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Constant Crisis: 5 Memorable Opening Day Arsenal Results

Constant Crisis: 5 Memorable Opening Day Arsenal Results
By Ciaran Bradley

As the saying goes: opening day fright - laminator's delight.

As Arsenal's faithful knock up home-made signs to get the club - to borrow a phrase - to spend some fucking money, we at Balls have taken a step back to reminisce over some fitful Arsenal starts to bygone Premier League seasons. Join us on this jaunt down mediocrity lane:

1. Arsenal 3 - 4 Liverpool: 14th August 2016

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUnJGW5V3wM

 

It was only missing Bill Murray. Arsenal will be hoping that this doesn't result in six more weeks of acclimatising as it is time they can scarcely afford. The management have dallied for long enough, and this is the year of finer margins than ever before. This was seasons past in microcosm: decent start, hideous collapse, rousing but absolutely meaningless rally. The glaring errors are one thing - the lack of physicality, no players willing to take the lead being two - but it is the total predictability that galls and prompts brickbats from the stands.

Arsène Wenger does a great line in sulking and bewilderment - both himself and provoking it from supporters. Yesterday, he criticised aspects of the sport that apply to each top club equally, and acting affronted in the process does little but antagonise. It is a part of management to offset the rigours of international tournaments, as has seemingly been realised by everyone but him. Any football fan could have told you that Arsenal were thin in numbers, and acting as if offsetting the rigours of the Euros was out of his hands nudges the staunchest 'In Arsene We Trust'-er into the 'Wenger Out' camp.

2. Arsenal 0 - 2 West Ham United: 9th August 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwlFJr16_No

The Emirates has become a millstone around Arsenal's neck on opening day. Even when they win, as in the season prior against Crystal Palace, Arsenal just never seem ready.

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Fans had a lot to look forward to: finally, it seemed that the club had adequately filled Jens Lehmann's boots, with Petr Cech joining from Chelsea. It took him less than a half to acclimatise to his new surroundings, shedding any common sense to hand Cheikhou Kouyate the opening goal. Dimitri Payet looked threatening throughout, and West Ham came out with a 2-0 victory that cast their Europa League exit from their mind. Arsenal could have been fooled into thinking it was in that competition that their future lay.

 

3. Arsenal 1 - 3 Aston Villa: 17th August 2013

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWEduw5oelc

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In the words of the Guardian's Amy Lawrence: "If you're not prepared to pay the price, there is a price to be paid." Words that resonate even more strongly with another three years passed.

This was an identikit 'how to beat Arsenal' performance from Paul Lambert's Villa. Soak up the pressure, keep a couple of pacey wingers and a target man, and you have the ingredients for a hummus-throwing party at Ashburton Grove. Pass the pitta.

 

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4. Arsenal 0 - 0 Sunderland 18th August 2012: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kN4UgJQKBPo

2012 was mooted to be humanity's end - as it was, it represented the last year of what some have termed the sell-to-buy era at Arsenal. In order to self-sustainably finance the move to the Emirates, it had become traditional to charitably part with at least one star player. This year, most galling of all, it was Robin Van Persie to Manchester United.

While Van Persie cuddled up to his new beau with a hat-trick, Arsenal were left staring into lifeless microwave-meal-for-one against Sunderland. Lacking any depth or cohesion, they failed to break down Sunderland, who were nothing if not dogged. If it feels like my heart and soul in writing this part, why don't you try recalling a 0-0 from 2012? Thought as much.

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5. Everton 1 - 6 Arsenal 15th August 2009

Oh go on then Gooners, we'll throw you a bone. Ever-so-occasionally, another side produces an opening day shambles to match any that Wenger and his cohorts can muster.

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Terrifyingly recently, losing Joleon Lescott was seen as a hindrance to a team and David Moyes was one of the best-regarded managers in the league. The former was not so much casting furtive glances to Manchester City, as he was setting up a webcam and herniating himself with delight. The latter was trying to ignore this ignominy and replace him with a yet-to-arrive Sylvain Distin.

Somewhere in between, Arsenal managed to turn in an emphatic win at Goodison, leaving the crowd angry and confused in a way only an opening-day, or Matrix sequel, can. Denilson tore Everton to shreds, and Thomas Vermaelen was the best defender on the pitch, in Arsenal's most recent emphatic opening result.

And if that last sentence doesn't have Arsène sprinting to a cash machine, nothing will.

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