It's pretty clear that this season hasn't gone the way we all thought it might, or the way we all wanted it to, back in August when this all got rolling again. In a lot of ways, this has been one of the more frustrating seasons in recent memory, for a lot of reasons, none of which I want to rehash here because we all know them, and at least I am tired of talking about them.
And it's because I'm tired of talking about them that I wanted to do this post. We have spent so much time focusing on the negative, particularly recently, that we have started to forget that sports are supposed to be, you know, fun. It's entertainment, it's escape, and it's ultimately meaningless in the grand scheme of things. When our escape doesn't play well, it's hard to remember that.
So I wanted to ask both the TSF staff and all of you out there in TSFLand a simple question: What has made you happy about Arsenal this year? It could be an entire game, a single play, a player, or whatever - but I want to hear only the positives. If your answer is "not much", please refrain from participating in this thread and go on about your day.
I don't want backhanded swipes at transfer strategies, I don't want snark about what could have been - I want your moments of joy from this season, because there have been some, and I think we're too quick to forget that in all the unpleasantness of another season that hasn't lived up to expectations.
So let's go: what has made you happy about Arsenal this season? Thanks for asking, me! I'll start:
For me, there are two, both in October. The wins over Manchester United and Bayern Munich, who at the time had only lost one game all season up to that point, were huge for both morale - as Arsenal continued to shake off the "Can't Win At Old Trafford" narrative - and for Arsenal's season up to that point, with the Bayern win revitalizing a campaign that had stalled after two surprising defeats.
They were both solid wins, with the United win coming on the back of two goals in just over a minute from Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Özil, and watching them tear apart United was a perfect tonic after the midweek loss to Olympiakos.
MESUT ÖZIL IS A BEAUTIFUL WONDERFUL LIFE GIVING ANGEL— ben (@beardyblue) February 7, 2015
No, but seriously. Watching Mesut go on a screeching tear in the fall and listening to morons like Neil Ashton have to eat their words about him was unbelievably satisfying this year. I love him dearly and hope he can still break the assist record. He makes my heart sing.
Easy answer is the flurry of goals against United, but for me it's the fact that Leicester will likely win the league yet the only club to have gotten the better of them was Arsenal. The 5-2 win at Leicester would've been plenty enough but the dramatic last-second Danny Welbeck winner at home was about as loud as I've cheered this season and it genuinely gave me hope that it would be the turning point. Shame that it never was.
Ah, the annual practice of combing through the regret for the moments of light. I hatelove it.
There are plenty of highlights to reach back for. The NLD win in September. Five goals againist Leicester. The 3-0 win over United. Beating Bayern. For me though, I think my favorite spell, the happiest I was was the 3-0 win over Olympiakos to get out of the Champions League group stage through Giroud's hat trick.
For as much pressure as Arsenal were under to undo the losses to Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb, they certainly delivered. And while it wasn't a full reclamation, to have Giroud as the point man for the win at least exorcised a fraction of the demons from Monaco a year prior. I said a fraction...
Certainly, Arsenal's post-Christmas offerings have rubbed the luster off of that one. But I think it was the peak of the season and the game after which I felt the most optimism.
Welbeck's goal, and then my watching it probably two hundred times in Spanish.
So, that's a few of the writers' thoughts. What about you? In a disappointing season so far, what moment, player, or game has actually brought you joy?