Daily Archives: May 7, 2011
Imagine enlisting yourself to be in your nation’s army because you’ve always wanted to be a soldier that will hold big ass guns you only see on TV. After going through the necessary combat training, you are deployed to a platoon in an area that has the colour of Red and White with a big golden Cannon in its insignia. After successful campaigns with your team for 2 years, you go for your dream Valentine’s day date and tell Mrs. Right that you’re going for another battle up North on the 27th of February. On that faithful day, you and your platoon members share jokes in the Apache helicopter before you’re to rappel down in enemy territory. After a few gunshots here and there, the enemy leader wearing Red and White stripes throws a grenade at you and you lose your right eye in the process because of the debris that came your way from the explosion. 14 months on after a successful ‘eye’ operation, you’re told that you and your platoon are going to fight in that same territory tomorrow.
You are Aaron J. Ramsey….that ‘territory’ is the Britannia Stadium.
Aaron Ramsey was bought from Cardiff City when he was still at the ‘milk’ age of 18. He was slowly introduced to the squad by AW because there were many players that were in front of him. He got his first goal for the club in his Champions League debut against Fenerbahce. That match will also be remembered by the legendary debut own goal scored by Mikael Silvestre. Pascal Cygan did it before him and Sebastien Squillaci did it after him. In the 2009/10 campaign, AW adopted a new 4-2-3-1 formation that created more room for the midfielders present in the squad. Just like the way Nigeria has a shitload of strikers; Arsenal has a large stock of footballers playing predominantly in the midfield.
Fabregas was given a free role behind the front three and he blossomed admirably in that position scoring 19 goals and supplying a lion’s share of assists. With El Capitan and Song, the usual regular playing suspects in the midfield trio, there was only 1 slot that was shuffled a lot by AW. Rosicky played a few times but struggled with his countless injuries; so did Diaby. Denilson on the other hand wasn’t showing that he was an Arsenal material so AW handed the baton to the young Welsh man and he grabbed the bull by the horns and the balls. Ramsey played confidently in the midfield, dwelling on the ball and supplying crisp long passes that Bendtner used as his bread and butter because rVp was still out thanks to that meaningless friendly that took place in November between Italy and the Netherlands. The annoying part of rVp’s injury was that he was on a blistering goal scoring run of 7 goals in 8 games with the latest being the brace in the 3-0 thrashing of rivals Tottenham. Fabregas’ goal was still the standout goal of the game.
When Arsenal visited the Britannia on the 27th of February, Stoke City was on a high because they hadn’t lost a game in their newly found fortress in 2010 before we arrived. They were also the team that drove the nail on our FA Cup coffin thanks to Fabianski’s poor decision-making and Denilson’s escorting ability as a holding midfielder. On that faithful night at the Britannia, Delap pelted his usual long throws against us and it resulted in their first goal thanks to a bloke called Pugh. B52 equalized with a well-timed header then Fabregas and Vermaelen finished off the game in the dying moments. That game will be undoubtedly remembered for Ryan Shawcross’ inhuman lounge of Ramsey that almost destroyed his footballing career. Had Ramsey been in his late 20’s or early 30’s, it would have been sayonara for him. The Stoke captain received a deserved red card, served his 3 game ban and continued tackling players and doing his thing while Ramsey spent the best part of one year rehabilitating his leg. On the 3rd of May, I read this article from arseblog of how the MLS handled the situation when one chap broke his fellow professional’s leg in the name of playing the beautiful game we know.
Steve Zakuani, of the Seattle Sounders, had his leg broken by a player called Brian Mullan. The league’s disciplinary committee added 9 games to the automatic one game suspension and said,
“Before this season, MLS worked with all its players, coaches, referees and the two federations to develop, illustrate and discuss several key points of emphasis, One of those points of emphasis is to protect the safety of the player on the ball and reduce or eliminate reckless and violent tackles. Mullan’s tackle is the type of play we need to eliminate from our game and the level of discipline is consistent with our efforts to do so.”
