The 2012–13 season was Arsenal's 21st season in the Premier League and 93rd consecutive season in the top flight of English football. Arsenal participated in the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, after finishing 3rd in the previous Premier League season. The League Cup however was out of their reach, and despite an entertaining cup run, which included 13 goals scored in two games, Arsenal lost to Bradford City in the quarter-finals on penalties. In the FA Cup Arsenal were knocked out by Blackburn Rovers in the fifth round. The Champions League also proved fruitless, as despite a valiant effort in Bavaria winning 2–0, they were ultimately knocked out on the away goals rule against Bayern Munich, continuing an 8-year trophy drought. The highest scoring game in their season was the famous 7–5 win in the Capital One Cup (after Extra Time), where they came back from 4 goals down. Arsenals highest scoring league win was the 7–3 win against Newcastle in December. This season, Arsenal finished 4th after having to close another huge points gap (like last season) between themselves and their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal's pre season transfers started as early as 30 April 2012, when Arsenal announced they were going to sign German internationalLukas Podolski from Cologne for an undisclosed fee, thought to be around £10.9m. Podolski officially joined Arsenal when the summer transfer window opened on 1 July. Podolski became the second German player to join the club in the space of a year, following the arrival of Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen last summer, whom Podolski himself stated, played a big part in the transfer after talking about life at the Emirates. As well as early transfer news, Arsenal had early staff news, whereby, after 48 years of being associated with Arsenal, assistant manager Pat Rice retired at the end of the previous season. He was replaced on the same day by academy team manager, Steve Bould. Pat Rice played a big role in Arsenal football club, and was highly praised following his retirement by both the players and by manager Arsène Wenger.
Arsenal's pre season schedule saw them take part in the second Markus Liebherr Cup (in memory of the former Southampton owner Markus Liebherr), hosted by Southampton in two 45-minute matches against what was originally Scottish clubRangers, but was later confirmed to be Anderlecht due to the financial troubles faced by Rangers, and the hosts themselves. The competition was held on 14 July 2012 as a round-robin system with Arsenal winning their first match 1–0 thanks to a close-range finish by Henri Lansbury, and despite losing 5–4 on penalties to Southampton (following a Gervinho 35th-minute equaliser to Jay Rodriguez's 31st minute opener in regulation time), they had still accumulated enough points to win the cup. Arsenal then travelled to the Far East, in a tour similar to that they embarked upon before their 2011–12 season. Arsenal started their tour by travelling to Malaysia to play a Malaysia League XI in Kuala Lumpur. After an open-training session (which was attended by 30,000 fans in the previous season), Arsenal scored two late goals from German youngster Thomas Eisfeld and fellow reserve team player Chuks Aneke following Azmi Muslim's opener to win the match 2–1. From there, they travelled to China to play fellow Premier League team, Manchester City, in Beijing in the inaugural "China Cup". With extra significance due to the 2012 Summer Olympics, the match was held at the 2008 Olympic Stadium, and similar to the Malaysia tour, Arsenal attempted to get closer to their Chinese fans. Arsenal ultimately lost 0–2, with two goals in the last five minutes of the first half by Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Touré to lose the China Cup. Arsenal then travelled to Hong Kong to play Kitchee, champions of their national league. The game gave the club's huge fan base in Hong Kong the opportunity to see Arsenal play live in an entertaining encounter that ended 2–2 after 90 minutes after Eisfeld equalised late on (which should have led to a penalty shootout, but it was later scrapped). Arsenal played in Hong Kong for the first time in 17 years, addressing their growing commitment to Asia. They were then going to travel to Nigeria to play the Nigerian national football team in their first visit to Africa since visiting South Africa in 1993, however this was later postponed till summer 2013 based on concerns with the host city. Instead the club sent three first-team players (Sagna, Mertesacker and new signing Podolski) on 28 July 2012, to engage with supporters in the region. It was then revealed Arsenal were looking to play "behind closed doors" friendlies to get fit for the upcoming season. Arsène Wenger had earlier said that Arsenal had compromised their normal pre-season training camp in Austria to "get in touch" with Arsenal's fanbase, but they had instead taken up a training camp in Germany to prepare for their final pre-season match. The last stop on Arsenal's pre season schedule saw a repeat of last season's pre-season fixture against Cologne, resulting in an immediate goal-scoring return for new signing Lukas Podolski to his previous home ground. The fixture, which was scheduled six days before the start of the Premier League season, featured the likes of new signings Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla in a commanding 4–0 win with an early opener from Vermaelen, a penalty and a close range strike from Podolski in the first half, and a finish from an acute angle from Gervinho in the second half to complete the rout. As the 2012 Olympics were being held in London, it was announced that Arsenal would not host the Emirates Cup tournament as part of their usual pre-season schedule, citing unnecessary increased pressure on London's infrastructure. However, Arsenal chief executive, Ivan Gazidis stated that the Emirates Cup would be hosted by Arsenal in 2013, with a host of "top" clubs being lined up already.
