Daily Archives: May 20, 2011
Sayonara Denilson, his potential replacement and a tale of the Song
In all my months of blogging, I’ve never created any tag for Denilson because he hadn’t done anything to be the main center of attraction in any of my blog posts. I’d hoped that his first Gooner Daily headline would be,
“Denilson scores his first hattrick in Arsenal colours as the Gunners smash Spurs in a thrilling encounter” or
“Denilson says that he deserves to be Arsenal’s captain in the near future because he claims that he has captained Brazil at every junior level”.
Denilson came out from whatever cave he was hiding from to say that he’s going home to Brazil after the Fulham game. He said that he’s a frustrated mouf and he’s going to leave Arsenal at the end of the season. I’m going to quote every word the young Brazilian said and elaborate on some points made because the message was very emotional and vivid. He says,
“This has been the worst season of my life and I am so upset, so frustrated. I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing.
A footballer’s career is over very quickly so it is time for me to move on. This is not a sudden decision. I made up my mind eight months ago. I was fed up of coming home and feeling down but I haven’t said anything until now because I did not want to disrupt the team during the season. And I haven’t caused a big scene.
I’ve simply been to see Arsene Wenger and told him how I felt and he’s agreed to let me go. I know some people will think I am crazy. They are right. It is a great club with a great organization, a great manager and so many talented players.
Yes, I make a good living at Arsenal but other things in life are important. I need a fresh challenge and although I know I’m taking a big gamble I am ready to take that risk.
I can’t see myself returning in a Chelsea shirt, or Liverpool or Manchester City – and definitely not Tottenham. I think my future will be in Spain or Italy.
IT’S GREAT TO PLAY BEAUTIFUL FOOTBALL BUT SOMETIMES TO BE A WINNER YOU HAVE TO PLAY UGLY IF YOU WANT TO SUCCEED.”
I broke down Denilson’s farewell message in 6 paragraphs. You can’t deny the first paragraph; this is Denilson’s worst season in his Arsenal career. In the 2008/09 campaign, Denilson many games for Arsenal without making any major impact. All he did was to pass, pass and errrrrrm pass. In the 2009/10 season, he started some games but lost his place to Ramsey but Shawcross’ challenge on the Welsh bloke paved the way for the Brazilian again but he was still as lethargic and frustrating as ever. If words could kill, Denilson would have been somewhere beyond because the Arsenal were not always happy with his performances. This season, Jack Wilshere’s emergence and Song’s presence didn’t help the Brazilian cause. He was subjected to just making some meager substitute appearances and some cup starts. His best game to me this season was against Everton in Goodison Park. The 2nd paragraph talks about how he handled himself throughout the situation and I must write that I admire the mature approach he took. In as much as Wojciech Szczesny might probably be our 1st choice goalie next season; he had to open his mouth at some point in the season before he could get his chance. The part of ‘coming home and kneeling down’ seemed awkward though.
In the 3rd paragraph, he simply talked to AW and Arsenal’s boss wasted no time in agreeing with him that he was going to let him go. I just hope that Fabregas and Nasri won’t talk to AW in the same way. The next paragraph really surprised me a lot, how many footballers will leave their megabucks in search of playing time in this present footballing World? He has also said that the Arsenal in him will be a determining factor in the new club he’ll tell his agent to search for. In a case like this, Spain or Italy would be perfect for the Brazilian.
My main focus will be on the last message by Denilson Perreira Neves,
“It’s great to play beautiful football but sometimes to be a winner you have to play ugly if you want to succeed”
If you search for the word ugly in a lexicon, a picture of Stoke Rugby FC’s Abdoulaye Diagne Faye would appear, but I think that the ugly Denilson is talking about involves our style of play. Arsenal FC has been very predictable this season and the 8 losses in the League this season proved it. There were also disappointing draws that Arsenal got this season because the club clearly lacked a plan B.
If Arsenal is drawing a game with 10 minutes to go, we can play ugly by giving Sagna the DNA of Rory Delap so that he’ll be able to launch a long throw that’ll hit the post then the bar before hitting the keeper’s arse and ending up in the back of the net to end the game at 1-0. Arsenal can also play ugly by giving rVp some of Dani Alves’s diving DNA so that if the opposition defender blows wind with his lips at rVp’s direction in the box, he’ll be able to dive as if he has been shot leaving Phil Dowd no choice but to point to the spot. rVp will get up, score the spot kick and the fans sing the One-Nil to the Arsenal song.
If Arsenal is leading another team with a lone goal with 10 minutes to go, Arsenal can play ugly by employing the ultra defensive tactics Greek boss Otto Renhagel used in Euro 2004. AW can tell his boys to play the 9-1-0 formation. There are a million and one ways to play ugly but it’s still left for AW to decide.
