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Reasons Why Arsenal Will Miss Alex Song

Another gem gone…Sad

“Song leaving Arsenal is good riddance to bad rubbish. The Cameroonian is a disruptive influence in the Gunners’ ranks. It’s my belief that players should wear the jersey of Arsenal with pride, Song’s heart was no longer at Arsenal, he was already dreaming of Catalonaia, Wenger reveled that Song desired Barca move. Why keep him if he wanted to leave? Song had few years left on his deal and if Wenger had not sold him this summer, he would have stalled on a new contract and next summer, he would have arm-twisted the club into a sale and at that time, Arsenal might not have recouped so much from the high handed Barcelona.” – Song’s Exit Good for the club and here’s why

“So while Alex Song certainly had his moments during his time with the Gunners, no crown jewel has been plucked from Arsene Wenger’s hands, either. Ultimately, Song became a jack of all trades, yet a true master of none, and that’s just what Barcelona are getting for their £15 million.” – Alex Song: Why Arsenal won’t really miss the Barcelona-bound midfielder.

These are great articles nonetheless, but they have seen the light of day in the wake of Song’s move to Barcelona. Arsenal.com has confirmed that the Cameroonian has agreed terms with Barcelona and has jetted off to Spain for his medical. It’s believed that a £17m move is on the cards.

Last Spring, the Daily Mail published an article about Arsenal offering Song a bumper offer to commit his long-term future to the club. It was supposed to be a contract worth £75,000 per week, and the good news was music to the ears of many Arsenal fans.

Song joined Arsenal in 2006 from SC Bastia but he was loaned to Charlton shortly afterwards to get some playing time. With the likes of Gilberto Silva, Mathieu Flamini, Denilson and Lassana Diarra ahead of him, the chances of Song getting playing time were slim to none.

In Arsenal’s impressive 2007/08 Premier League campaign, Song watched from the sidelines as Fabregas and Flamini forged a telepathic understanding on the pitch. However, the Flanimal’s exit to AC Milan paved the way for the young Cameroonian, and he became Arsenal’s chief enforcer, amassing 48 appearances in his breakthrough season.

Song went on to become synonymous with a starting berth in subsequent seasons and his star shone the brightest in the 2011/12 season. I’m not ignorant to the fact that he wasn’t too impressive in his “primary job” last season, but we should remember vividly that he probably played to Arsene Wenger’s instructions.

If I take you down memory lane in the days when Song looked like a hybrid between Abel Xavier and Djibril Cisse, he was the water carrier of the team and he allowed the more creative players like Fabregas to their thing with the confidence that he was going to break up play like Flamini before him. Song’s performances in the 2009/10 season were so impressive, Arsenal wasted no time in handing him a long-term deal that was to expire in 2014.

When Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri departed last summer, the panic button was pressed so hard, it sprang out of it’s remote control. The subsequent games following their departure didn’t help matters at all as the Gunners slumped at home to Liverpool before suffering a humiliating 8-2 defeat to Manchester United.

The burden of creativity fell on the shoulders of Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky but it seemed like a burden to big to bear before Alex Song stepped into the picture. Song is showing promise beyond his years, but last season proved that Aaron Ramsey is not yet ready to be the top playmaker at a big club such as Arsenal.

With the likes of Yossi Benayoun, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Tomas Rosicky all struggling to find that killer through pass to the in-form Van Persie and the rest of the forward line, Alex Song stepped up his game to become the club’s chief midfield playmaker while also performing his defensive duties to his usual high standard.

Last season, Alex Song became  a potent force in Arsenal’s attack and he created 14 assists, with a considerable chunk of them for Robin van Persie.

His defense-splitting pass to van Persie against Norwich was sumptuous to say the least. Van Persie finished it off with a cheeky lob over the Norwich goalie. He invoked the spirit of Lionel Messi when Arsenal hosted Dortmund by taking on some defenders before crossing the ball for RVP that sent his header goalwards.

When the chips were down against the Merseysiders (Everton at Emirates and Liverpool at Anfield), Alex Song supplied two similar perfect projectiles for van Persie and Arsenal’s captain finished both efforts in the same magnificent similar fashion.

