Thomas Swan has been an avid fan of the English Premier League and European football for more than 25 years.
The Season's 10 Best Moments
Arsenal finished 4th in the 2012-13 Premier League with 73 points. It was a slightly disappointing campaign with calamitous exits to Blackburn and Bradford in the Cup competitions. The club exited the Champions League in the round of 16 against Bayern Munich, and were almost denied a place in following season's competition by an ever-improving Spurs side.
Despite this lack of achievement, there were some memorable moments and pleasant surprises to satiate the fans' need for drama and delight. The following is a review of the best moments from Arsenal's 2012-13 season.
1. The impact of Santi Cazorla
Arsenal signed Santi Cazorla from cash-strapped Malaga on August 7th 2012. The fee was an estimated 16 million pounds. He made an immediate impact, claiming man of the match in his debut against Sunderland. He soon scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win at Anfield.
Cazorla went on to score 12 goals and make 16 assists in 48 matches. This included a wonderful hatrick in a 5-2 demolition of Reading, and a haul of 4 assists against Wigan. The video showcases the exploits of this little magician.
Santi Cazorla's first season
2. The performance at Anfield
On September 2nd 2012, Arsenal traveled to meet Liverpool in the Premier League. The all-round team performance was spectacular, with Abou Diaby powering through the midfield on several occasions. We all knew Diaby was capable of this level of skill, but his frequent injuries had prevented a consistent showing. Arsenal cruised to a comfortable 2-0 win with goals from Podolski and Cazorla.
Abou Diaby vs Liverpool
3. Beating Reading 7-5
On October 30th, one of the most exciting Carling Cup matches of all time was played at Reading's Madejski stadium. Including extra time, twelve goals were scored over the course of the match. Arsenal were 4-0 down after 37 minutes before a sensational comeback began. Walcott netted a hatrick, Chamakh got two, and Giroud and Koscielny also scored as Reading's defense fell to pieces.
All 12 goals in Arsenal vs Reading
4. Beating Spurs 5-2 again
Less than a year earlier, Arsenal had annihilated Tottenham 5-2 in a season changing encounter. On November 17th 2012, the same exact scoreline was repeated again. Suspected spy, Emmanuel Adebayor, dutifully got himself sent off for an atrocious high tackle on Santi Cazorla.
Before being dismissed, Adebayor had given Spurs an early lead. Mertesacker then equalized with an emphatic header before goals from Podolski and Giroud gave the Gunners a 3-1 half time lead. Two more goals from Cazorla and Walcott completed the rout.
5. Theo Walcott's hatrick against Newcastle
On December 29th, Theo Walcott struck a hatrick in a 7-3 thrashing of Newcastle at the Emirates stadium. Giroud scored twice in the match, with Oxlade Chamberlain and Podolski adding to the tally. The match will be remembered for Walcott's final goal. Somehow he wriggled through 3 challenges before expertly chipping the goalkeeper to conclude a stunning solo effort (video).
Walcott vs Newcastle
6. The arrival of Nacho Monreal
After the disastrous form of Andre Santos and a long term injury to Keiran Gibbs, Wenger was forced to buy a left back in the January transfer window. He had been monitoring Nacho Monreal for several months and was planning to buy the player in the summer.
On January 31st 2013, Monreal was signed for 8.5 million from Malaga. As Spain's 2nd choice left back, he was a welcome addition in the eyes of many Arsenal fans.
On his debut against Stoke, Arsenal kept a clean sheet and won the match 1-0. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win at Swansea on March 16th 2013. Coming in the 74th minute, it was a vital goal to open to scoring.
Monreal's 1st goal for Arsenal
7. The return of Jack Wilshere
After 14 months out injured, Jack Wilshere returned to first team football on October 27th, and went on to become Arsenal's best player over the next 4 months.
His efforts included a goal in the 1-0 win against Swansea in the FA Cup. However, Wilshere's dribbling and acceleration while in possession were what stunned many football fans. He made numerous driving runs through opposition midfields and was always able to produce quick, intelligent passes. In particular, he shined against Swansea and Liverpool at the Emirates. The video below is a compilation of his efforts this season.