Now that it’s certain that Arsenal will start next season with only 24 registered players with the omission of Denilson, AW will have to go to Arsenal’s account room and wipe off the dust in our green cheque book. The media Vultures will run riot with articles linking us to Cahill, Samba, Mertesacker, Spiderman and Captain America. At this point in time, a holding midfielder comes to my Arsenalized head; the Sports Writer’s player of the Year: Scotty Parker.
At the age of 31, Parker won’t be the fairytale signing the Arsenal faithful may be looking for but he has some certain attributes that will come in handy in the tail end of the season. Judging by his present age, he has the much needed experience and influence that can rub off on the younger blokes in the squad. He won’t be the captain of Arsenal like Mercenary Gallas but his more or less a leader. As a player, he has a very high work rate, composed on the ball, tackles superbly, brave, aggressive, a good passer and can score goals when needed.
Parker’s introduction into our squad would ensure that Wilshere wouldn’t be playing 1,000,000 games. Stats king OptaJoe tweeted that Jack Wilshere has played 3,729 minutes of competitive football this season. Koscielny is the only player that has more playing minutes than Wilshere with 3,819 or so. We also know that Song has this knack for getting one injury that would keep him out for a considerable amount of time and a player like Parker would be an ideal replacement for the African Blondie. At least, he’ll do a better job than Diaby, a player that 21 out of the possible 25 registered players had more playing time than due to his constant niggling injuries.
When AW lost good defensive midfielders like Gilberto, BeansHead Diarra and the Flanimal, the fans barracked AW with messages to sign a new defensive midfielder but AW unleashed Song to the World.
At one point, it looked like Song would have no place in the Arsenal team had he struggled and failed to impress but all that changed last season, and now he is an integral part of the Arsenal team that is pushing for silverware.
Song occupies a very critical position for the Arsenal. His importance to the team increases due to the fact that he has no ideal replacement. While Denilson and Abou Diaby have shown that they are simply just not good enough for Arsenal’s game, youngsters like Craig Eastmond, Francis Coquelin and Emmanuel Frimpong have some work to do before they be good enough backups.
Song’s significance to Arsenal is mainly down to their style of play. Arsenal’s weak point over the last few years have stemmed from the counter attack. Arsenal tends to pile the players forward, sometimes when even in the lead, and they are often ripped apart by teams on the counter. This is where Song comes in. He can be seen making crucial blocks, interceptions and breaking up the flow of game disrupting the momentum of their opponents.
He has proved himself to be a fantastic shield for Arsenal’s defense and has protected the defense brilliantly over the past two years. Song is also the main reason Fabregas and Wilshere have been able to move into positions higher up the field. This season he has even gotten a piece of the goal action, having contributed some important goals this season including the winner against West Ham, Man City and Chelsea.
Song provides a bit of steel and bit in Arsenal’s midfield that is often accused of being too lightweight. He doesn’t mind going into challenges, and while he does tend to pick up his fair share of bookings, he often provides the defense time to reorganize and lets the team regain its shape. Song’s importance to the team is evident during his absence or on the days he has a poor game. During his absence, Arsenal’s defense is often left exposed and there is no player who can provide adequate cover for the players when they venture out forward. Arsenal’s ‘Premier League win percentage’ when Song was absent as at last month was 0%. This meant that Arsenal didn’t win a league game that Song didn’t play.
Song occupies the defensive midfielder role, which, while it may remain underrated, is often the most key role in a football field. Every great team often has a good midfield enforcer, a player who can exert his domination over the midfield and helps to boss the midfield while giving some fluidity between defense and attack. Song plays that role for the Gunners, and it is vital that he continues to perform at a top level.
That’s enough for the tale of the Song.
I hope we sign Scotty Parker.
Denilson Perreira Neves.
Robin van Persie in the spotlight for all the right reasons
Frustration, despair and disappointment has been the general themes of the Arsenal World so I felt it was high time I wrote about Gooner Daily and Arsenal’s player of the season, Robin van Persie. This bloke was the T in troublesome in his days at Feyernoord but he truly matured with age and has become one of the most lethal strikers in the Planet. He has had one major problem that has plagued his Arsenal career but he has proved again this season that a fit rVp can be a goal-hungry demon and can also be counted when called upon.
The Flying Dutchman from Rotterdam was rested at the start of the season due to the fact that his motherland spent the entire month with those Spanish aliens in South Africa. Dirk Kuyt was also in the same squad with rVp but that blonde chap has the stamina of an ox. When Arsenal visited Ewood Park, what seemed like a simple tackle on his ankle from a Blackburn chum was more than enough to give rVp another lengthy spell on the sidelines. He made his long awaited comeback when Arsenal hosted Partizan in that all-important Champions League tie and scored a spot kick from 12 yards.