As the previous season drew to a close, Arsenal announced the release of seven players on 22 May 2012, five of whom played professionally for Arsenal, including Manuel Almunia, who made 175 first-team appearances for the club (including the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final), and Gavin Hoyte who was the only other released player to receive a first-team cap (against Manchester City on 22 November 2009). Soon afterwards Arsenal announced their progress on the staffing situation at the Emirates, and despite Steve Bould already being announced as the new assistant manager, the Club officially announced that Bould had indeed been promoted, Neil Banfield would be promoted to being first-team coach, after managing the Arsenal reserve team for the past eight seasons, and that Terry Burton would become the reserve-team manager. On 8 June 2012, Arsenal continued their transfer activity with the sale of Oğuzhan Özyakup to Turkish club Beşiktaş. Although it is undisclosed by Arsenal, Beşiktaş confirmed that a four-year contract had been agreed with Özyakup and a fee of around £405,000 agreed with Arsenal for the 19-year-old midfielder. Arsenal then announced their second "big" transfer of the summer transfer window, with the signing of French strikerOlivier Giroud from Montpellier for a reported fee of £12.8 million. Giroud was top scorer in the French league last season and Arsène Wenger stated that he expects him to flourish. He was primarily signed as a back up (rather than a replacement) to golden boot winnerRobin van Persie, in a bid to challenge this season's Premier League title and win the club's first trophy for seven years. However, on 4 July 2012, a transfer saga, similar to the ones of Fàbregas and Nasri last summer, took a big step as club captain and player-of-the-season Van Persie revealed that he would not renew his Arsenal contract, and would therefore become a free agent at the end of the current season, signalling the end of an eight-year career at the club following his move from Feyenoord in 2004. This eventually led to the confession that Giroud had actually been signed as a replacement for the Dutch talisman. Meanwhile, on 29 June 2012, Arsenal announced that a further seven academy players had signed professional contracts. To signal the intent of reducing surplus players, Arsenal then announced that a £6 million agreement had been reached for the sale of Carlos Vela on 17 July 2012. Vela featured 62 times for Arsenal, scoring 11 goals, and he was the first member of the first-team squad to be sold in the summer transfer window. A week later Arsenal announced that defenderLaurent Koscielny had signed a new long-term contract after a series of consistent appearances in the first-team last season. Throughout the summer transfer window, manager Arsène Wenger had promised the club's fans that a headline transfer would be made, so to compete for the title, and this materialised on 7 August 2012, when Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla signed on a four-year contract for a reported transfer fee of £16.5 million, making him the most expensive player in the history of the club. With the sale of Robin van Persie being confirmed by the club for a fee thought to be around £24 million, on 17 August 2012 Arsenal revealed that Thomas Vermaelen had taken over the captaincy from the Dutchman, with Mikel Arteta being given the position of vice-captain.
The Premier League fixture list was announced on 18 June 2012 and it gave Arsenal a home game against Sunderland to open the new season. Both matches last season produced a 2–1 win in Arsenal's favour, which promised an entertaining opening match for the club. Although Arsenal had the better of the chances, they played out a 0–0 draw with the north-eastern club. Shortly after, Arsenal announced that an agreement had been reached with Barcelona for the sale of Alex Song, and two days later, on 20 August 2012, Arsenal announced that he had indeed been sold. Meanwhile, in contrast to last season, Arsenal did not have any other commitments in August apart from competing in the Premier League, with no English contingent participating in the play-off round of the Champions League. This therefore allowed Arsenal ample time to prepare for their next test at the Britannia Stadium in their second game against Stoke City, however it ended as a second successive 0–0 draw, and although their previous defensive frailties were not present throughout August, a goalless month was a cause for concern. Arsenal had no disciplinary issues in their opening two games, which epitomised the controlled, albeit unexciting, start to the season. On a transfer deadline day that was dominated by the club's Premier League rivals, Arsenal only announced departures, as first team players Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu-Young departed on season-long loans, to Italian giants Juventus and La Liga club Celta Vigo respectively. Despite manager Arsène Wenger stating that he is open to transfers before the window closes, Arsenal did not shadow the events of last season, in buying no players in the final week of the transfer window.
