Daily Archives: December 20, 2011

How Arsenal missed out on Yaya Touré and Nwankwo Kanu wishes the Gunners well

The one that got away 🙁

I’ll start with some tidbits from the aftermath of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City.

The match between the moneybags and the shrewd spenders ended in a victory to the home side and as expected, a few words have emanated from the Arsenal camp.

Thomas Vermaelen had a good game against Manchester City and he almost salvaged a draw for his side late on with a superb curling effort that was tipped over by Joe Hart. The Belgian told Arsenal Player that Arsenal was made to rue lost chances:

“I think Man City played a good game to be honest and after all they got the three points, they had a few chances but I felt we could have scored as well. It doesn’t matter how much possession of the ball you have, it’s about the three points”

It’s good to know that the Verm acknowledged that getting three points was paramount and it was a view shared by the manager, Arsene Wenger that also conceded that his side is out of the title race.

To wrap it all up, Alex Song will be suspended for the Aston Villa game after picking five yellow cards, Mikel Arteta is a card away from a one-match ban (four bookings), Johan Djourou is out for three weeks with a groin strain but Kieran Gibbs is back in contention for a first team place.

On the 19th of July 2003, a certain lanky Ivorian was offered a trial by Arsenal in a game against Barnet that ended in a goalless stalemate. The chance of the game came his way and he spurned it to the disgust of Arsenal’s manager that had half an eye on him.

Eight years on, this Ivorian has notched up 58 caps for the Elephants and has enjoyed a glittering career filled up with trophies. After missing out on the trial with Arsenal, Gnégnéri Yaya Touré moved to Metalurh Donetsk in Ukraine before he was snapped up by Greek champions Olympiakos two years later.

After a brief spell in Athens that saw him score three league goals in 26 games, the new “Patrick Vieira” as tagged by his elder brother Kolo Toure, secured a move to the Principality of Monaco and played for a single season before he signed for the emperors of modern day football, FC Barcelona.

Toure’s three-year spell in Barcelona saw him become a vital piece of the club’s jigsaw puzzle and he was part of the legendary class of ’09 that won all trophies club football as a sport had to offer in Pep Guardiola’s first season at the club.

He won the Liga BBVA in stunning fashion, the Copa del Rey and Supercopa dey Espana against Athletic Bilbao, the  UEFA Champions League against Manchester United, the UEFA Super Cup against Shakhtar Donetsk and the FIFA Club World Cup against Estudiantes La Plata.

He has also gotten a FA Cup winner’s medal for his new side Manchester City and he has become synonymous with the club since his £24m move.

The Telegraph reports that Arsene Wenger had this to say on the “one who got away”:

“Yaya Touré played for us in a pre-season game as a second striker and he was completely average on the day.”

Wenger also explained that the Ivorian failed to secure a work permit but when he was close to applying he moved to Ukraine.

I wonder how Toure would have fared if Wenger played him as a defensive midfielder in that trial match. Toure would never have thrived well as a supporting striker and his stats (goal scoring wise) are glaring for everyone to see.

In a career total of 246 football games, he has managed 29 goals but it can’t be compared to his fellow African defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel that has played 217 games for Chelsea and has scored…two goals. 😀

Nwankwo Kanu is a Gunner legend that will forever be remembered for his exquisite hattrick against Chelsea that came just under 15 minutes and he was the third ever player to score at the Emirates; after Klass-Jan Huntelaar and Thierry Henry in Dennis Bergkamp’s testimonial in 2006.

Kanu spent five years at Arsenal and I can’t deny that he was among the reasons why Arsenal has a great fan base in Nigeria. He notched up 119 appearances for the Gunners and smashed 30 goals into the opposition’s net.

He was having some nostalgia about his Arsenal days and in the wake of Arsenal’s loss to Manchester City, the Nigerian still predicts a ‘gainful’ season for the Gunners:

”If you ask me, I will say Arsenal can win it this season, they still play the best football in England. Man City is strong and loaded but we are not yet sure of what they will do in the second round.”

“Unlike Arsenal, City players cover the ground, run around the pitch and that tells on them from the 75th minute upwards. In Arsenal, players are taught about group movement and I am happy Arsene Wenger keeps that tradition”

It’s always heartwarming to see Arsenal legends take out time to talk to the media Vultures about their favorite club and he referred to Arsenal as “we”.

The quote of the day undoubtedly goes to Nwankwo Kanu, or Papillo as he’s called in this part of the world:

“Once a Gunner, always a Gunner”

Sayonara.

