2010/11 Season Awards
There’s so much going on in the Arsenal World with player departures and likely arrivals making waves everywhere. The prime suspects that may have new employers at the start of next season are Denilson, Almunia, Squillaci, Vela, Bendtner, Clichy, Nasri, Arshavin and Fabregas while their likely replacements are Parker, Falcao, Benzema, Sakho, Chuck Bass, Tomasz, Enigma106 and Captain America. I’ll continue to update my readers as every story unfolds but today’s post will be dedicated to my esteemed readers that voted in the polls I created in the blog’s Facebook page.
At the end of every season, I’ll write a season review like the one I wrote yesterday. This will be followed by a special Gooner Daily awards article that’ll make me re-live those moments that made gooners Worldwide to enter states of euphoria and elation or states of despair and frustration.
Gooner Daily will publish a list of its personal awards for the Gunners in that season. There are awards for the good, the bad and the ugly.
The criteria include:
Save of the season
Goalkeeping blunder of the season
Assist of the season
Goal of the season
Match of the season
Worst match of the season
Most improved player of the season
Worst player of the season
Player of the season
Gooner Daily XI of the season
Each criterion will have a top three listing from the 3rd to the 1st.
SAVE OF THE SEASON
In football, the goalie stands out as the backbone of any team. He’s the leader of the defensive orchestra. He can be the difference between 3 points and 1 point. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top 3.
3. Wojciech Szczesny against Sunderland (5th March, 2011): Arsenal pressed and probed Sunderland for that elusive match opener that never came but at the other end of the pitch, Welbeck had a chance to hand the visitors all 3 points but Szczesny pulled off a magnificent save.
2. Wojciech Szczesny against Man Utd (13th December, 2011): This was Szczesny’s first league appearance in Arsenal colours and he performed admirably in a game where Arsenal’s outfield players were found wanting. Rooney was through on goal and noticed that Szczesny was off his line so he attempted an impudent chip that was saved by Arsenal’s goalie.
1. Fabianski against the Wolves (9th November, 2010): In a game we found ourselves at the back foot throughout the game, Fabianski pulled out a save of the highest quality in the dying moments of the game. With Arsenal leading by a lone goal with seconds to spare, a low drive to the bottom corner was saved by Fabianski’s left hand. The best part of it all was that his long throw led to a quick counter attack which saw the gunners go 2 up thanks to Chamakh
GOALKEEPING BLUNDER OF THE SEASON
This is definitely not a nice award to have but as a true gooner, you have to accept the fact that the “good” goes hand-in-hand with the “bad”. In football, a lapse of concentration from a goalie will not go unpunished. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top 3.
3. Manuel Almunia against West Brom (25th September, 2010): This was the game that made Almunia lose his place in the starting lineup. Chris Brunt played the ball through to Jara who was faced with two obvious choices, to cross or to shoot. The bloke gave Almunia a simple cushioned ball but it somehow passed the goalie into the net.
2. Wojciech Szczesny against Birmingham (27th February, 2011): In probably the most important night of Szczesny and Koscielny’s career, both players got involved in a bad communication error that made both lose the ball on the 89th minute to Martins. The rest they say is history.
3. Manuel Almunia against West Brom (19th March, 2011): For no reason explainable to man, Almunia ran out of his box to attack the ball like a robot whose control chip became dysfunctional when Arsenal visited the Hawthorns. Odemwingie controlled the ball and evaded Squillaci. Almunia then “pushed” the Squisha out of the way like he knew what he was doing. Odemwingie had the simplest of tasks by planting the ball into an unguarded net. Pathetic.
ASSIST OF THE SEASON
A bullet can never be fired if the “gunpowder” isn’t supplied. These are the 3 passes that cut through the opponent’s defense like a hot knife through butter. It’s not surprising that one man stands out from the crowd. Mr. Creativity himself…Francesc Fabregas. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top 3.
3. Fabregas for Nasri against Tottenham (20th November, 2010): In a game where Arsenal’s first half was simply stunning before they conspired to lose the game. El Capitan pulled all the strings in the midfield. Seconds after spotting Nasri, he sent a delightful diagonal through pass to his teammate. The goal wasn’t the cleanest thing you would ever see but it made the fans sing “One-Nil to the Arsenal”
2. Fabregas for Vela against Bolton (11th September, 2010): After exchanging 22 passes, number 23 arrived at El-Capitan’s feet. While everyone expected a shot or another “Ole”, he lobbed the ball beautifully to the Aztec Warriors path. Vela finished it off with a lovely placed finish.