Arsenal began a series a tough matches against Liverpool at Anfield, where the Gunners registered both their first goals and cards of the season. New signings Podolski and Cazorla paired up for both goals, as Podolski finished low to the goalkeeper's left in the 31st minute, and Cazorla smashed a near post shot past Reina in the 68th minute to give Arsenal a commanding 2–0 win over Liverpool. It was the first time in 88 years that Arsenal had recorded 3 consecutive clean sheets in a row, showing evidence of Bould's influence on the first team. Arsenal continued their unbeaten start with an emphatic victory over Southampton, that rested fears over the Gunner's lack of scoring potential. A brace from Gervinho, goals from Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott, and two own goals capped an almost perfect display, with the only error coming from keeper Wojciech Szczęsny, as his spill gifted the visitors a goal, and dealt Arsenal their first defensive blip of the season, in a 6–1 thrashing. Away from the Premier League, Arsenal started their Champions League campaign with a group stage match against debutants Montpellier at the Stade de la Mosson. Dubbed as favourites, Arsenal did not begin the match in such commanding fashion, as a penalty, conceded by Thomas Vermaelen, was put away by Younès Belhanda in the 9th minute, but two goals in quick succession from Podolski and Gervinho, meant Arsenal turned the game around, to come out as 2–1 winners – a scoreline that correctly reflected the quality of the two teams. Arsenal's tough month continued, with arguable the toughest test that awaited them in the entire season – an away tie at champions Manchester City. Despite the constant troubles that have come from zonal marking, Arsenal used this technique from set-pieces all throughout the game, which ultimately led to Lescott's 40th minute header giving City the lead until Koscielny's 82nd minute equaliser, giving Arsenal a deserved draw at the Etihad. The draw extended Arsenal's unbeaten run to 5 games and earned the team plaudits around the footballing world. Continuing with the packed fixture list, came another midweek tie against Coventry City in the League Cup. Arsenal fielded a team mixed with experience and young talent in a convincing 6–1 win over the League One outfit. Giroud opened his account for the club, with a clever finish over keeper Murphy, and goals from youngsters Oxlade-Chamberlain and Miquel, a brace from Walcott, and an instinctive finish by Andrei Arshavin capped a satisfying night for the Arsenal faithful. Arsenal's final game of September came in the form of a visit from table-topping Chelsea side to the Emirates Stadium. Despite Gervinho's strike late in the first half, goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, both from set plays, on either side of the half way mark, highlighted the club's underlying defensive frailties, in an unconvincing display from the Gunners.
Arsenal began October with a 3–1 Premier League win against West Ham United at Boleyn Ground. After conceding an early goal from Mohamed Diamé, Arsenal netted late twice, including Olivier Giroud's first Premier League goal. Following an international break, Arsenal travelled to Carrow Road to face third-bottom Norwich City, and lost 1–0 through a 20-minute Grant Holt goal after a Vito Mannone spill, in an unconcinving display from the Gunners. Their poor form continued in a Champions League clash with Schalke 04, conceding twice in a 2–0 loss (their first at the Emirates in a European group stage match), putting Arsenal second in Group B with 3 games to play. Arsenal then produced a respectable performance in their next match against a struggling QPR side in the Premier League, thanks to another late goal, this time from Mikel Arteta, following Stéphane Mbia's red card dismissal. Their final game of October was an awayLeague Cupfourth-round tie against Reading, where after having fallen to a 4-goal deficit after 37 minutes, goals from Theo Walcott (twice), Olivier Giroud and Laurent Koscielny managed to equalise the match to 4–4 after 90 minutes (despite a controversial 90+6th minute equaliser, when only 4 minutes of added time was indicated). Theo Walcott and Marouane Chamakh (twice) then netted in extra time, with Pavel Pogrebnyak scoring an additional goal for Reading, completing one of football's most inspiring comebacks, as well as one of the most remarkable matches in League Cup history (as well as the highest scoring), to a final score of 7–5 to Arsenal, who have never lost to a Reading side in all 10 occasions that the teams have met. Arsenal became the first side to have scored over 6 goals in two consecutive League Cup matches in this record breaking and inspiring display. They were drawn against League TwoBradford City in the quarter-finals and entered November on a high.
