The winter break is in full swing and that means a real dearth of Arsenal-related action.
The perfect time for a spot of nostalgia.
Think back to when we were one of only two true superpowers in the Premier League. Us and Manchester United would do battle season after season. The best players in the competition, the most heated duels, two evenly matched teams that were destined to duke it out for the top honour of the Championship.
This era coincided with the tail end of our spiritual home, the shrine of football that was Highbury.
Thierry Henry, the King of Highbury himself, spoke of this place being his home and for a large portion of our fanbase, Highbury was and still is Arsenal.
The Emirates opened to a fanfare but in the 14 years we have called our new stadium ‘home,’ we have failed to recreate not only the glory we obtained at Highbury, we have also failed to match those famous floodlit nights at the old stadium that encapsulated some of our most memorable moments in Europe and domestically.
That isn’t to say The Emirates isn’t a fantastic stadium. It also has had some truly amazing games and instances, the atmosphere has been rocking at times.
So what has been our best Emirates moment?
There’s been a few contenders.
Danny Welbeck’s late, late winner against Leicester City was a potential title-upsetter, but it was pure emotion that roared from the stand as Welbeck scored on his return from an awful injury.
Our two 5-2 wins over hated rivals really do rank highly in the memory, putting our neighbours back firmly in their place with aplomb, but can there really be any other winner than Andrei Arshavin’s winner against Barcelona?
Barcelona only lost one Champions League game that season on the way to winning the title.
That was against us, and a golden-tinted goal from a tiny Russian genius.
Arshavin was capable of much, but this goal was definitely the pinnacle of his Gunners career.
We broke at speed, Fabregas spraying a long ball through to a running Nasri. The Frenchman cut in, saw that Van Persie was drawing two Barca defenders and instead laid on a great pass for the onrushing Arshavin.
The Russian, always so confident, took it first time and his composed, side-footed finish found its way past Valdes and sent The Emirates into raptures.
It was more than a win. It was more than a beautiful goal. It was an Arsenal team that may have been resplendent in attacking firepower, but with frailties – much like now.
It was also against a team that has arguably been the best since AC Milan in the early 90’s. They were era-defining – and we defeated them in our stadium.
So while Highbury will always be the ‘Home of Football,’ The Emirates can close the gap with more moments like Arshavin’s goal vs Barca.