He didn’t score any other goal in 2010 but he started 2011 with a big bang. Birmingham was the first team to incur rVp’s wrath when he fired a free kick off some bloke before deflecting past Foster. rVp scored a brace against West Ham in Upton Park with a penalty and a good shot with his chocolate leg after Nasri executed a lovely dummy that fooled the bloke marking him. In the FA Cup replay against Leeds, rVp settled everyone’s nerves with a good header from B52’s inch-perfect cross. The striker in red-hot form ended January with his first professional hattrick for Arsenal against Wigan.
He started off February with 2 goals against Newcastle but it wasn’t enough because Arsenal capitulated in the second half to end the game at 4-4 despite going 4 up at halftime. rVp scored another brace a week later against Wolves. The first was a brilliant scissors kick while the other goal will be remembered by the raw pace of Theo Walcott who outran the linesman to give rVp an assist.
Robin van Persie is renowned as a great goal scorer and a scorer of great goals. The goal against Blackburn in the 2005/06 season and the goal against Charlton in the 2006/07 season still stand out to me as his best Arsenal goals but the goal he scored against Barcelona on the 16th of February will sink into the hearts of Arsenal fans for years to come. That was the type of goal you tell your kids about.
He ended his February with another scissors kick in the Carling Spoon final that came at a cost. He scored only one goal that came in the last game of March in that disappointing 2-2 draw against West Brom that’ll be fondly remembered for Almunia’s sheer stupidity. Last month was also a red-hot month for Arsenal’s Flying Dutchman because he scored 4 goals in the 5 games Arsenal played that month. The last 2 goals he scored this month has seen him surpass his personal best in Arsenal colours because his goal tally presently stands at 21.
However, the goal scoring exploits of rVp were not still enough to deliver the first trophy to Arsenal’s cobweb ridden trophy cabinet. The Black Widow spider that’s currently living in our cabinet just extended her rent for one extra year at least.
Like Jack Wilshere, Cesc Fabregas and Wojciech Szczesny, rVp is also active on Twitter and he has an amazing fellowship that has surpassed the 360,000 mark. Even if he’s not following all his fans, he sees their tweets because they mention him from time to time. He’s clearly disappointed about how this season has fared so he had this to say,
“In a way, I do understand them because I feel connected with the fans. We have a really good relationship and I do understand them, I do understand their frustration sometimes”
The season is pretty much over so our Flying Dutchman shouldn’t feel so gloom. rVp also talked about the overall performance of the team and pretty summed everything up. He says,
“We came close, very very close to winning the Premier League title this season. One thing is for sure, we need to be more consistent because we have everything in our team. To play at the highest level is to be consistent.
To an extent, you have to agree with rVp. Some Arsenal players were very consistent this season. Players like Sagna, Nasri, Szczesny, Wilshere and Djourou played at a level similar to Arsenal’s Dutch forward. It’s also heartwarming to know that rVp is in line to be handed a new 5 year deal by his current employers. I guess AW wants to tie him down because his best years are still ahead of him. His current deal expires in 2013 but AW is not willing to take any risk because it seems as if Nasri may not extend his contract with Arsenal FC. I don’t know what those blokes at the city of Munich have told Nasri but I really hope that he remains with Arsenal for years to come.
In other news, Thierry Henry has talked to his fellow old compatriot Robert Pires to join him at the MLS. In recent years, players like Angel, Ljungberg, Marquez, Beckham and other marquee footballers have joined the MLS so Pires’ introduction won’t raise any eyebrows. He should feel free to join Columbus Crew with that other old hag Frankie Hedjuk who played with Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubbles in BedRock FC before playing for USA in the World Cup they hosted in 94. Pires’ should also feel free to join another pre-historic player in Chivas USA, Cuautemoc Blanco. I love that first name. It sounds like the name of a Red Indian or something.
Please check out this post by Sounak Mukherjee in his blog called Arsenal’s Corner. It’s worth a read.
Vijah Murali also wrote about the positives we can take from this season in his blog, the Invincible Gunner. They include Wilshere’s emergence, the performances of the goalkeeping Poles, rVp’s goal scoring form, Nasri’s ascendance, Walcott’s goals and assists, Sagna’s consistency, Song’s progress, the Djourcielny defensive combo and Ramsey’s comeback.
Those were definitely the bright sparks of yet another dark season for Arsenal FC.
Cheers to Robin van Persie
Arsenal’s legend in the making.