Arsenal's November started as poorly as September had ended and October had started, and despite a tough test against Manchester United, an unlikely three points for the Gunners materialised in a lacklustre performance that only brought about two shots on target, including a late consolation by Cazorla, and a disappointing 2–1 loss at Old Trafford. Arsenal extended their losing streak at Old Trafford to 6 seasons, in a performance that left Arsenal 6th in the Premier Leaguetable, 9 points off the top. Arsenal, frustratingly for everyone connected with the club, showed another stuttering performance against table-topping Schalke 04 in the Champions League. They created a 2–0 lead inside 26 minutes with goals against the run of play, from Theo Walcott (following a mix-up in defence) and Olivier Giroud, however, Schalke deservedly pegged Arsenal back with goals either side of half time, from Dutch striker Huntelaar and PeruvianJefferson Farfán, as the Gunners left Gelsenkirchen with a point. The result, which Theo Walcott said Arsenal would have taken before the game, left Arsenal a point and a place behind Schalke, in a widely open group. 4 days later, Arsenal surrendered another two goal lead, this time created by Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, into a 3–2 deficit following a brace (including a penalty conceded by Arteta) for Dimitar Berbatov and a header from Kačaniklić. Giroud scored in the 69th minute to level the game at 3–3, thus making the game the first time he scored in consecutive games, and two goals in one single game, but the Gunners were denied late on after Mark Schwarzer saved a penalty from Arteta which would have given Arsenal a 4–3 lead in the 90+5th minute. The draw meant Arsenal had won only 1 of the previous 6 Premier League and Champions League games (L,L,W,L,D,D), which piled more pressure on manager Arsène Wenger. With uncanny resemblance to last season, Arsenal entered their first North London derby on the back of a poor run of results, whilst still managing coming out as 5–2 winners against their bitter rivals, who were once again down to ten men. Inside the first 20 minutes, former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor went from 'hero to zero' as he gave Spurs an early lead before getting sent off 9 minutes later. This allowed the Gunners a route back into the game, which eventually came from the unlikely source of Per Mertesacker with his first goal for the club inside 25 minutes. Arsenal then finished the half strongly with goals from Podolski and Giroud to give them a 3–1 lead. In the second half, Arsenal soaked up some early pressure from Tottenham before Santi Cazorla scored when the team were on a magnificent break. Despite Gareth Bale's goal in the 71st minute, Arsenal made their man-advantage count, as Theo Walcott completed the rout 3 minutes from the end. In Arsenal's 5th game of the month, they faced a Montpellier side in poor form, and in a far less entertaining game than the last, Arsenal came out as solid 2–0 winners, with a clean sheet that will give confidence to the club. Two sublime finishes from Jack Wilshere, his first in 725 days, and Lukas Podolski, a left–foot volley reminiscent of former captain van Persie, allowed Arsenal to secure qualification to the knockout stage of the competition, with only the top two places to be settled on the last matchday between the Gunners and Schalke. Arsenal returned to poor form in their next match however, as they played out a dull 0–0 draw with relegation-threatened Aston Villa, meaning the Gunners lost ground yet again on the top 4 sides. Yet again, Arsenal played out an uninspiring draw against fellow Champions League-chasers Everton. The game started well for the Gunners, as Walcott scored inside 52 seconds at Goodison Park, but Marouane Fellaini equalised just before the half-hour mark to level the score at 1–1, and so it stayed until the end, as Arsenal finished November, 7th in the Premier League table.
