The best and worst of Arsenal’s 2006/2007 Season
It has been a little while coming and I decided to take slightly different slant on things than originally planned, but here is my review of Arsenal’s 2006/2007 season. The review will focus on some of the most memorable moments of Arsenal’s season with the intention of being a bit more entertaining than analytical. For a review more along those lines it is hard to go past the one provided by Arseblog and you can read that here. But in the meantime, enjoy some of the best (and worst) moments of the past season in this trip down memory lane.
Best Player: Gilberto Silva. The Brazilian has enjoyed one of his best seasons since joining the club. Took up the responsibility as captain as well as penalty taker in Thierry Henry’s absence and did not disappoint, scoring 10 goals altogether. Improved his passing and an increased presence in the middle gave Cesc Fabregas licence to roam.
Runner-Up: Cesc Fabregas.
Most Disappointing Player: Julio Baptista. Hard to go past the big Brazilian after such an up-and-down ride. Scored a hat-trick against Spurs and put four past Liverpool in consecutive FA Cup games but consistently missed chances in the Premiership. Add to this the fact that his touch and link-up play was almost non-existent in comparison to previous years at Sevilla and Real Madrid and he goes down as a big let-down.
Runner-Up: Emmanuel Eboue.
Best Team Performance: Reading 0-4 Arsenal. Evidence that when the side get it right, the results can be phenomenal. Henry scored a stunner in the first minute and from then on it was a virtuoso Arsenal performance with Robin van Persie and Alexander Hleb both scoring fine goals before Henry wrapped it up from the penalty spot. Three of the goals were due to fine team passing movements and the defence stood firm at the other end to keep a clean sheet.
Runner-Up: Arsenal 6-2 Blackburn.
Worst Team Performance: Sheffield United 1-0 Arsenal. The Gunners were outplayed by Sheffield in the first half and deservedly conceded in the 41st minute through a Christian Nade strike. Arsenal couldn’t even score against regular outfield player Phil Jagielka who was put into goals for the final 15 minutes after an injury to Paddy Kenny. An embarrassing performance that should never have occurred.
Runner-Up: Newcastle 0-0 Arsenal.
Best Individual Performance: Emmanuel Adebayor v Manchester United (1-0). This was the game and the performance that has convinced me that Adebayor has a big future at Arsenal. Arsenal went into the game without Henry or van Persie and Adebayor had a big job to play as a lone striker against the eventual champions. His movement and endeavour was absolutely superb and he was involved in most of Arsenal’s best chances, winning the penalty that Gilberto had saved before scoring a last minute winner to cap a brilliant game.
Runner-Up: Robin van Persie v Blackburn.
Best Team Goal: Robin van Persie v Wigan.
Runner-Up: Mathieu Flamini v Chelsea.
Best Individual Goal: Robin van Persie v Charlton.
Runner-Up: Tomas Rosicky v Hamburg.
Best Free-Kick: Robin van Persie v Fulham.
Runner-Up: Thierry Henry v Newcastle.
Best Moment: Thierry Henry’s late winner against Manchester United. After an even first half Arsenal fell behind to a Wayne Rooney goal before Robin van Persie levelled in the 83rd minute. The scene was set for a remarkable finish and Henry didn’t disappoint, spectacularly heading home a perfect Emmanuel Eboue cross three minutes into injury time to lift the roof off the Emirates and do the double over their bitter rivals.
Runner-Up: Theo Walcott’s opener against Chelsea in the Carling Cup Final. The young Arsenal side was absolutely superb against Chelsea and took the lead after 12 minutes through Walcott’s first goal for the club. It signals the start of a great career and the promise of much to come from not only Walcott, but the likes of Denilson and Abou Diaby as well.
Worst Penalty Kick: Gilberto Silva v Bolton.
Runner-Up: Julio Baptista v Bolton.
Worst Moment: PSV defender Alex’s late header to knock Arsenal out of the Champions League. Arsenal had peformed relatively well throughout the tie against PSV but were made to rue their missed opportunities when Alex’s header flew into the net late on at the Emirates past a slipping Jens Lehmann. It was a heartbreaking finish to a tense game.
Runner-Up: Michael Essien’s wonder-strike at Stamford Bridge to deny Arsenal their first win over Jose Mourinho. Although Arsenal were fortunate to be in front through Mathieu Flamini’s well worked opener, Chelsea were struggling to find the net until Essien’s improbable strike late on. It broke Arsenal’s resolve and strengthened Chelsea, and the Blues nearly went on to win the match.
Most Frustrating Game: Arsenal 0-1 West Ham. The club’s first loss at Emirates Stadium bordered on ridiculous after Arsenal had 30 shots on goal (15 on target) to West Ham’s six. Needless to say, West Ham scored with their only decent effort and supporters were left frustrated beyond explanation.
Runner-Up: Arsenal 0-0 CSKA Moscow
Best Goalkeeping Save: Jens Lehmann v Manchester United. On first viewing it looks a routine stop but the replays showed that Lehmann’s fingertip save from Ole Gunner Solskjaer is one of the best you’ll ever see. It kept the score at 1-0 and secured the win at Old Trafford.
Best New Player: Tomas Rosicky. Although his first season at the club was spoiled somewhat by injury, Rosicky has shown enough touches of class to suggest that he is now irreplaceable at Arsenal when fit. Scored six goals in all competitions and is one of the only players at the club consistently willing to shoot from distance.
Runner-Up: Denilson. Was a surprise signing in August and has not started many games, but looks an exciting talent. Denilson’s determination and flair was on show during Arsenal’s excellent Carling Cup campaign and the signs are good that he will be part of the club’s midfield for years to come.
Best Cross: Emmanuel Eboue for Thierry Henry v Manchester United.
Runner-Up: Emmanuel Eboue for Thierry Henry v FC Porto.
Worst Goal Celebration: Thierry Henry and Emmanuel Adebayor’s awful sideline dance. Let’s just hope they’re bored of it by next season.
Worst Miss: Tomas Rosicky v CSKA Moscow
Runner-Up: Abou Diaby & Julio Baptista v Bolton
So there you have it. If you don’t agree with what I’ve said feel free to leave your comments and if you think I’ve missed something out that just has to be included then contact me here and I’ll probably add it in.
Read previous columns by Spanish Fry here