Van Persie hasn’t been the only player that benefited from Song’s attacking verve on the final third. In the FA Cup third Round clash against Leeds United, Song played a wonderful through ball past four Leeds United players to the returning legend, Thierry Henry and the rest was history. Song has also supplied two sublime assists for Theo Walcott against Tottenham and Aston Villa.

Statistics also showed the class apart Alex Song is from the rest of his peers in Arsenal’s midfield last season.

In his last season at Arsenal, Fabregas made 36 apps, scored nine goals and created 17 assists making him a standout performer. $amir Na$ri on the other hand, made 46 apps, scored 15 goals and supplied 5 assists.

Yossi Benayoun made 25 apps, scored six goals and has handed only one assist to Gervinho against Wolves. Tomas Rosicky made 38 apps, scored two goals and despite his amazing passing range, he supplied a meager amount of six assists.

Mikel Arteta has made 36 apps, smashed in six goals and created three assists. Aaron Ramsey has notched up 44 apps, scored three goals and created eight assists.

Last season, Alex Song was the most creative defensive midfielder in Europe with more assists than Xabi Alonso (2), Sergi Busquets (2), Scotty Parker (1), Mark van Bommel (0) and Felipe Melo (0) put together. These stats prove that Song isn’t your average defensive midfielder and it’s fair to say that more or less a deep-lying playmaker, a role manned by the great Andrea Pirlo.

Alex Song’s effectiveness in the attacking third became a key part of Arsenal’s style of play and his over-the-top projectiles have become his registered trademark.

However, Arsenal took onto the pitch on Saturday with a new look midfield in the form of Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby (the player occupying Song’s role).

Like Song last season, Diaby forayed forward (making Arteta cover his tracks in midfield) but his output was as expected – zero. There were times when the lanky French man dwelt on the ball far too long, and the causes from the Arsenal fans I watched the game with started creeping in.

If we want to be frank with ourselves, our midfield would have fared better if Song played in Diaby’s stead because he might have launched on of his trademark projectiles for Olivier Giroud, a striker renowned to be good with the ball in the air and at his feet.

There is so much talk about Nuri Sahin, and I truly hope that these rumors become a reality because Arsenal can make do with another technically-gifted midfielder with an eagle-eye for a pass.

After serving Arsenal Football Club for six years, Song notched up 204 appearances, scored 10 goals and supplied 24 assists.

Say what you want about the Cameroonian, but Song was one of Arsenal’s most consistent players in recent seasons. You can’t possibly think Arsenal won’t miss him. That’s just denial.

Arsenal it was, Arsenal it is and Arsenal it will always be.

Sayonara.

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Injuries, Interlull and Transfer Speculation

Arsenal star Alex Song

With the Premier League just a stone throw away, a set of friendly fixtures have been scheduled to take place in midweek, and Arsenal has sent its fair share of ambassadors to represent their nations. Among the friendly games, there are no much mouthwatering prospects but a repeat of the European Championships quarterfinal fixture between England and Italy will be worth half an eye.

For what its worth, there’ll be no penalty shoot-out to decide England’s fate this time. The last time I checked, there are three certainties in life; death, taxes and England losing on penalties.

However, some Gunners have been forced to pull out of their national teams because the gods of injuries have ravaged the Emirates yet again. I guess the Jack Wilshere sacrifice wasn’t good enough. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a stormer against Cologne but it’s unfortunate to know that the Ox has suffered an ankle injury that would sideline him for a while. Woy Hodgson has more injury woes to his team as Joe Hart and Danny Sturridge have also pulled out as well.

A few Gunners are expected to lock horns against each other as well. Thomas Vermaelen and Robin van Persie will have a showdown against each other while Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho will be on opposing sides as well. Olivier Giroud was called up to represent Les Bleus in their friendly encounter against Uruguay but Laurent Koscielny will be absent from the French side as he has picked up a calf strain.

With the Premier League curtain raiser just days away, Arsenal has added Kos the Boss and the Ox to its injury list that’s presently occupied by Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Abou Diaby Bacary Sagna. Per Mertesacker is odds on to step in for Koscielny and the Ox’s presence won’t be missed because Arsene Wenger has a million and one options in midfield.

As expected, there has been some transfer news dominating proceedings in the Arsenal blogosphere.