Arsenal started December with a match against a rejuvenated Swansea City side under Michael Laudrup, in what proved to be a tough test. A brace from Michu late on ensured Arsenal continued their bitterly disappointing run in the Premier League. The loss consigned them to an unwanted record: their worst points total after 15 games for 18 years. Next up was a Champions League visit to Olympiacos. Consecutive losses were on the cards for Arsenal, as they named a weakened 18-man squad ahead of vital Premier League games for the club. Despite taking an 38th minute lead with a low drive from Tomáš Rosický, Arsenal surrendered yet another lead with two goals in under 10 minutes from Maniatis and Mitroglou to give Olympiacos a 2–1 win. Had Arsenal won the game, they would have gone top of the table, as Montpellier managed a draw against Schalke, but instead they finished second, setting up a tough test against Bayern Munich in the last-16. Arsenal's fortunes turned however, in their next match against high-flying West Brom, where a controversial penalty for a perceived dive from Cazorla gifted Arsenal the lead, when it was put down the centre of the goal by Arteta on 26 minutes. Arsenal then doubled their lead, this time on a blatant foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain, with another penalty from Arteta to finish the game 2–0 in Arsenal's favour. It was the Gunners first win in four Premier League games, and it lifted the team up to 7th in the table. However spirits dropped yet again, as a near full-strength Arsenal squad humiliatingly crashed out to League TwoBradford City in the Capital One Cup, 3–2 on penalties, following an 88th minute equaliser by Thomas Vermaelen, who incidentally missed the final penalty. This left Arsenal with interests in 3 competitions. Arsenal then entered the Christmas period, with a Monday night fixture against then-bottom Reading. The match ended in a familiar scoreline that lifted the Arsenal fans; 5–2. Cazorla scored his first hat-trick for the club, and also provided an assist for Walcott's goal, and the fifth of the match; Lukas Podolski opened the scoring inside 15 minutes. Arsenal continued their revival with a solid victory over Wigan Athletic with the Gunners recording 3 consecutive wins for the first time since March last season. An Arteta penalty in the 60th minute gave Arsenal a 1–0 win and raised the team to 4th in the table. Arsenal have a larger break than other teams in the Premier League however, as the West Ham United game was postponed due to a tube strike in the London Underground. Arsenal returned to action in style on 29 December against Newcastle United by emphatically beating the Tyneside team 7–3. Arsenal were never behind in the game, but were pegged-back 3 times by 2 goals from Demba Ba and 1 from Marveaux following goals from Podolski, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott. However following another two goals from Walcott (to complete his hat-trick), and a brace from substitute Giroud, Arsenal rounded off an impressive display to give confidence to the fans ahead of the crucial month January.
Theo Walcott was top scorer of the season at the time he signed his contract
Arsenal started 2013 in disappointing fashion with a result that Wenger called 'undeserved': a 1–1 draw against Southampton. Arsenal were gifted their goal with an own goal from do Prado (Arsenal's third of the season, with the previous two also coming against Southampton), after Gastón Ramírez opened the scoring for the Saints. The result was the last of a four-game winning streak ahead of a tough couple of matches against Premier League champions Manchester City, and European championsChelsea. Arsenal completed their first transfer business of the January transfer window, with the loan of Moroccan striker Chamakh to West Ham United on 4 January 2013. Another loan was announced a day later as Swiss centre-backDjourou joined Hannover. Both players had yet to feature in the Premier League this season for the Gunners, and both deals were for the rest of the season. Arsenal started their FA Cup run against Swansea City in the third round, and following an uneventful first half, the second half sprung into life as both teams scored late on (Podolski and Gibbs for the Gunners, and Danny Graham for Swansea) after Michu opened the scoring in the 58th minute. The final score of 2–2 meant both teams would play a replay. A week later, Arsenal slumped to a controversial yet disappointing loss to the champions Manchester City as Koscielny was sent off in the 9th minute after fouling Edin Džeko in the penalty area. Despite missing the resulting penalty, Džeko and Milner gave City a comfortable 2–0 victory. Vincent Kompany was sent off late in the game leaving both teams with 10 players. The stadium rang out in a chorus of jeering at the final whistle, aimed at both the Gunners and the referee. Arsenal turned their fortunes, however, as they progressed 1–0 winners against Swansea City into the FA Cupfourth round. Jack Wilshere buried a shot from outside the penalty area to keep Arsenal's trophy hopes alive. Arsenal fans soon had further encouragement as striker Theo Walcott signed a new contract with the club, for an undisclosed length of time. Arsène Wenger said he was "delighted" to secure the contract of a "strong player and also a great person". However, soon after, Arsenal were subjected to a second consecutive Premier League loss against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Another poor start resulted in two goals conceded, which