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.