1. Fabregas for van Persie against Wigan (22th January, 2011): In a game that’ll go down as a personal landmark for Robin van Persie, Gooner Daily’s assist of the season goes to the assist Fabregas made for rVp’s second goal. He noticed the striker’s off the ball movement then sent a well weighted diagonal through ball that was finished superbly by the flying Dutchman
GOAL OF THE SEASON
Goals are the very essence of football. One goal is enough to get you 3 points in a match provided you are rock solid and water-tight at the back. These are the 3 goals Gooner Daily felt stood out from the crowd in 2010/11 season.
3. Nicklas Bendtner against Ipswich Town (26th January, 2010): Wilshere who was simply faultless in that game sent another delicious long ball to the rangy Dane. He used his technique to bring the ball under control, cut inside the area then curled the ball past Fulop. That was a goal made in dreams.
2. Samir Nasri against Fulham (4th December, 2010): Nasri left two Fulham defenders on their backsides before thumping home with his left foot from close range.
1. Robin van Persie against Barcelona (16th February, 2011): Arsenal’s equalizer came from the man whose form is as hot as supernova. Clichy overlapped well but saw that there was a little opening for rVp. He played a clever chip to rVp path. Everybody including me thought it was going to be one of rVp’s “twist and turn” moments. The intelligent Dutch noticed that Victor Valdes left a very minute gap on his near post so he lashed a shot from an impossible angle that beat Victor V on his near post. It was definitely the goal of the season by my book.
MATCH OF THE SEASON
This award goes to the games that’ll be fondly remembered by gooners for years to come.
3. Tottenham 3 Arsenal 3 (Walcott, Nasri, van Persie) (20th April, 2011): Both teams needed a victory to challenge for their targets so a draw didn’t help their cause but the game was enthralling and entertaining for those neutral football lovers.
2. Arsenal 3 Chelsea 1 (Song, Fabregas, Walcott) (26th December, 2010): This game was definitely one of the high points of a season that ended on a low. Arsenal enjoyed a 9 day break the postponement the Stoke Rugby FC game caused to be fresh enough to see off an aging Chelsea side.
1. Arsenal 2 Barcelona 1 (van Persie, Arshavin) (16th February, 2011): This is one game I’m going to tell my kids when they grow up. No team in La Liga had won Barcelona after they had scored 1st but Arsenal broke their jinx and gave Arsenal fans a night to remember.
WORST MATCH OF THE SEASON
As I wrote earlier, the good goes hand-in-hand with the bad. Here are the 3 games Gooner Daily felt perplexed and vexed when watching. A true waste of hard earned currency.
3. Stoke Rugby FC 3 Arsenal 1 (7th May, 2011): That was one of the poorest Arsenal games I’ve ever watched, Djourou picked the wrong game to give AW concerns. They didn’t play that good, Arsenal was that poor.
2. Arsenal 2 Tottenham 3 (20th November, 2010): After a scintillating first half display, the World’s best left footed Chimpanzee, vdV and a Kab driver ensured that Tottenham FC’s 67 game winless streak against the “big Four” came to an end.
3. Arsenal 1 Birmingham 2 (27th February, 2011): The most realistic chance Arsenal had of winning a trophy was blown to bits thanks to a self-inflicted wound by Koscielny and Szczesny.
MOST IMPROVED PLAYER OF THE SEASON
AW is known for being one of football’s greatest “alchemists”, he has turned a lot of footballers from their raw horrible state to World Class status. One of his greatest protégées missed out on the greatest individual award for football in 2004 and 2005. Here are the 3 players Gooner Daily felt that AW converted from lead to gold in 2010.
3. Wojciech Szszesny: Szczesny virtually ‘talked’ his way into the squad and has done very well making some very commanding performances. I still do not know who Arsenal’s number 1 will be next season because Fabianski also did well when he claimed the number 1 spot from Almunia before getting injured.
2. Johan Djourou: Djourou probably started the season as Arsenal’s 4th choice defender but injuries paved the way for the Swiss bloke to strut his stuff and he repaid AW with a series of solid performances that was probably a factor why AW didn’t sign a player in the winter transfer window.
1. Jack Wilshere: This lad is definitely the best thing that has happened to England in 2010. He was so good that there were calls for the 19 year old teenager to board the plane to South Africa at the end of last season. His loan spell at Bolton was the turning point in his young career. There were a lot of fans that wanted him to have a second spell with Bolton but AW saw sitting down what no Arsenal fan could see standing……………the Future. With our new 4-2-3-1 formation, Wilshere is a regular starter and he has surpassed everybody’s expectation. To think he’s just 19. He crowned it all by winning the PFA Young player of the Year award.