Starting with potential arrivals, The Metro reports that Real Madrid’s deep-lying playmaker, Nuri Sahin, is set to decide on his future this week with many teams (Arsenal included) waiting patiently for his signature on a temporary basis. He has been given the go-ahead by his manager, Jose Mourinho, to get some playing time elsewhere as he failed to secure a first team berth in Santiago Bernabeu, with a meager 10 appearances last season.

Many Gooners are drooling with the prospect of Nuri Sahin in the team and he’ll be the icing on a well-baked transfer cake by Arsenal if he secures a loan switch to the Emirates. AC Milan, Lyon and Turkish duo Galatasaray and Besiktas have all been linked with moves, while Liverpool are understood to have made an offer over the weekend. It will be a real battle for Sahin as all interested parties require his services on a temporary basis.

There has also been some reports about Arsenal engaging AC Milan over a shock swap deal which would involve Arsene Wenger’s long term admirer, Phillippe Mexes, moving over to the Emirates while the World’s Best Striker, Lionel Messi Nicklas Bendtner, would move to the San Siro. Mexes has been in some hot soup recently, as he pulled out from Milan’s pre-season adventure to stay at home with his pregnant wife. The Italians are upset about the defender’s refusal to join the team in the American tour and they are looking to part ways with him.

If this move goes through, it would be heralded as a very good piece of business by Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal hierarchy. According to Arseblog News, Bendtner has already declared that staying in Arsenal is not an option, and I strongly believe that Arsenal has no plans to keep him as well.

There’s also some side talk about Tottenham launching a £9.5m bid for Yann M’Vila (via the Metro). I don’t believe that the folks at Rennes will allow their prized asset to leave for such a paltry amount but if he succeeds in going to Tottenham, many Gooners out there will be the ‘P’ in pissed. In my opinion, news about M’Vila has been taken with a pinch of salt because Rennes has placed a monumental price tag for his services.

On departures, Alex Song continues to cause a stir in the Arsenal realm. The Daily Mail has reported that Barcelona has upped their bid to £17m in their attempt to lure him out of Arsenal. Tito Vilanova intends to use Song as a replacement for the departed Seydou Keita but the Cameroonian gem has acknowledged their interest and has stated that he’s happy at Arsenal,

“I am not going to lie if I said there is no interest but I am at Arsenal and I am happy at Arsenal,

“Barcelona are the best team in the world, and speculation will always continue until the window closes.”

Like Robin van Persie, Alex Song’s transfer speculation with a move away from the Emirates has brought mixed emotions to the Arsenal faithful. Many Gooners still laud Song for his newly-found attacking verve but he was a bit suspect for some of the club’s shortcomings in defense because he failed to do his “primary job” in midfield. Last season, Mikel Arteta was very balanced and mature in his box-to-box role, supporting the attack when he was needed as well as sweeping Song’s tracks when he forayed forward.

Aaron Ramsey lacked the positional awareness to wipe’s Song’s butt when he waltzed forward leaving Arsenal deeply exposed through the middle.

Whatever your opinion of Song is (whether good, bad or ugly), he’s still needed at the Emirates and I will be unhappy if Arsenal sells that bloke when he’s just hitting top gear. At 24, Song’s best years are ahead of him and I hope that Arsenal does well to sort out his contract as well as that of Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie.

I’ll keep you posted with every development.

Sayonara.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

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Thoughts on Alex Song’s Link with Barcelona and Words from the Verm

Arsenal star Alex Song

Barca DNA?

Tomorrow’s Community Shield fixture between Man Shitty and Chelshit will serve as the perfect curtain raiser for the season but Arsenal fans would watch that game with half an eye before switching their focus to Germany as the Gunners lock horns with Lukas Podolski’s former employers, FC Cologne. The fans have longed to see Podolski and Giroud strut their stuff and they’ll also be excited about the prospect of Santi Cazorla getting some action as well.

The squad has been training vigorously in Germany in their bid to gain full fitness  and the captain vice-captain, Thomas Vermaelen, believes that the team is shaping up nicely ahead of the forthcoming campaign. The Belgian expressed his delight on the team’s progress and he’s extremely confident that the Red Army will hit the ground running. He had some nice words for the new kid on the block, Santi Cazorla, as well as the youngster, Serge Gnabry.

