2015 has been another roller coaster of a year for Arsenal Football Club although fortunately it’s been better than some.
Although it’s not been without its lows, it saw us win another trophy, the genius that is Mesut Ozil level up and the squad really begin to gel.
It saw the Wenger Out brigade slink into the shadows, only to rear their heads once in a blue moon; Gabriel become a legend for starting a fight with Diego Costa; and Jack Wilshere shout more obscenities about Spurs.
There have been times when I’ve been downright gutted with how the team has performed. Times when I’ve questioned Wenger’s decisions and times when I’ve been hopeful and elated.
Looking back through the months overall, it’s pretty easy to say it’s been a good year.
Here are five of the main moments, which stood out to me in 2015.
1 – Beating Manchester United at Old Trafford
The Red Devils have been a huge stumbling block for us in the past, particularly at the Theatre of Nightmares. Even when we’ve been playing far better, something, some mental brick wall, has always been there, stopping us from winning. Instead, we turn into bumbling idiots and I end up having to bear the brunt of my brother’s (a United fan) self-righteous texts.
I was more nervous about this clash in the FA Cup than I had been in a while. I wanted that second FA Cup trophy. What’s more, is it was Danny Welbeck’s return to his childhood club; a chance to prove to them why he should have been given a place in their starting 11.
A stunning first goal from Monreal was cancelled out by an equalizer from Rooney and an awful feeling for Déjà vu crept over me. In the dying moments, Welbeck put us 2-1 up and secured our progression to the next round.
The moment was huge not just in terms of putting us through to the next stage but it demolished that mental block we had against them, which we proved when they came to visit us this season.
2 – Winning the FA Cup
Although it wasn’t quite as nail-biting as the previous season, beating Aston Villa 4-0 at Wembley was another huge achievement. Wenger became the most successful manager in the history of the FA Cup and we won our sixth trophy for the competition.
The comfortable win showed how we’ve learnt how to cope under pressure because although we should have beaten Villa, in the past, on such a stage, we might not have.
The victory marked the ongoing success and a platform for things to come.
3 – Buying Petr Cech
I, for one, was thrilled when we signed the Chelsea goalkeeper. The Blues, or more importantly Mourinho, had missed a trick and benched the man, despite him still being more than capable between the sticks, which he’s proven for us.
Although the opening game of the season was a bit of a disaster, the goalkeeper soon showed his worth and against Liverpool pulled off some unreal saves.
Fast-forward to halfway through the season and the Czech international has broken David James’ record for the most clean sheets ever in the Premier League.
Add to this the fact that he’s also a fantastic bloke behind the scenes and multiple players have hailed his professionalism and communication skills and he’s a real asset.
4 – Beating Olympiacos
Our 3-0 away win to Olympiacos was crucial. We were down but not quite out of the Champions League after a terrible opening couple of games and if we didn’t win by a two-goal margin, we were out.
We went to Greece and not only won by two goals, we won by three. We blew them out the water.
The importance of this win shouldn’t be over-simplified. Of course, progressing to the knock-out stages of the Champions League is great, even if we are facing Barcelona, but the real importance is the spirit it gave our team.
We showed we could fight back against anyone and beat all the odds. We deserve our place in Europe.
Although us beating Bayern at home was also great, the victory against Olympiacos wins in my opinion.
5 – Victory over Manchester City
Another win, which was huge for us, was the recent victory over Manchester City. Our cold feet when it comes to big teams seems to have completely gone and we’ve beaten what the bookies believe are our main rivals.
If the team can start believing we’re in the running, we will be.
I also feel Mesut Ozil’s metamorphosis into Demi-God should be acknowledged, even though it’s not really a ‘moment’. The midfielder is a complete genius and, as Wenger said, is the focal point of our team now.
Here’s to an even better 2016.