MOST DISAPPOINTING PLAYER OF THE SEASON
It’s one thing to have a bad day at the office. It’s another thing to produce inconsistent performances consistently. Here’s Gooner Daily’s top 3 count down for Arsenal’s most disappointing players in the 2010/11 season.
3. Sebastien Squillaci: The nomad was bought for a meagre sum and was more or less regarded as a backup player but he has been largely disappointing in his handful of appearances he made this season. He also scored 3 goals in his Arsenal career and they have all been headers. 2 ended up in the opposition’s goal, 1 in Fabianski’s goal. Cygan and Silvestre did it before him so he just had to follow suit.
2. Denilson Perreira Neves: This has been the Brazilian’s worst season in Arsenal. He has even said it himself. The bloke has been restricted to substitute appearances in the league and some cup games too but he hasn’t done himself any good with his consistent lethargic displays. If he ever opens up a Twitter account, I believe that he’ll get more abuses than Darron Gibson.
1. Andrei Arshavin: He came to Arsenal on the back of a splendid European Championship tournament and a good UEFA Cup campaign. The highest point in his Arsenal career is undoubtedly the 4 goal outing he had in Anfield. We all hoped that there was more to come but the 2010/11 season will be a year AA23 won’t remember fondly. He has played very poorly this season but he scored 10 goals and has been a creative force in the club in terms of assists. He’s not getting any younger and if he carries this sort of form when he reaches the 30-year old mark, he’ll definitely be shipped out. Zenit are knocking on his door but I still hope that he’ll stay.
PLAYER OF THE SEASON
This is definitely the best award a player can add to his CV. The award shows that out of a squad containing over 30 players, 3 players stand out. The 2010/11 campaign was a very good season for 3 gunners. They are:
3. Samir Nasri: Fabregas spent a considerable amount of time injured this season so the Mr. Creativity role fell to Nasri. Nasri has been excellent this season with the amount of goals he has scored surpassing the goals he scored in his two previous seasons. He also showed at the tail end of 2010 that Arsenal is not a “One-Man club”. Congratulations to him because his breathtaking displays earned him the “French footballer of the Year” award.
2. Robin van Persie: He was out injured for a long while in the start of the season but he took 2011 by storm scoring 21 goals with 18 in the league and 3 more in the other competitions football offered. If van Persie stayed fit throughout the season, it would have been a different outcome for the Gunners. It’s also heart warming to know that he can always be relied upon to hit the back of the net for years to come.
1. Jack Wilshere: After a successful loan spell at Bolton, AW unleashed Wilshere to the World in the 2010/11 campaign. Wilshere has been so consistent that it earned him a call up in the English National team. He has gone to the National team and has made the holding role his. At the tail end of the season, Wilshere has in the middle of a tug of War with AW on one end and Stuart Pearce on the other. It’s beyond doubt that the Gooner Daily best player award for 2010 goes to El Capitan.
GOONERDAILY XI OF THE SEASON
This is the final award in this season’s edition. It goes to 11 players that gave Arsenal everything even if they ended in another trophyless campaign. The Gooner Daily XI award will be given on account of Arsenal’s 4-2-3-1 formation.
GOALIE OF THE SEASON
Wojciech Szczesny: Since taking over from Fabianski in December, Szczesny has been phenomenal. I believe that Arsenal wouldn’t have been demolished by Barca or Man Utd if Szczesny kept. It’s really painful to know that he got injured when he was needed by the club. Szczesny will definitely give AW a cause for concern about who’ll be Arsenal’s top goalie next season.
LEFT BACK OF THE SEASON
Gael Clichy: Like I have a choice! Clichy doesn’t really have contenders for his position so complacency has crept into his game. I can’t still deny the fact that on his day he can be very good. His right footed assist to Song against West Ham can never be forgotten because it handed us 3 valuable points.
RIGHT BACK OF THE SEASON
Bacary Sagna: He was probably the most consistent performer of the 2010/11 campaign. His interceptions and goals were absolutely vital this season. He also put in a lion’s share of good crosses.
CENTER BACK OF THE SEASON
Johan Djourou: The Swiss brick wall was a strong tower for Arsenal this season. The ‘over the top’ tactic used against Arsenal was quelled due to the aerial prowess of the defender. With talk of a new defender coming in, Djourou will have to be on his toes because he also showed his weakness in some matches with the game at Stoke and Bolton amongst others.
