Arsenal, 2009/2010 – the good, the better and the pretty.

May 18, 2010 11 Comments by Sian

You know when you go on holiday to Disney World and you get to the gate at the front and there’s a perky blonde dressed up as Polly Pocket going “Hi guys! Welcome to Disney! Would you wonderful people like a photo to remember your special day by?”

And you’re like “No, it’s my first day here and I still look like I’ve just stepped out of the fridge and I’d like you to leave me alone in my miserable sarky Britishness please, and stop being so frighteningly happy. It’s early.”

And then she’s like “Oh well, never mind, there’s plenty of photo opportunities in the park! Y’all have a great day now!”

And you’re like “I want to go home where it rains and people are openly hostile and never wish you a good day…”

Well, imagine you are the miserable, bumbag-wearing Brit and I am Polly Pocket, if you will. You are all feeling pretty downcast about it being the end of the season and having to shortly try and put aside your downright dislike for John Terry and Ashley ‘I could never play in another shirt in England but Arsenal, OOH MONEY, I loooove Chelseeeeeea’ Cole.

You are trying to forget that we ended the season empty handed, but are failing miserably. You are also trying to ignore the incessant newspaper reports that batter away at your heart, detailing things like the proposed victory parade by FC Barcelona, where they will take to Las Ramblas going “Cesc Bomb, Cesc Bomb, he’s our Cesc Bomb” before any final decision has been made regarding our current captain’s future because hello, they’re FC Barcelona and they can do stuff like that. They can also treat you like a professional bomb-maker on your way into their badly-designed take-your-own-bog-roll-into-the-toilet-or-drip-dry stadium even though Arsenal fans are probably the best behaved fans in England, because hello they’re FC Barcelona. They can also charge 70 euro a ticket for a seat situated roughly 1.5km above pitch level even though it DOESN’T EVEN HAVE A BLOODY ROOF because hello, they’re…

You see what I’m getting at. You’re in a bad mood. I am here to remedy the situation. I won’t ask you incessantly if you’re having a super-duper-awesome time every five minutes, but I am going to take up my place in trying to cheer you up.

See, the end of this season was a damp squib. Hopes and dreams broken about as easily as anything that comes into contact with Ryan Shawcross’s foot, and left to battle it out for third place right up until the last day of the season. It seems like our club motto has changed from “Victoria Concordia Crescit” to “Nextus Seasonus Fingers Crossedus”.

But when the clouds above are gloomy it’s difficult to remember that there is a huge smiling sun beyond who keeps us all nourished and watered in her warmth. There were mini smiling suns that kept us going throughout the season. I think it’ll be a fun exercise (oh ew, I really am Polly) to look back on those moments in the season and bask in their glory.

I’m not stupid, I know there are issues that need to be dealt with over the summer but I’ve read so many blogs on these that they’ve all blended into one. Where is the sense in adding to the already wide-ranging selection?

So here we have it, guys, a nice way to round off this season’s blogging: The Upsides to 2009/2010. I feel it’s important for me to also try and fit some of our favourite songs into the points as well. See if you can spot them.

16th September 2009: Standard Liege 2 – 3 Arsenal

Not so much a brilliant result (innit, I mean… ‘oo?) but the circumstances in which it came about. I’m not entirely sure if Mannone was in goal because Almunia was ‘injured’ or if it was because he was injured, but Mannone began his first first-team match of the season for us in a spectacularly dire way. Not that it was his fault. A complete cock-up by Eduardo had the Belgian team 1-0 ahead after… I dunno, like a minute? And then about 30 seconds later William Gallas fouled… someone who plays for Standard Liege to hand them a penalty which either that same someone or a different someone who also played for Liege went on to convert into a second goal. Bollocks.

But then because we are by far the greatest team the world has ever seen, we turned it all around. Nicklas Bendtner scored us our first goal just before half time, then Thomas Vermaelen got in an equaliser a couple of minutes before Eduardo put us ahead for the first time that match to finish off the game 3-2. Phew. Both a long final sentence AND an intense match. We then beat them 2-0 in the return leg at Highbury. That’ll learn ‘em.

 4th October 2009: Arsenal 6 – 2 Blackburn Rovers

Eeeee, this was a fun match. Not just saying that to wind up my parents who were away in Canada thus missing their only match of the season, either. Started out as a normal day. Trudged on into the ground on one of those “It’s only September so I’m not wearing a coat but I do wish I was wearing a coat as it’s quite chilly” days. We thought it would be a decent enough match, but nothing out of the ordinary. When suddenly…

Waiting for the teams to come out, Paul the Announcer dude announced that he had an important announcement to make: “And now for a very special announcement, ladies and gentlemen please welcome a true Arsenal legend…”

And we’re all thinking “Ooh, who could it be, who could it be?” I guarantee you not one of us expected the name that then came out of Paul’s mouth: “… Thierry Henry!”

