With 2016 coming to an end, we look back at some of the highlights from the year.
St Totteringham’s Day
By the final day of the season, most Gooners had pretty much resigned themselves to the fact that Arsenal were, for the first time under Arsene Wenger, going to finish below our bitter rivals, Spurs.
They were in second after Leicester City more or less romped the league and we were in third. All Spurs had to do was beat Newcastle, who had already been relegated, while all Arsenal could do was win their match against Aston Villa, who had also been sent down to the Championship.
However, as the Gunners continued to bang in the goals, eventually beating Villa 4-0, our rivals did the opposite. Eventually losing by a hilarious scoreline of 5-1 and handing us second place.
Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea
When Chelsea traveled to the Emirates back in September, although most knew we SHOULD get a win against Conte’s side, it wasn’t by any means a forgone conclusion. In fact, Arsenal have a funny habit of screwing up these chances.
So, when we went ahead early via Alexis Sanchez, swiftly followed by Theo Walcott and finally Mesut Ozil, putting the game to bed before the second half had even been played, none of us could quite believe it.
It was a fantastic victory and we played some of the best football for years. The only downside is that we appear to have kick-started Chelsea season.
For years we’ve been looking for the right defensive midfielder. Not an attacking midfielder who’s just been pushed back because we’ve got Mesut Ozil or because he can’t run as much anymore. An attack-minded defensive midfielder who can keep things ticking over in the middle of the park while simultaneously connecting the forwards and bridging the gap between attack and defense.
Is Granit Xhaka that guy?
He’s only 24 and we’ve dared say it before and been wrong, so I’m therefore a little sceptical that the Switzerland international could be the answer to all our problems just yet. But it’s looking good.
Hector Bellerin signs new contract
After speculation that the right-back could either be on his way to rivals Manchester City or back ‘home’ to Barcelona, when he eventually put pen to paper and signed on up until a reported 2023, it was a massive deal.
The defender is only 21 yet one of the best in his position in the Premier League. The fact that Barca probably realise they made a mistake proves this.
The youngster loves London, loves Arsenal and wants to stay for a long team. What more could you want?
Kos becomes captain
Laurent Koscielny being handed the captain’s armband after Per Mertesacker got injured seems to have given the France international a new lease of life. He was always a boss, obviously, but being a real leader and having the rest of the team look up to him seems to have improved him even further.
For me, and many Gooners, he’s the best centreback in the Premier League right now and I can see him going down as an Arsenal legend if Per leaves and he’s handed the armband full time.