The defender took out time to also talk about the new assistant manager, Steve Bould, labeling him as a very focused individual,

“Steve is really good to work with, especially for defenders as he has been a defender himself. He knows what it is all about and gives us a lot of tips. He works a lot on the shape of the team and that is very important, so I am very happy he came to work with the first team.

He is very focused on details. A lot of players, because we are getting older, we know how to play. But he looks at details and the shape of your body and to be honest I am learning a lot from him.”

I wasn’t too impressed with the defending in the Far East tour, but I’ll give the team the benefit of doubt because the line ups weren’t the strongest there is. Kieran Gibbs and Andre Santos really need to work on their positioning while a decision has to be made on the deputy right back for the season. Francis Coquelin has proven his quality in that position but Carl Jenkinson is also knocking on the door as well.

Vermaelen contributed immensely to Arsenal’s attack last season with some vital goals but he was culpable in doing his primary job. Laurent Koscielny was more disciplined than the Verm and I’m sure that they’ll learn from each other to form an impregnable unit at the heart of Arsenal’s defense. The Big Fuckin Giant, Johan Djourou and Ignasi Miquel will play their parts in the course of the season and I can only wish them the best.

Moving on, the media Vultures have given us a fresh dose of transfer tidbits this morning and I’ll start with the potential arrivals before laying emphasis on van Persie  the Gunners that are linked with moves out of the Emirates.

Apparently, it now seems as if Real Madrid is taking a stand on Nuri Sahin. The Turkish deep-lying playmaker has been heavily linked with a move away from Santiago Bernabeu with many possible destinations in mind. Unlike Park Chu-Young that could actually fry an egg with his warm seat on the bench, Sahin’s seat could manage to boil water at least. Despite Mourinho urging the former Dortmund playmaker to consider a move elsewhere, he has been insisting on staying at the club and fight out for his place.

This now brings Arsenal back to square One in the club’s hunt for a holding midfielder to replace support Alex Song. Yann M’Vila was hugely tipped to arrive at the Emirates after the Euros but the Rennes hierarchy hasn’t received any formal bid from Arsenal or anyone else. However, it seems as if Arsenal is in a somewaht precarious situation, as Barcelona has been sniffing around for Alex Song’s services. The media Vultures have stated that Song has agreed personal terms with that Alien lot but no formal agreement has been reached between Arsenal and Barcelona.

As expected, the Catalonians (with the exception of Cesc Fabregas) have taken their cheap route by using players to coax their fellow professional into buckling. Shakira’s boy toy, Gerald Pique, has shared his own opinion about the Cameroonian gem with a tarantula on his head,

“Song is a great player with an impressive physical ability and good technique. If he comes, which, from what I’ve read looks like it could happen, we are happy to welcome you.”

After reviewing Pique’s gibberish, I was quite concerned about that line, ‘If he comes, which, from what I’ve read looks like it could happen’. Song hasn’t released any official statement declaring how it has become clear to him that he in many aspects, disagrees on the way Arsenal should move forward. Making three great signings then selling van Persie and Song will be a classic tale of one step forward, two steps back.

Barcelona intends to offer Christian Tello as makeweight for the deal and I truly hope that we decline their proposed bid with a complimentary middle finger as well. I’m pretty sure that Barcelona’s scouts were watching Song under some bushes in Germany as he engaged himself in a penalty shoot-out with the cuddly Andre Santos.

Elsewhere, the Metro reports that Arsenal has given Park Chu-Young an ultimatum to find a new club in the summer – or risk facing another lenghty spell on the bench. Park was hijacked right under LOSC Liile Metropole’s noses last season and it’s really shameful to know how his career has panned out. He spearheaded Korean Olympic Under-23 attack alongside Ji Dong-Won in the course of the Men’s football tournament and he inspired his team to a Bronze medal finish with a 2-0 win over neighbors, Japan.

Everyone’s favorite defender, Sebastien Squillaci, has been linked with a move to Olympiakos. Whether he’s linked to Olympiakos, Bastia or my present Football Manager 2012 team, the sooner Squillaci leaves the club, the better for everyone (One slot available, wage bill reduced).