was a similar situation as their previous league defeat. Despite Walcott managing to pull one goal back in the second half, the game eventually ended 2–1, leaving Arsenal's hope of finishing in the Top 4 in serious doubt. Some doubt was erased only 3 days later, as 4 goals in 10 early second half minutes meant Arsenal romped to a 5–1 victory over West Ham United in the rescheduled match, originally to have been played on Boxing Day. Two goals from Giroud, and one each from Walcott, Podolski and Cazorla left the Gunners just 4 points off their north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in fourth. Arsenal then progressed into the fifth round of the FA Cup in another thriller 3 days later, with a 3–2 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the AMEX stadium. Giroud scored yet another brace, and Walcott scored once to increase his goal tally to 17 for the season, as Arsenal set up a tie against Championship side Blackburn Rovers in the next round. Back in the Premier League, Arsenal continued their increasingly frustrating habit of starting games slowly, going 2–0 behind against Liverpool inside an hour thanks to goals from Luis Suárez and Henderson. However, two goals in quick succession from in-form strikers Giroud and Walcott battled Arsenal back to a 2–2 draw. Giroud spurned a late chance to collect a hat-trick of braces and win the game for the Gunners. Following an injury picked up by Kieran Gibbs in that game, Arsenal rushed to complete a late signing of Spanish international left-back Nacho Monreal from Málaga on deadline day, for an undisclosed contract length and fee (thought to be around £8.5 million), though disappointed Gunners fans by not making a move for linked Barcelona striker David Villa.
Arsenal started February solidly, with a commanding yet disciplined performance against Stoke City. A deflected free kick from Lukas Podolski late in the game and a brilliant display from debutant Monreal, left the Gunners in a promising position as teams around them dropped points. For the first time in 6 attempts, Arsenal climbed the table to 5th with a 1–0 win over Sunderland. Arsenal had plenty of chances throughout the first half and parts of the second, and Sunderland had the chance to equalise in the second half, but it was Cazorla's 9th goal of the season that was the difference of the two teams. Shortly thereafter, Arsenal announced the loan departure of left-back André Santos to Brazilian club Grêmio until the end of the season. This came after the signing of Spanish international Monreal pushed Santos further down the pecking order. With an upcoming fixture in the Champions League, it was believed that Vermaelen or Gibbs would have to return to play left-back. Despite the strong start to the month, Arsenal crashed out of the FA Cup with a disappointing 1–0 loss to Championship club Blackburn Rovers. Although their opponents only had three shots on target, Arsenal rued not putting their chances away throughout the game, and left themselves with little hope of ending their trophy drought this season. Three days later, Arsenal resumed their Champions League campaign with a Round of 16 clash against Bayern Munich. In the first leg of a very challenging tie at the Emirates Stadium, they slumped to a 3–1 first-leg defeat, with Podolski scoring against his old club to give Arsenal a slight chance (albeit needing 3 goals in the Allianz Arena) in the second leg. Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Mario Mandžukić scored for Bayern. Needing to lift the fans, Arsenal played relegation-threatened Aston Villa in sight of a third straight win in the Premier League. Arsenal did so with a brace from Santi Cazorla either side of a Weimann equaliser to stay four points adrift of North-London rivals Tottenham Hotspur who they played the following Sunday.
However, the North London derby ended in bitter disappointment for the "red side of North London" as Tottenham ran out 2–1 following two goals in quick succession from Bale and Lennon late in the first-half, one of which being eventually cancelled out by Mertesacker's second goal for the club (both were against Tottenham this season). Arsenal then had a 10-day wait before their return leg in the Champions League, due to Everton's participation in the FA Cup. Though many resigned the Gunners to defeat, Arsenal had a valiant attempt to knock out their German opponents by winning 2–0 on the night (with a goal inside the first 3 minutes from Giroud and a goal in the last 3 minutes of the game from Koscielny), crashing out on away goals. However, they were the first team to defeat Bayern at the Allianz Arena this season and the first team not to concede against Bayern all season giving huge confidence to the team both defensively and offensively in the final 10 "cup-finals" of the Premier League season. Arsenal stepped up once again to Wenger's rallying calls, as Arsenal recorded a second consecutive 2–0 victory in a tough encounter at the Liberty Stadium against Swansea City. Goals in the second half from Nacho Monreal, his first for the club, and Gervinho kept Arsenal's top-four hopes alive. Arsenal's next match was after the international break, against a struggling Reading side who Arsenal had already scored 12 goals in 2 matches against this season (in all competitions). Arsenal made it 12 wins in all 12 games against Reading as goals from Gervinho, Cazorla, Giroud and Arteta ensured the Gunners ran out 4–1 winners (with Robson-Kanu pulling one back for the Royals) and kept up their chase for the top 4.
