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A WeLoveYouArsenal Round-Up: Our First Full Year

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

By Rob Worthington (Senior Writer)

Our website’s first full calendar year is nearing completion so I thought it’d be a good time to step away and reflect on the WLYA website’s journey through 2020. Like Arsenal, we’ve experienced our ups and downs. Some of our articles have received extraordinary attention whereas others have failed to attract any at all. That’s the life of a journalist I suppose. Nevertheless, we’re proud of each and every piece that has been published on this site in 2020.

The start of 2020 represented a breath of fresh air for Arsenal fans. Mikel Arteta was starting to implement his footballing vision and despite some poor results, it seemed the future was bright. After the 1-1 draw away at Crystal Palace, Vinay recounted that ‘The game plan implemented by Arteta was as good as it gets and completely stifled Palace.’ We liked what we saw in the early days of Arteta’s tenure. Much credit has to go to Vinay, our Tactical Analyst, for consistently providing superb scrutiny of Arsenal’s performances throughout the year.

The month concluded with Granit Xhaka completing his redemption at left-centre-back against Chelsea in the same game that Gabriel Martinelli scored the goal of the century. Roll on February.

Good things started to happen for both the site and Arsenal. We recorded two consecutive impressive home wins first a 4-0 victory over Newcastle and then an edge-of-the-seat 3-2 win over Everton. All the while, our Chief Editor, Alfie, brilliantly dissected Mikel Arteta's refreshing tactics. Still, the less spoken of our Deputy Editor Daniel's late February thoughts on rumours concerning Thomas Partey the better...

March hit and few will ever forget the events that entailed as the month wore on. The month started dismally with our UEL exit at the hands of Olympiacos which each and every one of our writers refrained to write about! Yet, on the pitch we saw FA Cup progression via a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth followed by a borefest against West Ham culminating in 1-0 win with thanks to VAR. Little did Alfie and I know that would be the last Arsenal match we'd be attending in 2020...

Yep, the pandemic arrived. Mikel Arteta contracted the coronavirus, the Premier League was suspended and the UK was sent in to a full-scale lockdown. That didn't stop us though. Chief Editor, Alfie, insisted the show must go on.

An array of weird and wonderful articles began to be produced. Alfie released the site's most controversial piece to date asserting that Olivier Giroud didn't cost Mesut Özil the assist record in 15/16 , the now-world-famous Finton's Frolic debuted with Daniel discussing hair and of course AFCMax9 took the opportunity to deliver some Laca prop.

Our website's first co-contributed article arrived with Daniel and I arguing over who Arsenal's 5 most infamous cult heroes are. Then, we welcomed our first celebrity guest with former Arsenal midfielder Charlie Gilmour joining Alfie and Daniel on the Arsenal Cannon Podcast. All three of Alfie, Daniel and I believed the website came on leaps and bounds over lockdown and we were immensely proud of our efforts over that period. Huge credit to everyone who contributed, it was tough.

At this point, we were all desperate for football to come back. Thankfully, our wish was granted. However, not in the way we expected it to have been. We finally saw players return to the turf not in England, but in Germany. We took the opportunity to look at the Bundesliga through an Arsenal lens with all three of Daniel, Alfie and Max relaying their thoughts on the action.

Then, finally, the Premier League returned. Project Restart. We quizzed our writers on their expectations as we impatiently waited for the English top flight's return. Of course, we were quickly brought back down to earth through Arsenal's horrible return to action. 2 miserable defeats, a Bernd Leno injury and a David Luiz horror show. We had our Arsenal back...

However, the relentless fixture list gave Arsenal a chance to redeem themselves. The 3-4-3, which would eventually deliver us an FA Cup was introduced by Mikel Arteta and that decision ended up bearing fruit in a significant manner. 3 consecutive Premier League wins ensued including a sturdy 2-0 victory away at Wolves. Mikel Arteta's magic was being sprinkled.

Arsenal were then handed a blessing in disguise through a dismal 2-1 defeat at the T*ttenham H*tspur Stadium. This blessing saw Sead Kolasinac fielded as a LCB in a league game for the final time following a catastrophic error which led to a Heung-Min Son goal. Kieran Tierney went on to excel in that role and played a monumental part in both the FA Cup semi-final and final.

And that was where our season truly took off. A 2-1 win at home against the champions, Liverpool, a tactical masterclass to overcome Guardiola's Man City and finally an FA Cup final victory over Chelsea that will live long in the memory. A beautiful end to a roller coaster ride of a season. Vinay and Charlie led the way with season analysis.

The shortened and delayed Summer break began and transfer season was upon us. I started weekly transfer roundups, Vinay had a look at behind the scenes changes and Alfie released some contentious thoughts on both Willian and Houssem Aouar. Thomas Partey finally arrived which led to rejoice, but Arsenal's transfer committee categorically failed to fill the club's creativity void which has come back to bite them.

For the website, a new season meant new beginnings with 3 new recruits in Mac Johnson, Allan Riley and Alex Trad arriving on the scene. A fresh season and fresh faces on the site meant fresh content was being produced readily with Arsenal's strong start to the season well-documented on the website.

Then, crisis kicked in. As we know all too well, Arsenal have not won a single league game since the notable win away at Old Trafford. Defeat after defeat has followed and thus Alfie and Vinay have lost the motivation to review performances at this point. Not to mention the pain associated with missing out on Dominik Szoboszlai (Shuh-Bosh-Lie) who has joined RB Leipzig.

Yet as Alfie wrote in March, the show must go on. We are all committed to ensuring the website will continue to grow next year. This concluding paragraph provides me an opportunity to thank all of our dedicated readers. It's been a hard year, especially for Arsenal fans, and we at WLYA wish you all the best in 2021.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year you Cool Uncles! (only elites will understand)

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