There was an audible “*gasp* You what? It aint! Is it? It bloody is!” And out came Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, we got Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry, Thierry Henry…

Bless his cottons, he looked a wee bit embarrassed but we all know that he loved it really. Our seats gave us good view of Thierry in his box throughout the match but, bless the Emirates crowd, no one else really noticed. When they did, choruses of “You’ll always be a Gooner…” rang out through the stadium.

Oh yeah, onto the match. We went down 0-1 first because we’re Arsenal and we just lurve to do that. Vermaelen equalised minutes later before David Dunn made it 1-2 to Rovers shortly after. We were not amused. Next on the scoresheet was Andrey Arshavin, Cesc Fabregas (who kissed his badge), Theo Walcott and Nicklas Bendtner. A goaly day was had by all.

31st October 2009: Arsenal 3 – 0 Tottenham Hotspur

Really don’t want to stoop to their level but this was a funny match. Made all the funnier by various Spurs squad members mouthing off about the gap being closed between the two teams and then getting twatted on the pitch. Correct, fellas. It is closing. You had a brilliant season and managed to beat us at your home, coming in at a brilliant fourth. Five points off third. Harry Redknapp went on to win Manager of the Year. Ah, bugger it why don’t we make a secondary Premiership trophy and hand them that while we’re at it? Finally, I hear that the w***y Tottenham Hotspur just got back from Rome, where they went to see the Pope. You can guess what he said, and it rhymes with “DUCK OFF!”

(*yes, I struggled to fit the song in with this match)

1st November 2009: Arsenal don’t bring out a DVD about us beating Tottenham Hotspur 3-0

Self-explanatory really. You want to know the difference between the two clubs, besides bucketloads of charm and class? This.

 13th December 2009: Liverpool 1- 2 Arsenal

Liverpool’s favourite nemesis, Andrey Arshavin who is five foot four, he’s five foot fouuuuuurrrrr, we’ve got Arshavin, f*** Adebayorrrrrrr, was back to wreak havoc at Anfield once again. After Dirk Kuyt had put them ahead, Glen Johnson took pity on us after half time and gave us an equaliser before Arshavin got his tiny foot on the end of a shot on goal which whizzed past Pepe Reina. This match will become famous for Cesc’s post-match comments:

The boss screamed. I’ve never seen him like that before. He was really disappointed in the first half and said we didn’t deserve to wear the Arsenal shirt if we played like that. I think he was right.”

It was the 15 minutes that shook the… well, match, at least.

20th January 2010: Arsenal 4 – 2 Bolton Wanderers

Our second match against the cloggers in only one week (thanks to snow) saw us finish at the top of the table, singing “We. Are. Top of the League. Say, we. Are. Top of the League.” Only on goal difference and the others had a game in hand, bla bla bla, WHATEVS. We were top of the league, say we were top of the league, and we didn’t buy our way there.  So up yours, naysayers.

Particularly impressive since we’d gone down 0-2 in the first half as well. Don’t remember how, don’t care how, this is an Arsenal blog (I’d say one of the best traits of it is its complete lack of bias). Rosicky, Cesc, Vermaelen and Arshavin (again), maintained the goaly times and a fun night was had by all.

On another note, this night was the night our next-door neighbours’ smoke alarm went flat and started beeping periodically. Every thirty seconds. They have neglected to bother with changing the batteries. Four months on. Sometimes in the back room, the room where the beeping is the loudest, I find myself rocking back and fourth, reminiscing about the war.

10th February 2010: Arsenal 1 – 0 Liverpool

I don’t exactly remember what it was that made this match so intense but so relieved was I at the final whistle that I burst into tears. I don’t think I was alone either. That well-known Emirate Abu Dhabi, oops, I mean Abou Diaby headed in our only goal of the game but the real excitement came at the end when Cesc handballed a free kick from Steven Gerrard. All I can say is that if Cesc intended to handball that, why is he not our goalkeeper? Excellent reflexes there, young man. Maybe it should have been taken again but it was Divey McOopsydaisy who was wronged there, so any kind of regret referee Howard Webb may have felt for an incorrect decision should be automatically cancelled out. The song I should have put into this post is something about thieving Mums and drug-dealing Dads and please don’t take my hubcaps away. No one needs in-house fighting pre-national tournament so let’s leave it at that.

