveyDownes92) October 16, 2023
As Arsenal news is short on the ground, I thought today’s post might just look back at some excellent free kicks that Arsenal have taken and that I have been able to remember – no mean feat given how absurdly bad my memory is of late.
Lez – as a wise man might say on his way back from the Trademark Office – Doo Dis!
Thierry Henry v Wigan
How pleasing is this, on so many levels?
- The distance – it’s miles out
- The crack off the post before the ball goes in
- Thierry turning to have a little pop at the obnoxious Graham Poll
- That being his 16th goal in his previous 14th league appearances
- We won 3-2, and Pascal Cygan played left-back
There were lots more to choose from when it comes to Thierry. The Juventus curler, the one against Roma in the Champions League (did that seal his hat-trick in the blue away kit?), Newcastle at home where the ball hit the bar and went in, the curler against Charlton. So, so many.
Santi Cazorla v Hull
2-0 down in the FA Cup final to Hull, and it could have been 3-0. To say the day wasn’t going to plan is an understatement of epic proportions. Then we get a free kick, up stepped Santi to score a goal which sparked a comeback that saw us end the trophy drought.
Those celebrations still live long in the memory. No floor has ever been stickier than The Tollington that night.
Also, not only did it win us the cup, without it we’d never have had this piece of Internet awesomeness.
Robin van Persie v Sunderland
Whatever you think of Robin van Persie these days, there’s no question that he could strike a football. I don’t think his free kick record was particularly good or efficient, but when they went in, they really went in.
This one against Sunderland had my most favourite thing – the ball going in off the underside of the crossbar. If you close your eyes and imagine it being scored by someone who didn’t turn out to be a wanker, it’s even better.
Robert Pires v Liverpool
What do I need to say here? Dreamy Robert, against the Mugsmashers, top corner, keeper barely moves (I seem to recall this being Dudek’s default approach to lots of free kicks)?
Hook it to my veins etc.
Mikel Arteta v Aston Villa
I think I was at this game, but I remember it more because afterwards Arsene Wenger was asked about the finish, and started talking about Arteta’s tiny feet as the reason for the trajectory on the ball. I can’t find the quotes now, but that’s definitely what he said. I couldn’t have dreamed it.
It’s far too prosaic for one of my dreams.
Cesc Fabregas v Aston Villa
Sorry Villa fans. This was at a time when we were first introduced to the idea of players being in the ‘red zone’. Cesc started this game on the bench, was introduced as a sub in the 57th minute, replacing Denilson. He scored twice, including that excellent free kick, then twanged his already stretched hammy and had to go off in the 84th minute with Aaron Ramsey replacing him.
No doubt I’ve missed more than a few, so if you can find footage of any that doesn’t look like it was filmed by a man standing under a blanket with a hand-cranked camera, feel free to post them in the Arses.
For now, have a good one.