Laurent Koscielny again scored the crucial goal in Arsenal's final match of the season, similar to last season, that secured Arsenal's top four spot
Along with news that Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott were to return from injury soon, Arsenal fans were given more to cheer about as a spirited performance following Metersacker's sending off against West Bromwich Albion lifted the Gunners temporarily up to fourth in the table. Two goals from Tomáš Rosický put Arsenal in a commanding position but a penalty scored by James Morrison on 71 minutes made for a nervy end as Arsenal eventually ran out 2–1 winners at The Hawthorns. Arsenal then started a period of 3 games in a week against Norwich City, as a spirited comeback in the last 7 minutes of the match ensured Arsenal went third in the Premier League table. Michael Turner opened the scoring for Norwich from a set piece but a trio of goals (including a controversial penalty) was scored by Arteta, Giroud and Podolski, as the Gunners ran out 3–1 winners. Their next match was against fellow Champions League-chasers Everton, and after early Everton pressure Arsenal settled into the match, but was ultimately unable to score for the first time in 12 games, in a match that ended 0–0. The Gunners resumed their top 4 fight in a derby against Fulham that saw two men sent off (Sidwell for Fulham and Giroud for Arsenal, who later lost his appeal for it to be rescinded) and an unlikely scorer in Per Mertesacker, as Arsenal won 1–0. Following a guard of honour to the newly crowned champions, Arsenal faced a Manchester United side with former-captain van Persie in tow. Theo Walcott scored early as Arsenal showed early signs of brilliance, but the goal was later cancelled out by a penalty, conceded by Sagna, from Robin van Persie. The match ended 1–1.
Arsenal entered a crucial period of the season with a game against newly relegated Queens Park Rangers, as Tottenham and Chelsea would play their game in hand against each other, leaving a straight battle to the top 4 Champions League qualification spots. Walcott again got the Gunners off to the perfect start with the fastest goal in the Premier League season so far, as well as the 12th fastest goal in Premier League history, after he put the Gunners ahead after 20 seconds. However the game petered out, but it increased Arsenal's unbeaten run to 8 games, as the Gunners ran out 1–0 winners. Arsenal had a 10-day before their final home game of the season against newly crowned FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic in what proved to be a crucial game at both ends of the Premier League table. The game was won 4–1 by the Gunners, after goals from Podolski (2), Walcott and Ramsey cancelled out Maloney's free-kick strike. Wigan were subsequently relegated after an 8-year stay in the Premier League, whilst Arsenal left their top 4 faith in their own hands by staying 1 point above rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Although the result also presented an opportunity for an unprecedented 'third place play-off', this was not needed following a Chelsea win over Everton, however Arsenal secured fourth spot as a 1–0 win over Newcastle United (scored by Laurent Koscielny) meant Arsenal finished the season on 73 points, 3 more than the previous season, and 1 more above rivals Tottenham.
Following the season's completion, Arsenal revealed their top 4 players of the season as voted for by Arsenal football club members. In fourth place came Spaniard Mikel Arteta for his consistent performances in the middle of the midfield (which included recording the second highest number of passes in the campaign: 2750 at a 92% success rate) with 5% of the votes. In third came Arsenal's top scorer Theo Walcott, whose tally of 21 goals in all competitions bettered that of any of his previous seasons at the club. He also held the feat of most assists of the campaign in an Arsenal shirt, as he deservedly claimed 12.7% of the votes. In second place came Laurent Koscielny after taking over from captain Thomas Vermaelen as a main-stay in the heart of Arsenal's defence. A number of assured performances that included conceded only 5 goals in the final 10 games of the season handed the French defender 13.5% of all the votes. Lastly, Arsenal's "Player of season" award went to Spaniard Santi Cazorla, who Arsène Wenger described as "the perfect footballer". With 12 goals and 14 assists, Cazorla announced his arrival in English football with a bang, as he ran away with 55.7% of the votes in the club poll.