27th February 2010: Stoke City 1 – 3 Arsenal

This was a match of swings and roundabouts. Obviously on the down side we had the atrocious injury to Aaron Ramsey which all-but took his leg off, and then having to endure the never-ending soak in the tub of self-pity Ryan Shawcross sought to land himself in post-match, but there were also positives to be taken from the game. After conceding to yet another bloody Delap throw-in (his name should become a verb: “Argh, we got Delapped!”), we finally found ourselves at 1-1 courtesy of Bendtner, but struggling.

The thing that struck me most about Aaron’s injury in the second half (besides the ouch factor) was the reaction of the other players. Gael’s was the worst. I remember seeing him in the background of the photos the next day, head in hands looking at Aaron like: “I don’t believe it’s happened again…” Nor could anyone.

Anyway, we came back into it. Cesc went on to score one of the penalties he’s become so brilliant at – this one after seeing a mate break a leg, and another later in the season actually WITH a broken leg. Finally, Thomas Vermaelen who, in the aftermath of Aaron’s injury, looked like he was good for nothing but a right good chuck-up, managed to tap in our third and keep us looking well alive for the title. Oh how naïve we are. 3-1 to the Arsenal, 3-1 to the Arsenal, 3-1 to the Arsenal, and so on and so forth.

9th March 2010: Arsenal 5 – 0 FC Porto

Ah, good times. I wrote my first ever blog post after this match. ‘The Brilliance of Bendtner’, it was called. Super, Super Nick, Super, Super Nick, Super, Super Nick, Super Nicklas Bendtner, scored three goals (count ‘em) to complete the rout against a team who’d managed to beat us 2-1 at their house.

While Nicklas was superb in this match, I’ll remember this match for Samir Nasri’s moment of perfection when he took the ball round half the team on the edge of the penalty area without looking up, to slam his very own goal home. We also had a nice touch of combined Arshavinamazingness and Ebouebrilliance. It was one of those nights where everything was brilliant. But who would we draw next, I hear you wonder? Well, follow me to my next point friends, and all will be revealed…

19th March 2010: Arsenal draw FC Barcelona in the quarter finals of the Champions League

It was the dream draw. Had plenty of people laughing at us when we drew them but I was proper excited, weren’t you as well? Some of the excitement was probably relief at not having drawn Manchester United again, but there can be no denying that the prospect of us against them was a nice one. Let’s not relive the matches again though, eh? In the first twenty minutes Barcelona played the best football they’ve ever played ever and we got to see it. They still could only manage a draw though. *Nan laugh*

In the return leg, we got thrashed 4-1 but that was a flattering scoreline. Also, we got to see a Messi Masterclass that night, probably one that will go down in history. I for one am glad.

Next time we play them, we’ll show them how it’s done. By the way, two men scored their six goals. That’s what I call a comprehensive team effort, right there.  

All season: The resurrection of Eboue

From being slaughtered at the hands of (some) boo-boys last season, to practically enjoying his very own lap of honour at the end of this one, the brilliant character his team-mates always go on about in interviews, is clearly very much present. He isn’t my homeboy but I wish he was. You know you only came to see Eboue.

All season: The successful purchase of Vermaelen

This time last year we all looked at each other confused and went “Oh brilliant, another nobody.” As it turned out, it was one of the purchases of the season. (By that I mean Premiership-wide. Obviously there’s not many to choose from in the Arsenal camp.) He’s tough, he’s strong, he’s jumpy, he scores goals and he has scary (but pretty) eyes. When we start on the hunt for a new captain, he is surely number one choice. He has experience with leadership from his time at Ajax anyway and I can see him being a long-term member of our beautiful club. (WE NEED TO THINK OF A SONG FOR VERMAELEN).

Second half of the season: The reincarnation of Sol

Won’t dedicate too much time to this as pretty much every previous blog post on here has pretty much said the same thing: Sol is the man (in fact he’s a Sollllmaaaannn doo-do-do-doo, doo-do-do-doo). Apparently he’s still in talks about a year’s contract extension and I say, Wenger, bite his hand off if he’s prepared to commit!

All season: Brilliance of Song

This season, Alexandre Dmitri Song Billong went from “Yes, he’s good” to “Oh my GOD, he’s amazing!” When Alex Song’s name is not on the list, you panic. When Alex Song’s name is not on the list, the rest of the team panics- as made evident by recent matches lacking a bit of Song action. We’ve only got one Song, but he’s more than enough.

You might have noticed that this blog started off promisingly. It then dipped a bit. I wasn’t trying to do an impression of our season, I promise. It was simply that I got side-tracked by all the Cesc-to-Barca hullabaloo. Who knows if he’ll stay or go. Either way, I’d like us all to remember that our team motto is Victoria Concordia Crescit. While he is a massive part of our team and will always be adored by our fans regardless of his choices this summer, it is not Victoria Concordia Cescit.

