Happy Christmas from It's MY Arsenal Opinion
The cancellation of Boxing Day football for Arsenal is a welcome thing for me. I don't like going to matches on Boxing Day and any game kicking off after midday (do you remember when we used to kick off early at Christmas?) means I definitely won't be attending. As such I was already not going to the West Ham game. Thankfully London Underground have exercised their democratic rights to industrial action and forced the hand of the relevant authorities. If Islington Council hadn't closed off every road in the borough to matchday parking then it wouldn't be a problem, so I blame (thank?) them! Because of the postponement there is no match preview to write today.
This time last season we were already aware that a deal to bring back Thierry Henry was all but done, giving us even more to celebrate during Christmas. This year Liverpool have already shown that you need not wait for January to start before strengthening the squad. Sadly things do not work like that at Arsenal. After all, this is a place where people who work for less than three hours per day don't have time to discuss contracts etc. Obviously there will be no movement in or out of the Club over the next four or five days so feel free to pay even less notice than usual to the "gossip" in the newspapers - they have space to fill at Christmas, too.
As is traditional I would like to sum up how things have gone for this blog over the course of the past year. When I wrote on this day in 2011 I noted that the site had seen nearly 300,000 hits. As I write today that figure has gone past 600,000. It is really quite astounding that the nonsense I write has been seen by so many. This year has seen a reduction in output from me as a change in my shift roster has made less time available for writing. This change has also seen me attend fewer games than I would wish too, thought I still get to the vast majority of home fixtures. In the last four months the numbers reading individual posts has dropped considerably. I don't know if this is because the writing is less regular or if people are just fed up with the poor quality of it. It may be that there is a larger pro-Wenger group than I realise and they have no wish to read me ranting over his failings again and again. I do try to not say the same things over and over again but the performance of the team largely dictates what I have to say. Whatever the reasons, I hope that those of you who do check in regularly are enjoying it and that what I say is at least occasionally thought provoking. I would love for more people to comment on the stuff I write, whether it be on the site itself or on Facebook (It's MY Arsenal Opinion) or Twitter (@ARSENALDvbrisG).
There have been a few highs and far too many lows for Arsenal across the year of 2012. There are three moments in the year that stick out for me as "I was there" moments. Obviously there have been many wins and more than a few defeats, but it's the ones that stick out that I really want to write about here.
The first of these, and the lowest point for me, has to be the defeat at Bradford. We'd seen some awful displays from this Arsenal team against Norwich, Man Utd, Swansea etc. However, to be comprehensively outplayed by a team from the fourth division was utterly humiliating. They say it's darkest just before dawn. Let's hope that things get no darker for a long time to come.
The second moment to stand out for me was the return of The King. When that ball hit the net against Leeds the new stadium seemed maybe more homely than it ever had before. You wouldn't think a late goal, after another insipid display, against lower league opponents could draw such emotion. Some things are just meant to be, I suppose, and that goal from Thierry Henry was one of my favourite moments ever watching Arsenal.
The final special moment was the 5-2 win over Tottenham in February. At 2-0 down after 40 minutes it was over. The game, the season, maybe even the Manager were all finished. What followed was to be one of those days that provide the reason for going to football. Walcott finally announced himself as an Arsenal player with a second-half that tore Tottenham to shreds. Tomas Rosicky rediscovered that he is a top player and inspired those around him in one of the finest examples of attacking football you'll ever see. The celebrations of the fifth goal will live long in the memory for me.
Any chance of a trophy Father Christmas?
I hope that you all enjoy the most wonderful Christmas and I look forward to a 2013 that will see us finally sign a couple of top quality players, and end up at Wembley with a trophy - whether that be the FA Cup or, shock of shocks, the European Cup.