Arsenal goal of 2021

The contenders for goal of 2021:

December: Lacazette v. Southampton (16 passes, breaking pressure)

November: Martinelli over the shoulder volley v. Newcastle

October: Katie McCabe long range v. Aston Villa

September: Aubameyang counter attacking goal with Smith Rowe v. Tottenham (the Henry slide!)

August: Aubameyang hat trick goal v. WBA EFL Cup

July: none

June: Saka goal v. Austria

May: Smith Rowe first PL goal left foot volley v. WBA (would score also against Chelsea in the next match after a high press forced a poor backpass)

April: Lacazette intricate team goal v. Sheffield United

March: Gabriel header v. Olympiakos

February: Nicolas Pepe dribbles around and through three Wolves players to score

January: Tierney in the snow v. WBA, beats his man twice

My picks are either the Aubameyang goal v. Spurs in September or the Lacazette goal v. Southampton in December.

Both are excellent goals but the Auba one probably just takes the plaudits for me because it’s a great counter started by Auba and finished by Auba from Smith Rowe and it’s against Spurs – which has a lot more significance than against Southampton. Auba starts the goal with a half-volleyed chip pass to Smith Rowe, who bursts into the Spurs backfield and has a look to see where Auba is and drags it back to the (former?) Arsenal striker. Auba then slides on his knees reminiscent of Thierry Henry.

Qq

25 comments

  1. Merry Christmas and happy new year. Thank you for all the work and content that you put in, come rain come sun. Thank you and its most apprecieated.

    My pick would be the martinelli goal vs Newcaste, over his shoulder and that volley. Sublime and many players would have bolted it out of the park. But not Martinelli, he volliyed in into the top corner.

  2. Nice to see Auba getting some love. How quickly we forget. That goal is my pick too, for several reasons.

    One, team goal. Two, he worked hard at both ends (bloke genuinely tried to be a diligent worker and track backer in Arteta’s system). Three, super finish.

    The Laca goal brought everything together, play out from the back, mobility, beating the press, quick, upshift in attacking gear.

    I like goals from other players besides strikers or forwards, so Tierney’s 2 efforts to bookend the year stood out for me.

    The goals were good but did not rise to the quality of previous years, like Auba’s against Leicester in which Ozil was central, or Ramsey’s against Fulham.

    p.s. Doc can correct me on this if I’m wrong, but I think that players who do knee slides could pay for it in later years. Sorry to be a killjoy

  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmSXHIglBeE

    Some beauties there, check it out. Some impressive Thierry Henry knee slides as well.

    For me:
    3. Gabriel Martinelli’s perfect dink over the keeper. Class, control, and a brilliant technical finish.
    2. The team goal finished perfectly by Lacazette. Pure Arsenal.
    1. Because I’m a hopeless romantic, Charlie Patino sticking his leg out to meet Pepe’s cross, cool as you like, as if he’d been doing this as a starter for years. Absolutely wonderful.

  4. “Ring out the false, ring in the true.”
    – Alfred Lord Tennyson

    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE.

  5. Tim.

    I agree with you and Claude with your choice of Auba’s goal as the best.

    Claude from yesterday. Arsene was the same manager who used the same tactics. The only reasonable explanation for the radical differences in runs of results with the same group of players that we saw almost every season during the Wenger era were the ups and downs in the teams form.

    I understand that form is nebulous and no one on the blog likes to talk about it because it can’t be debated or described with stats or tactical explanations. However, ignoring its importance just because its not interesting or intellectually stimulating to discuss is denying reality

  6. aubameyang is (still) an arsenal striker. as for which goal is the best? i prefer team goals so that’s the lacazette goal from a few weeks ago. the auba goal was important as it was against totts but, for me, wasn’t special enough to be considered best. as far as individual talent, the pepe goal is so sweet because he megs two dudes and scores with his weaker foot. likewise, the volley from martinelli is sweet.

    my personal favorite that i was most impressed with is the odegaard free kick. i’ve never mentioned it on here but i’ve certainly not forgotten it. what an impressive piece of skill. the ball is struck with so much power but doesn’t rise higher than about 7 feet and hits the back of the net still about 3 1/2 feet off the ground. i’d love to see that replicated.

    1. my bad, the saka goal in the snow against west brom is about on par with the lacazette goal. i absolutely love the mobility of emile and bukayo. i just had a thought: could you imagine if mesut were still here with these young players? i love odegaard but his passing is nowhere near mesut’s level. ozil with these young boys would be devastating!

      let me say this. mobility in the attack is an absolute nightmare for a defense to contend with. the runners don’t have to be moving fast…just constantly and intelligently. more importantly, making runs to make space for their team mates, not just themselves. i’m a bit nostalgic right now because i love that about emile more than any quality. lacazette is a bit of the same.

      the other day, i was watching a video of a youth team i coached about 8 years ago. they were only 14 but moved the ball so well because everyone understood a term wenger introduced to the footballing world called passing empathy. i added to it by introducing my own terminology called running empathy; make the run you would want someone to make for you. mind you, i had this team for about a year before we spent a good 3 weeks with me teaching exclusively on mobility in the attack. the boys grasped the concepts and were often unplayable, even against so-called elite teams. watching that video made me smile. emile absolutely embodies that mobility concept.

  7. On the topic of form and football….

    When I’ve heard the term form used by commentators or pundits it usually as an expression rather than explanation, much as you would say a team is ‘on a good run’. Maybe this is a British peculiarity?