Jack Wilshere in the 2012/13 season
8. Beating Bayern Munich 2-0
On March 13th 2013, Arsenal traveled to Germany to meet Bayern Munich in the 2nd leg of the Champions League knockout round. The team were trailing 3-1 after the first leg. They put in a fantastic effort, defeating the Germans 2-0 on their own turf with goals from Giroud and Koscielny. Before this encounter, Bayern had won 16 games in a row and were unbeaten in 28 matches. Arsenal exited the tournament on away goals, but it was the start of a turning point in the season. Arsenal went on to play 10 more games, winning 8 and drawing 2. Bayern went on to win the Champions League.
9. Defensive Solidarity
The season-saving run just described coincided with the re-inclusion of Laurent Koscielny into the first team. Captain, Thomas Vermaelen, was dropped by Wenger after making several defensive errors in recent matches. Koscielny and Per Mertesacker went on to form the best defensive partnership in the Premier League for the remainder of the season. Beginning with Bayern Munich, Arsenal won 9, drew 2, and conceded only 5 goals between March 13th and May 19th!
10. St. Totteringham's Day
Coming later than ever, St. Totteringham's Day was celebrated on May 19th 2013 (the last day of the season). It is the day when Tottenham are no longer able to finish above Arsenal in the league. Laurent Koscielny scored in a 1-0 win away to Newcastle to seal their fate.
In a hilarious bonus, a spy in the Spurs ranks fed them news that Newcastle had scored an equalizer. The news was incorrect, but the wild celebration from their fans was priceless (video).
Laurent Koscielny's defensive performance on the day was legendary. He was already the best player on the pitch when he scored the decisive goal. It resulted from a Walcott free kick that Podolski headed towards goal. Koscielny stretched out his right leg to fire the ball into the net from 2 yards.
Tottenham managed to beat Sunderland, but they were once again condemned to the Europa League for the following season (where they belong).
Arsenal Player of the Season
- Santi Cazorla
- Laurent Koscielny
- Jack Wilshere
- Theo Walcott
- Per Mertesacker
An Eventful Season In English Football
The 2012-2013 season was also eventful elsewhere, with Alex Ferguson finally retiring and being replaced by David Moyes, and Luis Suarez outing himself as a vampire by biting Branislav Ivanovich.
The season ended with many Arsenal fans calling for an improved team. Furthermore, reports from within the club suggested that Arsene Wenger finally had the funds to make it happen. Indeed, over the next summer, Wenger finally splashed the cash on proven talent by bringing in Mesut Özil to the tune of 43 million pounds!
Thanks for reading this review of Arsenal's 2012-13 season. If you liked it, please leave a comment below!
Every Arsenal Goal in 2012-2013
Ndumiso on January 25, 2015:
I have gone full circle on Theo and not just beaucse of last nights performance alone, I was previously banding myself along logic that he shouldn't hold Arsenal ransom to his demands and how dare he for doing so. However,1.in light of the recent major departures,2.last weeks AGM and the farce it was,3.Arsenal's yearly policy of only replacing our top top player's and not enhancing the squad.4. Signal the departures suggest to all our players.5. Hearing the arsenal shit / rvp chants from other supporters6. The extra monies that will come by way of TV next yearAll these details accumulated, Theo just has to be given the pay he can obtain elsewhere, same for Bac. Arsenal have to retain services of these players which will then in turn entice other top top players to come. Lets not lean on the loyalty ideology, as its just not there when you have a career that spans less than your childhood. I have started to believe that maybe RVP did see a lack of direction and saw a better company to work for whilst also pocketing a few quid extra for his retirement.And another thing, we are not self-sustaining football club if we have to sell our players to balance the business.What we are is a business stripping the football club of our prized assets to project a healthy business. Harmony through Victory , do you understand that Ivan and your cohorts 34 4
Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on May 23, 2013:
I said the same about Cazorla, but that's no surprise from an Arsenal fan. Cazorla wasn't alone, and you mention the other attacking mids, but he was more vital in his importance to the team, so I agree with your point. Rosicky was nowhere near as good as last time around. The thing about Cazorla is he was never injured for any length of time. He hardly ever got injured at Malaga too. In a way, this doubles his value to the team, making Wenger's purchase even more astute.