Have a great Saturday.

Sayonara

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

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A Quick Mid-Week Transfer Roundup

*sniffs*

 

Can’t you just smell that August air? 

 

The air that comes with a special type of wind called the Barclay’s Premier League. Last season was epic in every proportion from start to finish. Scripts were torn to shreds and history was re-written. 

 

With Arsenal’s Premier League curtain raiser just 17 days away, many are still hoping that the club does business in both ends because the time would come up for Arsene Wenger to register 25 Gunners that will go through the entire campaign.

 

These 25 men will have to battle tooth and nail to restore the cup back to its glory days because everyone concerned with Arsenal are very desperate to get that trophy-less monkey off our backs.

 

The taunts have somewhat become a cliche but reality bites harder than a canine drugged on some cheap crack. 

 

Transfer speculation has dominated proceedings in the tail end of last month and I’m not going to tell you what you’ve already heard. Arsenal is on the verge of getting them some Santi as Malaga’s condition continues to worsen and the tweets from “credible sources” have become endless. 

 

As faithful Arsenal fans, we can only cross our fingers and hope to see a hobbit ply his trade for us down the flanks or in the hole behind the centre forward. Cazorla may not be a “world beater” per se, but he has the qualities to excel in a club like Arsenal.

 

The news of a loan deal for Nuri Sahin has brought some butterflies to my tummy but I have a hunch that this deal will probably fall through because of the terms on the table. Nonetheless, Sahin is a highly technically astute midfielder with a cultured left foot and he can send a through pass to his teammate, even if he’s making an off the ball run in Venus.

 

However, new transfer speculation has been the order of the day as it has been reported that Barcelona…(yes, Barcelona, those fucks that can’t keep their transfer “pants” with Arsenal’s players in their legs)…is linked with a £12m move for Arsenal’s gem with a tarantula on his head, Alex Song.

 

I expect them to create new tales of Song having their mutant DNA and with Song’s contract expiring in 2014, I hope that we won’t have another saga in our hands next summer.

 

The ball remains in Arsenal’s court and I hope we sort Song’s contract situation the way we handed Laurent Koscielny.

 

Park Chu-Young came to Arsenal with the hope of ending some Shaolin soccer before going to serve with the military but he sat on the bench so much that his reserved position on the dugout could be used to fry eggs at night. Recently relegated Blackburn want to come to Park’s aid as Steve Kean has publicly declared that he wants the Korean superstar to strut his stuff at Ewood Park.

 

Arsenal fans have two vivid memories of Park: his wonder goal against Bolton and his amazing manhours on the bench.

 

No one will shed a tear if Park declares that we can’t match his ambitions to force a move out, unlike some Flying Dutchmen we know. King Thierry Henry has stated that Arsenal can cope without van Persie and we don’t need any soothsayer to tell us that.

 

Arsenal it was, Arsenal it is and Arsenal it will always be.

 

I have a meeting in a bit.

 

Sayonara.

 

The Intensified Battle for Third Place and a List of Underrated Gunners

Bosscielny

In a gruelling campaign that’s reaching its climax, various teams in the Premier League are close to achieving their pre-season targets while others are in great peril. At the tail end of the log table, Wolves’ fate has more or less been sealed but Bolton, Blackburn, Wigan, Queens Park Rangers and probably Aston Villa are in a dogfight to escape the clutches of relegation.

While the owners of newly-promoted Norwich and Swansea can give themselves a pat on the back for a successful campaign, the hierarchy in the Red half of Merseyside will certainly be gnashing their teeth over the wasted investments this year. Despite blowing wads of cash in their bid to be with the elite, Liverpool is languishing in eighth place and things are getting worse for King Kenny and his hordes.

When Arsenal defeated Manchester City, their arch-rivals went eight points clear but a series of disappointing results for the Red Devils have seen the oil moneybags cut the gap to just three points making the upcoming Manchester Derby a mouthwatering contest.

However, there’s a position in the Premier League that’s now a piece of unfinished business. After the blistering run of seven wins in a row coupled with bad results elsewhere, Arsenal was in pole position to end the season as the third best team in the land.