10 Comments

  1. Teresa Ranscombe
    2712 days ago

    It’s funny how the really great memories of a season fade so quickly. You just brought them all back. The bit that made me laugh out loud though was the bit about the ladies’ toilets at the Camp Nou. Still, they were about a million times better than the Milan ‘hole in the floor, one cubicle for 2000 fans jobs!

    I could write a blog about ‘European ladies’ loos I have used’ – think it’d catch on?

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2712 days ago

      @Mum Babes you well should! Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Paris… all beautiful cities with s*** loos!

      Reply

  2. Sebinho9
    2712 days ago

    Great work as usual. I agree with all your suggestions. I share your parents’ ire at not seeing the Blackburn game as it was the one I couldn’t go to. To have missed a 6-2 was bad enough but to miss Thierry? Hideous.

    I’d also like to add my own personal highlight from the season: The time I went out to get some drinks at half time and got back inside before the kick off.

    Reply

  3. Alan Ranscombe
    2712 days ago

    Well, well, well. So there were some good bits last season. Come on, Arsene, sort yourself out!

    Reply

  4. White Ox
    2712 days ago

    Great stuff Siany. Too many gooners always focus on the negatives in a season when Arsenal always give us good results, great goals and all round excitement. No we didn’t win a trophy. Boo hoo. What, should we all top ourselves after five years without one? Or maybe we should think of the poor old Fulham fans who’ve never seen their club win one and get some perspective about us.

    For me the Liege game was a massive highlight. Why? At start of the season I bought an Arsenal kit on-line (you can’t just pop down to the local Aussie Arsenal store and buy these kind of things y’know). I agonised over the choice of name on the back (previously there was no choice to be made, Henry 14 please, Bergkamp 10 before that). In the end I chose Eduardo, cult hero, inspiring how he was coming back from injury and likely (I thought) to be at the club long term. So when he scored the winner against Liege I went as mental as I went all season. I wish he could’ve kicked on from there. Sadly I believe his Arsenal career is now at the “hope against hope” stage.

    Anyway I’m banging on. I do that. My point of course is we did improve this season and there was plenty to enjoy. It might not be next season or the one after but Arsenal WILL win again, there WILL be a bus parade and we WILL love it.

    In the meantime I’ll try to work out a song for Tommy V for you. Having been to see the Jersey boys recently and knowing your crush on the Belgianator I’m thinking along the lines of “My Eyes Adored you”. Try singing the name Thomas Vermaelen to the first line of that song. IT WORKS!

    I already have a song for Cesc should he leave (it’s not nasty, I still love him). He was the other candidate to go on the back on my Arsenal shirt but I wondered about his long term commitment. I am very disappointed to awake to the news my fears were correct. Let’s hope he stays.

    Reply

  5. sianyr
    2707 days ago

    @WhiteOx 36 deleted spam comments later, I’m finally replying to your comment!

    That’s the trouble with some Arsenal fans- we forget how good we have it. When times aren’t brilliant (for us, finishing third in the best league in the world!), people get whingey and whiney and forget how lucky we are to be Arsenal fans. I watched the CL final yesterday and my overriding sentiment was “Thank f*** I don’t support this lot”. Dull as dishwater!

    Love the Tommy V song… also heard from someone that singing Alex Song’s full name (Alexandre Dmitri Song Billong) also fits to Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong. Such a musical team.

    Regarding Cesc I think people are being a bit heavy on him, criticising him for kissing his badge, blah blah blah. He’s not gone yet. If he goes, he still loves the club. And if he goes, prepare for an extremely emotional blog post coming your way sometime soon!

    Reply

  6. White Ox
    2704 days ago

    Here Goes as promised…

    To the tune of Frankie Valli’s “My Eyes Adored you”

    “Thomas Vermaelen

    They would never lay a hand on you if you man marked them

    Like a million yards away from goal you still managed to put one past them

    Near post, near post, left foot scorcher”

    I expect that sung loudly around the Emirates next season and all royalties to be sent to White Ox care of Australia. Should reach me easily enough as I think there’s only one of me (thank goodness).

    Reply

    • sianyr
      2699 days ago

      @WhiteOx Well worth waiting for! I’ll try and get it spread amongst the Ems next season ;)

      Reply

  7. Tricia
    2698 days ago

    I just got around to reading this *blushes* But I think its a wonderful blog that wraps up the end of the season.

    Reply

  8. Tricia
    2698 days ago

    Oh and re: Vermaelan’s “scary (but pretty) eyes,” we can’t forget the overall bone structure. And of course his wonderful skills on the pitch too.

    Reply

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