CENTER BACK OF THE SEASON
Laurent Koscielny: We all know the AW has a thing for French footballers. What the hell!……..he’s French. His stronghold and scouting ability in Ligue 1 has been a revelation for Arsenal FC. He doesn’t just bring the best French footballers to the club; he gets them at relatively cheap prices. With the exit of the Mercenary Gallas, Junkie Kolo, Send Errors and the BeansHeaded old hag, it was evident that our defense was in dire in of manpower. While the media were at it linking us to defenders from the Milky Way, AW went to Lorient FC to have a little chat with Yoann Gourcuff’s father. For a fee of £8.25m, AW revealed another intelligent defender to the footballing world. He might not be the strongest of players you will ever see, but Kos100%tackle’s ability to read the mind of an opponent and anticipate the ball with pinpoint accuracy is simply marvellous.
HOLDING MIDFIELDER OF THE SEASON
Alexandre Song: The most shocking thing about Song is that he’s just 23. This simply means that he’ll probably rule our defensive midfield for 10 more years if he continues to work as hard as he did this 2010. With the exit of all renowned defensive midfielders in Arsenal, the panic button was pressed so hard by the fans that it sprang out of the remote control. AW simply told the fans that everything was under control. If AW had buckled under the intense pressure and opened Arsenal’s cheque book to buy a new defensive midfielder, the World could have been denied the viewing pleasure of Arsenal’s African diamond, Song. He did his “dirty” job using a “clean” style. His key attributes in 2010 were technique, first touch, tackling, strength, work rate, stamina, anticipation and a canny eye for goal. These are the attributes you search for when buying a defensive midfielder in Football Manager.
HOLDING MIDFIELDER OF THE SEASON
Jack Wilshere: This is one player Arsenal FC can clearly brag about. A raw product of our impressive youth academy. Our academy is probably the best on Earth. The only academy better than ours is in another galaxy. The BarcAlien Mutant Academy. After spending a lot of time disgracing his elders in the Reserve League, AW decided that it was time for him to step up his game. At the milky age of 18, he was sent to a club that has monsters like the Elbow Man Kevin Davies. His spell there was so impressive to the extent of Bolton “ass-kissing” AW for him to have a second spell. We as fans thought that a second loan spell would be in the club’s best interest but AW slotted him into the holding role in our impressive formation. Whizkhid has been very outstanding this season. His commitment to the cause could make officials do the MRI scan on him again because he does not play like the average 19-year old. He just signed a new contract that would keep him in the club for all eternity. That’s definitely okay by me. It’s also warming to know that he’s the best young player in the business from the Premier League’s perspective.
ATTACKING MIDFIELDER OF THE SEASON
Cesc Fabregas: El Capitan is definitely the next best thing after Thierry Henry. He came all the way from Krypton and was shown the light by AW the Alchemist. He is one of the most selfless footballers in the galaxy. He is very level headed, a true professional to the very bone. As for his passing ability….you wouldn’t blame him. In his days at Krypton with the BarcAlien Mutant Academy, he played “intergalactic soccer” with the rest of the Aliens all over the galaxy. He could be in Venus yet give a through pass to his teammate in Jupiter. Once in a while you’ll have to thank your “lucky stars” for some events that happened. If Krypton still remained in the Milky Way, we may never have gotten the chance to “steal” El Capitan. El Capitan has asserted himself in the hearts of Arsenal fans worldwide with his performances in the 2009/10 campaign. The goals and assists came like coins falling out of a miser’s sack. His hamstring has been a major worry for him this season.
LEFT WINGER OF THE SEASON
Samir Nasri: Nasri came into Arsenal as the right replacement for Alex Hleb. He adapted nicely and scored on his debut. His second season started horribly with an injury inflicted by Abou Diaby. 2010 however has been the year of Nasri. He did well as El Capitan’s replacement in the early part of 2010 then spent the summer holidays at home instead of going to South Africa. This act activated a hidden monster within. Nasri’s newly found confidence and eye for goal was one of the highlight of our 2010/11 campaign. He even started his own Super Snood adventure. The goals he has scored this season have been very amazing. He opened his account with two penalties against Tottenham. He notched up 15 goals so far, thereby surpassing his total amount in his last two seasons with the club.
RIGHT WINGER OF THE SEASON
Theo Walcott: Theo Walcott has matured massively as a player and has added certain attributes to his game. He is widely regarded as a speed merchant but this season he has added goals, assists, composure and tactical dribbling to his game. He showed up with the goods this season in some games and has been very impressive at the turn of 2011.
CENTER FORWARD OF THE SEASON
Robin van Persie: rVp should be highly regarded as the most lethal striker in the business this season because he scored almost half the goals Messi and Ronaldo scored in just 5 footballing months. Provided he stays fit next season, rVp will definitely surpass the 30-goal mark. That’s if he stays fit though.
Thanks for reading today’s post.
I guess I’ll have to continue writing about the stories dominating the Arsenal World from tomorrow. :(