Overall, the Gunners had a reasonably successful Premier League campaign although they failed to end the trophy drought. At the season's end, Arsene Wenger promised to make some big signings and spend to get world-class players to help them challenge for trophies in the following seasons.
30 October: Arsenal recorded victory in the League Cup to a record-breaking 7–5 scoreline at the Madjeski Stadium, having been 4–0 down initially. The game had the most goals ever scored in a single League Cup match (12).
11 December: Arsenal crashed out of the League Cup after losing 3–2 on penalties to League Two side Bradford City; the first time in the club's history that a lower-league club knocked out the Gunners in the competition.
13 March: Arsenal's UEFA Champions League campaign came to a valiant end after a 2–0 win in Bavaria meant Arsenal lost out on the away goals rule (following a 3–1 first leg loss). It resigned the Gunners to an eight successive trophy-less season.
28 March: Arsenal announce that French midfielder Abou Diaby tore his anterior cruciate ligament in training and will subsequently face up to 9 months out as a result.
23 April: The FA announce that Arsenal's appeal against Giroud's red card against Fulham (20 March) is rejected, thus condemning the striker to the usual three-match ban
31 May: Arsenal announced, via a club member's poll, that the Player of the Season was Spaniard Santi Cazorla for his performances in both the midfield and front three. He was followed by defender Laurent Koscielny in 2nd, top scorer Theo Walcott in 3rd and fellow Spaniard Mikel Arteta in 4th.
Nike released new set of kits for Arsenal this season.
Home Arsenal's home kit, revealed on 7 May 2012, was introduced with blue detail on the sleeves and socks being inspired by the home kit socks worn by Arsenal in the 1930s under club legend, Herbert Chapman, whilst also maintaining the colours Arsenal are known for: red and white. The original decision that transformed Arsenal's kit from an all red shirt to one with white sleeves and blue hoops came from Chapman's innovation to increase player visibility, and it has stuck with the club from then on. Arsenal also revealed that the kit would be used for two seasons.
Away As for the away kit, was revealed on 12 July, with the much speculated purple and black hooped kit being officially confirmed. Though the kit received mixed receptions, the reason behind the kit was to commemorate Arsenal's past, enhancing the 'royal' theme from the Diamond Jubilee to remind Arsenal fans of the Royal Arsenal that once existed through the colour purple. However the retro design of the black hoops and red trim on the sleeves gave the kit a modern and unique flavour to distinguish the club from others in the Premier League.
Third Arsenal's yellow and maroon 2010–11 away strip was retained as a third kit again.
Keeper There were three goalkeeper kits, which were based on Nike's three-tone template. The main strip was green, but the pink and gold goalkeeper kits were available.
Last updated: 19 May 2013
Source: Competitive match reports.
Competitive matches only
Matches started as captain only Country: FIFA nationality; No.: Squad number; P: Position; Name: Player name; No. Games: Number of games started as captain.
Updated to games played on 19 May 2013.
Source: Barclays Premier League
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) goal difference; 3) number of goals scored. (C) = Champion; (R) = Relegated; (P) = Promoted; (E) = Eliminated; (O) = Play-off winner; (A) = Advances to a further round.
Only applicable when the season is not finished: (Q) = Qualified to the phase of tournament indicated; (TQ) = Qualified to tournament, but not yet to the particular phase indicated; (RQ) = Qualified to the relegation tournament indicated; (DQ) = Disqualified from tournament.
Last updated: 19 May 2013.
Source: Competitive Matches Ground: A = Away; H = Home. Result: D = Draw; L = Lose; W = Win; P = Postponed. 1 Matchday 19 (vs. West Ham United) was postponed due to a Tube strike on Boxing Day. Subsequently the match was played 23 January 2013 at 19:45. 2 Matchday 29 (vs. Everton) was postponed due to Everton's participation in the FA Cup quarter-final. Subsequently the match was played on 16 April 2013 at 19:45.