Queens Park Rangers showcased the team’s complacency but the victory of Manchester City turned every frown upside down. Wigan came to down with a game plan that worked superbly for them but the Gunners didn’t give a Manchester City-esque response against a second-tier Chelsea side that had half an eye in today’s semifinal against Barcelona.

Even Bacary Sagna has admitted that the performance wasn’t good enough.

Newcastle’s impressive win over Stoke has seen them emerge as Arsenal’s newest threat for the coveted automatic Champions League slot and if the Magpies win their game in hand, they’ll be level on points with the Gunners. However, Thomas Vermaelen believes that the Gunners can hold the fort to claim third place:

“We didn’t win the last two games, and they were really good chances to put ourselves into third place comfortably. At the moment we still have to fight for third place. It will be a big effort for everybody to get that third place. It is not going to be easy, but that is because you play in England and it is not an easy league. Everybody can beat everybody.”

“There are a lot of teams involved, ourselves, Tottenham, Chelsea and Newcastle. It is going to be tight, but it is going to be interesting. It is going to be hard to keep third place, but I am confident that we will.”  

Arsenal will visit the Britannia Stadium to play that Rugby outfit before hosting Norwich City, then the Gunners will end the campaign away to West Brom. The way Arsenal has played this season has thought me to expect the unexpected from these lads.

This team came back from two goals down to decimate Tottenham’s best team in 50 years and they were also a goal away from turning a four-goal deficit against the defending champions of the Serie A. Unfortunately enough, this is the same team that has lost 10 Premier League games this season and are bracing themselves up for yet another trophy-less campaign.

Despite the major lows of the season, there have been many things to cheer about and one can look no further than the individual performances of some certain players that stepped up the plate this season.

Starting from the top of the pile, Robin van Persie showed the world what he could do if he stayed injury free and his scintillating performances as well as numerous goals earned him the PFA Player of the Year award. The Flying Dutchman has stated that winning the prestigious is a dream come true for him.

Goal.com set up a voting poll for the potential winner of the Premier League Golden Boot. On the Red corner, you’ll find Arsenal’s perpetual goalscoring machine of the first kind, RVP, and one the Blue corner, you’ll find Manchester United’s net-bursting Ogre, Shrek.

Robin van Persie deservedly stole the limelight but there is a list of some Gunners that have been massively underrated for their performances this season. When I took a candid look at the PFA Team of the Year, I was very disappointed not to see the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Alex Song and Theo Walcott in the list.

Koscielny has been a beast this season and is certainly better than Fabrizio Coloccini in my opinion. Vermaelen ran out of superlatives for his defensive partner labelling him as a key ingredient to Arsenal’s success story next season. The Frenchman played a lot of football last season but the way he matured tremendously has been a major jaw dropper.

If Koscielny is not selected for France in the forthcoming European Championships, I’ll go berserk. The likes of Mamadou Sakho and Phillippe Mexes have not been as impressive as the Bosscielny this season.

The central midfield pairing of the season were Yaya Toure and Scotty Parker. Alex Song has been a phenom in this campaign but I don’t want to be biased on this analysis. In as much as I hate everything Tottenham stands for, Parker has had one hell of a season and I have a hunch that he slightly displaced Song to earn himself a place in the Team of the Year.

I believe that Song could be among the nominees for the African Footballer of the Year but he’ll face stiff competition from Yaya Toure (who also displaced him in the Team of the Year) as well as Papiss Cisse, Cheick Tiote and Demba Ba. I haven’t even mentioned other outstanding Africans playing in other leagues.

Theo Walcott missed out on England’s last big tournament but he’s odds on to stake his claim for a starting place in this summer’s Euros. Walcott’s game has improved tremendously but the complacency factor still creeps in from time to time. He’s currently nursing a hamstring injury that has ruled him out for the rest of the season but he’ll be fit enough for the tourney.

Despite the fact that the performances of Laurent Koscielny, Alex Song and Theo Walcott haven’t been given the credit they duly deserve, the fans of Arsenal Football Club will continue to give them their undying support.

Kos is certainly the Boss and it’s not a greyhound, it’s not a cheetah, it’s Theo Walcott.

Finally, there’s only one Song.

Sayonara.

You can follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

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