I can't agree with what you've said about Spurs. They truly are a one man team and deserve to be in the Europa League. Without Bale they would be about 15 points worse off, and 7th in the league. They may actually be more deserving if they sell Bale and strengthen other areas. They have been linked with Moutinho who is a quality player. If they bought him, they might see an improvement. Lloris was a good signing and Dembele may reach a higher level, but most of their team is lacking. The fact is, this is Arsenal's worst season for a while, lots of new players were "bedding in", and we still finished above Spurs. I expect the gap to be bigger next season. If you ignore all that, just go on points; the league table doesn't lie!
Of course a difficult CL group would see us struggle, but it all depends on who we sign and how the season starts. Being in the CL will hopefully attract the players Wenger wants. Conversely, Spurs being in the Europa won't help them. If Arsenal fail to get through a group and end up in the Euro Disney Cup, I'm not bothered about doing well in it. It's a worthless and embarrassing Cup in my opinion. It's the "best of the not quite good enoughs". Sorry to say that knowing you're a Chelsea fan!
I think the talk about Kroenke is a little unfair. We can't really blame him for anything yet because we're not sure what he's actually done. If Wenger didn't want to buy some players, Kroenke can't buy them for him.
The thing about Wenger's philosophy is he abandoned it when he dropped Vermaelen (who was captain). It worked wonders, so maybe that's good motivation for him to trust the form book in future. This might convince him to lose trust in players like Gervinho who haven't fulfilled their promise. You're right though that finishing 4th will convince Wenger he's doing things right still; and the money clubs will be his excuse for not doing better.
Richard-Murray on May 23, 2013:
I remember in the beginning of the season we all wondered who would have more impact, Silva, Mata, or Cazorla. I still hold true to my words. Cazorla is needed in Arsenal far more than Mata or Silva. Silva has yaya toure and nasri helping him. Mata has hazard and oscar. But Cazorla has stood alone really. Diaby could have been help and when he was healthy this year he was really important. Wilshire has been off and on with injury. Rosicky has done well with a late season resurgence, but the only consistency has been Cazorla for me. you have to wonder the power of being fiscally in trouble in the age of ffp and how Arsenal will repeat this process this summer and beyond. In some ways Arsenal may have successfully undermined Tottenham and Malaga with this signing. And, in retrospect the derby matches should be second. When you consider the final day and the point tally, if tottenham win at white hart lane Spurs are in.
and I know I am a fan of the Kings of London, but I really disagree with you on a quality level, that spurs should be in the europa league. I think arsenal snagged one, but really aren't better than spurs right now. And, the next UEFA CL should see arsenal in a real tough group. I have noticed the past two seasons arsenal escaped a group of death, that poor manchester city got dropped into twice. Arsenal coming out of the playoff round are due a very hard group stage and I will be blunt, if Arsenal get in a group stage with real madrid, ajax, and psg/bayern/juventus Arsenal isn't getting out of the group stage, and will go into the europa league. And, i don't think arsenal have the depth to survive the europa league. Those thursday sunday swings get tough and go on for weeks. I felt sorry for Chelsea as teams would try their best to take advantage of chelsea's fatigue, having a whole week or more to prepare sometimes.
but, being more positive. This summer isn't just a test of wenger but of kroenke. I still don't see kroenke willing to spend the cash like a lot of gunner fans want. And, Wenger to me, has a point to prove about his philosophy and doesn't seem like one to give up on it, especially after this season, where the likes of qpr and newcastle and liverpool who spent quite a bit didn't get into the UEFA CL. And, in all earnest, the problem with Arsenal is the money clubs. This season showed how arsenal's style of play and fitness can dominate midtable and lower clubs, but the money clubs spend money to win on so much talent that Arsenal just don't have the quality, but have it enough to continually get into competitive situations with the money clubs. Arsenal in my view will continue as they have been. Be a very profitable club, stay involved in the top competitions but not get dragged into any bidding wars and fights with clubs who are willing to outspend to win.