The Mullan chap served a deserved 10 game ban because he broke Mr. Zakuani’s leg. I’m pretty sure that when he comes back to the field of play after the suspension he’ll feel like Michael Jackson’s American in Paris because he has been out of the game for 2-3 months at least.
Ramsey has done well since the injury and has handled himself maturely throughout the situation. He told everyone that all Shawcross’ sins have been forgiven by him and he just wants to fight for his place back and with Fabregas, Diaby and Nasri all out of action for tomorrow’s encounter, Ramsey will be drafted to the ‘starting lineup’ when we play those footballing thugs. A few Arsenal fans following my blog @goonerdaily on Twitter are hoping that we would break a few bones here and there when we play them tomorrow but it seems as if we don’t have the type of personnel that can go to a match and commit atrocities on the pitch. Theo Walcott presently has the Arsenal record of the highest amount of games without a booking in the Premier League. @OptaJoe tweeted that Walcott has gone 111 games without getting a card.
In all my years as an Arsenal fan I can recall the amount of times that our players have committed horrendous tackles on the pitch. I vividly remember Diaby’s tackle on Taylor against Bolton in the 08/09 campaign. He got a red card while we were 2 goals down but we still won the game at 3-2. In the 2009/10 season it was Gallas tackle on Cahill when we played Bolton in our 4-2 win. I remember that we didn’t kick the ball out and we went on to score. Bolton’s boss said all the crap to the media Vultures but the game still ended at 4-2. When Tottenham did it to us in the 2005/06 season in that 1-1 draw where Henry came off the bench to score nobody said anything about it. Karma is a real bitch. The most recent horror tackle I witnessed an Arsenal player give was Wilshere’s tackle on Zigic that earned him a straight red and that’s all this season. All other red cards have come from bookable offences such as Song’s 2 yellows against Sunderland and Koscielny and Squillaci’s reds for being the last men against Newcastle and Huddersfield respectively.
AW has said that Ramsey is to be left alone to prepare well for tomorrow’s game but the media Vultures wouldn’t listen. The Vultures also say that AW has hit out on Gary Speed over the Welsh captaincy. It’s worth a read.
AW has also said that if he knew about Vermaelen’s fate, he would have signed a center back. Wow, he tells us. There’s no point sulking anymore. We have a long tournament-less summer to look forward to. You wouldn’t call the European Under-21 Championships a ‘tourney worth watching’. Will you?
Yogi’s Warrior wrote this morning in his blog that Fabregas, Gibbs, Clichy, Denilson, Bendtner, Farmer Eboué, Nasri and Arshavin are all looking set for pastures new. That’s 8 players out of the 25 registered players for the league. Let me categorize these players into 3 sections.
Fabregas and Arshavin will probably go into section 1. This is the section where the players have teams that have put them on the radar. Theo Walcott’s resurgence and Arshavin’s dip in form have seen Arsenal’s diminutive Russian go down the pecking order to be replaced by the pacey winger that already has 12 goals to his name this season. Zenit St. Petersburg has told the Zenit legend that they want to welcome him back with open arms after letting him go in the winter of 2008. With age becoming a new factor, AA23 might be tempted to go back to his Motherland Russia and play in those stadia that have orange markings during the winter on their pitches because snow has turned them to white. I remember watching a Europa League game between Zenit and BATE Borisov. Almost every player present on the pitch wore gloves, snoods, head warmers, leggings and of course their jerseys but there was a section of the crowd were some cold-blooded Russians were half-naked cheering Zenit on. Fabregas on the other hand has been linked times without number to where it all began for him but it seems as if their rivals have also set their sights on him.
Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy fall into section 2; the section that involves players that have only a year left in their present deal and could activate the infamous Webster clause and buy out their deal. This clause now threatens teams to sell such players off instead of watching them go for free. Hleb put himself in such a precarious situation and has seen his footballing career plummet into mediocrity. Inter Milan have placed crosshairs on Nasri and it seems as if they might approach Arsenal with an enquiry anytime soon. Nasri on the hand is still stalling to sign a new deal with the club due to reasons best known to those Aliens that want to attack the Earth but are still scared because Chuck Norris is still alive. Clichy’s form has been up and down this season and it seems as if his time is coming to an end because the media Vultures say that we have put Leighton Baines in our summer wish list. In as much as I’m a fan of Baines’ expert crossing and set piece taking, I really like Gael Clichy because of the undying service he has rendered to this club so I hope that AW will sit his French full back down and give him a few documents to smile at before using his left hand to write ‘xoxo’ on it. Let’s not forget that Clichy is FRENCH and we all know how AW deals with his countrymen. If he could sign aging Frenchies like Cygan, Silvestre and more recently the Squisha over the years; why won’t he keep a full back that in his mid-twenties.
Section 3 would contain the players that didn’t enter the previous sections. This is the section of players that featured sparingly for Arsenal this season; Gibbs, Denilson, Farmer Eboue and Bendtner. Gibbs was more or less a cup player this season because he featured in Arsenal’s Carling Spoon and FA Cup encounters but he hasn’t really shown that he’s good enough to usurp Clichy in the starting lineup. It’s obvious that he’s Clichy’s deputy because I don’t believe that Armand Traore will be good enough to replace him but Gibbs has this knack for always getting injured. There was a period Clichy was out thereby giving Gibbs the opportunity to stake his claim for a first team place but he injured himself. This made Arsenal deploy Farmer Eboue to the left back position. Still sticking with the Farmer, he has been linked to our bitter rivals Tottenham but it seems as if a move to the other side of North London might be a possibility because Arsenal has almost secured the services of the gifted Carl Jenkinson who’s adept in both full back positions. Denilson is a defensive midfielder that knows how to dictate the tempo of a game but he has too many flaws. He’ll be best suited in a club that has no ambition to win anything such as Fulham or Wigan and the rest of the mid-table Premier League lot. He’s one player whose departure will not mean much to the Arsenal faithful.
The last name on the list is Nicklas Bendtner. Since his arrival from FC Copenhagen in 2005, B52’s best season was the last campaign because he featured a lot thanks to rVp’s long injury layoff. This season he has gone down the pecking order because of the kind of formation that Arsenal uses. He was advised to do his groin operation before the World Cup but he resisted, played in the tourney, scored one goal and took the operation that made him miss out on the start of the season. rVp on the other hand injured himself against Blackburn in August so Arsenal had only newbie Marouane Chamakh in the tail end of 2010. The striker that cost the club nothing scored 10 goals in his first 21 appearances but rightly found himself on the bench because rVp came back from injury with goal blood in his mouth and fire in his belly. rVp was World football’s most lethal finisher in January and February with 12 goals to his name. Benzema got close last month or so with 9 goals in 6 games but in at Arsenal there was nothing that Chamakh or Bendtner could do with rVp’s situation. As long as he was fit, he was going to play.
Bendtner has talked about his dissatisfaction of staying on the bench and his manager has told everyone that he’ll sit down with the striker and discuss the issue. The last Arsenal striker that grumbled about his future was Eduardo. AW said the same thing he’s saying to B52 now but we all know that Eduardo currently plies his trade in Ukraine. Let’s just hope that AW coaxes Bendtner to stay because even though he may be loud mouthed and cocky, he still has some potential in him. Besides he’s very young; we wouldn’t want to let go off him right now.
Finally, Ryo Miyaichi is set to play pre-season with Arsenal after a successive loan spell at that club that was gangbanged by 10 goals in the hands of PSV. The Jap was voted as the 5th best EreDivisie signing, even though he came in January. That shows you the impact he made in Holland.
The preview to the game against Stoke comes up in tomorrow’s post.
Don’t forget to vote for arseblog in the Premier League’s blog of the season competition.
I hope that my blog be amongst the nominees in the foreseeable future.