By Tim Todd, Long Shot
It is Memorial Day weekend here in the States and that means us Yanks have a three day weekend. Typically we will go camping or have a barbecue but I’m not doing that this year because my daughter is with her mom.
I actually got a four day weekend and yesterday I baked bread, made cheese, planted the garden, and trimmed the feathers on our chickens. I know, it sounds like I’m some goat-roper but I swear we don’t have goats. Yet. I mean come on though, goats are awesome: they eat all the weeds in your yard and they make the best milk. Who wouldn’t want a goat? And if you get a goat you have to have two or they will get lonely.
Speaking of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), Arsenal.com has free videos of nearly every match this season* and my plan this weekend is to watch them all. In a 50+ game season there are a lot of great moments and some of them get lost to the ravages of memory. I don’t want to lose any of those moments.
It’s also almost time to start talking about things like “goal of the season”, “assist of the season”, and “save of the season” and having a good, fresh memory, of all of those moments is key to me writing an article about it.
I asked my twitter followers for their opinion on the Arsenal goals of the season, asking them to give me one for the League and one for all other competitions. The results were mixed but in the League, people seem to prefer Alexis’ long range strike against Liverpool and in the Champions League, it’s got to be Aaron Ramsey’s long range strike against Galatasaray.
It’s always weird to me how much people love a long range goal. For example, Charlie Adams won NBC’s goal of the season with his 65 yard shot against Chelsea. But that wasn’t even my favorite moment in that match! My favorite moment came when Charlie Adam elbowed Cesc Fabregas in the face and broke his nose. Then, 30 seconds later hit that goal!
I understand the reason why people love long-range goals, they are highly improbable. Charlie Adams has taken a shot like that probably 100 times in his career. He literally loves trying that shot whenever he sees the keeper off his line. Also, Charlie Adams hates running. So, a nice, long range shot means he gets to take a little break as he shoots out of bounds or when the keeper collects.
In all seriousness, the Charlie Adams goal is pretty amazing. Few people in the world can even kick a ball that hard. And to kick it that hard and that accurately over Courtoise, who is one of the best keepers in the League, means that Adams needed to strike that ball absolutely perfectly. Which he did. In that case I suppose it’s difficult not to give him goal of the season. Sigh.
But for me, rather than just a lucky long range strike I like a goal that tells a story, that carries some emotional power, and which reveals something about the character of the player. The Adams goal does all that and it may even go down in history as one of the best goals of all time. That’s why it’s a worthy goal of the season candidate.
As for Arsenal, I haven’t decided what my goal of the season is going to be yet but my early front-runner is Alexis’ strike against Besiktas:
Arsenal were struggling to score against Beskitas and the first leg ended 0-0. In the second leg, the whole team just looked off a step. It was as if they were trying to find their feet and integrate this powerful new talent, Alexis Sanchez, into the Arsenal playing style. And so it is fitting that the only goal of the tie came from a broken play.
Debuchy (who would get sent off later) played a cross into the middle and Besiktas barely headed it away. So, Arsenal collected the ball back, Wilshere passed to Ozil, and made a cut toward the goal looking for the return ball. Ozil played a one touch return off the outside of his left foot. It’s unclear whether Ozil was playing the ball to Wilshere or Alexis but my guess is that he was just playing to space — and it’s kind of irrelevant anyway! Alexis just bustled in there, took the ball away from Wilshere, and scored. That was his first Arsenal goal.
Arsenal went on to win 1-0 on aggregate. So, it’s an important goal because it ensured Arsenal’s 17th consecutive Champions League group stage appearance and all of the prize money that entails. In essence, that goal was worth £30m meaning that Sanchez’ first Arsenal goal basically paid for his transfer fee! It also showed the character of Alexis. He’s a very driven, bullish player and he’s not going to let a loose ball go without trying to pounce on it.
So, when I think of goal of the season, that strike which introduced us to Alexis Sanchez is the first that comes to mind. We will have to see if I can be convinced of any others as I watch the season unfold again through the free videos on Arsenal.com.
Which is your favorite goal, assist, or save of the season? And hey, fair enough if you guess “next week’s goal: an Aaron Ramsey 93rd minute strike against Aston Villa to win consecutive FA Cups”. I can’t argue against that!
*FA Cup matches are only available on YouTube.