    Where the term is more often referred to with football is by the gambling community. Bookies often use form as a construct for defining betting odds or the likelihood of a historic event repeating (i.e. Norwich vs Burnley likely being a 0-0 result because they both crap at scoring).

    Form isn’t analysis, insight or explanation. It’s just a very simple description of what has happened in the past.

    1. thanks, brother. i don’t know much about gambling but i do understand that form is not a viable explanation for anything anyone does. in fact, it always sounds like bs to me.

      to quote cristiano ronaldo: “i work too hard on my game to ever be out of form”.

      1. No worries my friend. I’m lucky I have zero interest in gambling. However it has become very tightly interwoven with football (money, money, money). Sites like Sky.com post a forthcoming matches article with a betting twist based on ‘form’:

        https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11095/12506911/pl-predictions-arsenal-can-dent-man-city-title-charge

        It’s presented in very simple terms that you don’t need to be a fan or have any knowledge or interest in football to understand. Sound familiar (lol)?

    2. MATTB, in football, form is often used interchangeably with results. Objectively, you CAN say Arsenal are in good form, because their football is fluid and goals are flowing. But City aren’t going to let us play like Norwich did. If we lose, does that constitute bad form? OK, forget City. Let’s take Spurs, more or less on on our level. If we beat Forest in the cup, lose to Spurs, and beat Burnley, how would you describe our overall form?

      All that said, a good run of results can give a team momentum and belief, and can contribute to a good spell of playing well. A bad run of results can be damaging, creating a funk that a team finds hard to get out of. It’s why you have to give Arteta props for where he has this team, after an 0-3, GD -9 start.

      As a fan of the sport of cricket, I see form as being more applicable to something like, for example, the individual output of batters, than it is for a team game. Sometimes a good batter is in a slump and can’t buy a run, and keeps getting out to bad balls, or making crap shots to balls that he’d have smashed before.

      Fascinating topic, though.

  8. bill, the biggest gripe i have with most of your arguments is this: you almost never talk about the football that’s played. nearly every argument you make is abstract and not based on what we see the team do. it’s almost like you come up with a stat and find a way to legitimize it with circumstantial truths…or perhaps it’s the other way around. regardless, simply saying something that my be true doesn’t legitimize an argument; the truth has to be relevant to be legit.

    you seem to have a moneyball approach to your arguments. however, i’m a football fan, not a moneyball fan. i have to correlate the arguments you make with the football we see…and i can almost never do that with your arguments. that’s what we do here, brother; we talk about bread and football……well, i don’t talk about bread. but you know what i mean.

    1. oh, and from the previous thread. you’ve never heard me be critical of arteta’s tactical nous. i think arteta’s tactically brilliant and you may have read me say that dozens of times here. my criticisms of arteta have been strategic and managerial, but not tactical. never!

      likewise, i don’t know of this 4+ years of evidence that strongly suggests that lacazette is not the reason for the recent upturn in arsenal’s football quality. however, if you have it, i’d love to see that evidence.

      1. He’s talking about me.

        I think Arteta isn’t tactically brilliant. It shouldn’t have taken him two years to get the team playing this way.

        1. 100%. There’s evidence Arteta is learning and improving but there’s no reason fans should wait so long. You can see within a matter of weeks that Conte is beginning to imprint on his rabble. That’s what a good coach does.

          The jury is still very much out on Arteta’s player management skills. This Summer Laca and Nketiah leave on frees and Pepe and Auba must be desperate to exit. Rewind a few years to Wenger or Emery as manager and I guarantee everyone (EVERYONE) is screaming dereliction of duty!

  9. Josh

    Laca has been with the team for 4+ years and played several thousand minutes and for a vast majority of that time most fans at least on this blog have been complaining about how poor our football has been. I am certainly not blaming Laca but to suggest that having him on the pitch has given the team some sort of tactical advantage which significantly improves our performances and results seems hard to accept in view of what we have seen during his time with the club. If he was capable of having that sort of positive influence then why did he wait for almost 4 1/2 years when his contract is up in May to demonstrate how valuable he is?

    Part of the reason I discuss abstract subjects such as a players age and how it influences their performance and things like a teams form a lot because many of those subjects are important and everyone else seems to dismiss how much they influence the game. Take for example when we discussed Auba struggles for the last couple seasons there was a lot of talk about Arteta misusing him and having him set up in bad positions or not using him properly or discussing tactical or statistical reasons for his ineffectiveness. I don’t think a single person even mentioned the fact that he is 32 years old and that is potentially by far the single biggest reason why he is struggling.You can’t just ignore those sort of issues because its more nebulous then you like.

  10. Happy New Year to Tim and all of the 7am nation. Great stuff from everyone especially Tim. May you all have a happy, blessed, prosperous and safe 2022.

  11. Thanks Claude. My wife and I had been splitting time between Texas and Colorado for many years and this year we sold our Texas home and moved full time to the mountains in Colorado and brought our 4 horses with us. Our dogs absolutely love the winters but they get to stay in the house but the horses are mostly outside. They had been Texas horses for all of their lives and never experienced winter and I was worried how they would adapt especially Brynna the paint whose picture is the gravatar you see in my comments. She is the oldest at 24 years and has been my 1200 pound girlfriend for most of her life. They loved the cooler weather in the summer and horses bodies are built for the cold so they all are thriving this winter despite the cold and snow.

  12. Happy 2022 everyone!

    Tough loss today but I’m proud of what the team showed nevertheless. We deserved a point at least.

    1. Heart sank when 6 minutes added time was confirmed. We kinda knew in our gut, didnt we? They didnt require that much of the time, though. I too am proud of the guys.

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