Arsenal in 2011: Beating Barca simply the best

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The New Year may have started badly for Arsenal after their defeat to Fulham last night, but manager Arsene Wenger still has plenty of positives to look back on in 2011.

And no performance was better than the Gunners' 2-1 victory over Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium back in February, with the Frenchman proclaiming the victory as his side's best in their new stadium era.

"The game against Barcelona was maybe the best game we have ever played on the football pitch here. For me, that was the highlight," Wenger told the official Arsenal website when asked about his highlight of the past 12 months.

"When I look back, it was not the easiest year of my career. The end of last [season] was even more difficult than the rocky time we had at the beginning of this season because it was all doom and gloom, only negatives.

"This season we had a very tough time too, but we had something in front of us, we could still fight for something."

In a year when Robin Van Persie broke the club's all-time goals record in a single year, it's unsurprising that the Dutchman played a part in the 2-1 win over Pep Guardiola's side, and also in a handful of other fine moments in the past 12 months.

So, here are three other great Arsenal memories from 2011:

1. Chelsea 3-5 Arsenal

After an opening few months of disappointment in north London, Wenger's side showed they were well and truly over their early-season slump with a scintilating victory at Stamford Bridge.

In a match that swung dramatically on a number of occasions, it was Van Persie (3), Theo Walcott and Andre Santos who made the difference on the scoresheet in a Premier League classic.

2. Udinese 1-2 Arsenal

Despite winning the first leg 1-0, an inexperienced Arsenal side found their backs against the wall in Italy after going behind to Antonio Di Natale's first-half header.

However, Van Persie's equaliser, Wojciech Szczesny's penalty save just minutes later and Walcott's winner made it a famour night against the Zebrete and secured a precious place in the Champions League group stages.

3. Arsenal 1-0 Manchester United

Aaron Ramsey's second-half strike proved the difference against the eventual champions, and gave hope to the chasing pack in the title race in May.

Whilst a poor run of results followed, the Gunners showed they were capable of competing against English football's top team during the campaign.

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