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Five reasons why Marouane Chamakh needs to leave Arsenal

Marouane Chamakh started his career in Girondins de Bordeaux before making a move to Arsenal last season on a free transfer. He started with a few goals during the preseason fixtures before forcing Pepe Reina to suffer the ignominy of an own goal on the opening day fixture when Arsenal played against Liverpool in Anfield.

He scored his first goal in his home debut against Blackpool before joining the party when Arsenal thrashed Bolton by 4-1 in September 2010. He also scored on his Champions League debut in the 6-0 spanking of eventual Europa League finalists SC Braga and continued his personal scoring record in the competition that extended from his Bordeaux days.

He scored in his Arsenal’s second Champions League tie against Partizan before scoring the match winner against Birmingham City in mid-October. He scored again in Arsenal’s third Champions League game against Shakhtar and it seemed as if he was destined to score in every game of the Champions League as long as he played.

The goals dried up a bit but he found some form again in November scoring a brace against Wolves before scoring Tottenham and Aston Villa. Marouane Chamakh’s toe poke in Villa Park was his 10th goal in just 21 appearances averaging a goal every two games but Robin van Persie’s return to full fitness saw Chamakh relegated to the bench and he featured in lowly Cup ties.

This season, Marouane Chamakh has been a ghostly figure on the pitch and he has scored just two goals in 2011 unlike Robin van Persie that has smashed 40 in the calendar year.

It’s so unfortunate to see how his form waned like a player that returned from a long-term injury but it’s fair to say that Chamakh’s days are probably numbered in the club.

Marouane Chamakh has been linked with moves back to France but he intends to spend the rest of the season with Arsenal before taking a decision this summer.

However, I feel it’s high time the Moroccan waves his goodbyes to the Gooners and here are five reasons why:

1.       Lack of Playing Time

Since the return to full fitness of Robin van Persie in the tail end of 2010, Marouane Chamakh has featured sparingly for Arsene Wenger’s side. The manager plays with a sole striker and van Persie has always gotten the nod ahead of Chamakh.

Chamakh played a lot of games in the start of his Arsenal career due to the fact that van Persie and Nicklas Bendtner were out of action nursing injuries. After van Persie’s return, Chamakh played only in Carling Cup and FA Cup ties and scored his first goal in four months in the 5-0 drubbing of Leyton Orient in March.

Chamakh’s last goal for Arsenal came in September 2011 (six months since his last goal) in the puzzling 4-3 defeat against Blackburn.

2.       Arsenal’s Style of Play

Arsene Wenger’s football philosophy involves his side playing the ball on the ground with a lot of movement off the ball and intricate passing and it’s fair to say that Arsenal hasn’t really played to Marouane Chamakh’s strengths.

Chamakh is a forward that’s renowned for his work rate and superb aerial ability but Arsenal’s full backs haven’t really fed the Moroccan with his bread and butter. His first ever Arsenal goal was scored with his head against Blackpool but he hasn’t really gotten a constant supply of aerial balls into the box.

The funny thing is that Chamakh tends to spend more time outside the box but this is because he’s trying to fit into Arsenal’s style of play that involves a lot of linkup play.

Chamakh needs to move club that floats balls into the box at every opportunity. If he played for a Rugby outfit like Stoke City, Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant would have floated in a lot of balls into the opposition’s area.

Let’s not forget that they also have a not-so-secret weapon called Rory Delap.

3.       Low Confidence Level

Chamakh was a striker that was never afraid to have a go at goal at the start of his Arsenal career but he has shown lack of ability and quality in the recent games he has played for Arsenal. I have a big hunch that his lack of playing time contributed to his lethargic performances so he needs to move to a new club whose manager will give him that “lift” he clearly seeks.

Should Arsene Wenger delve into the transfer market to purchase a new striker, it would be clear for everyone to see that he doesn’t believe that Chamakh is good enough to be Robin van Persie’s number two.

4.       Fresh Start

Even if Marouane Chamakh has spent just two seasons in England, I’m in the opinion that the Moroccan forward is in dire need of a fresh challenge from another club in Europe.

He has been linked with a move back to France and it would be nice for the Moroccan to go back to “familiar surroundings” in Paris or the south of France. Wherever his potential destination might be, a fresh start may be needed to reignite his waning career.

5.       Going down the pecking order

Many Gooners might feel that Marouane Chamakh still remains Arsenal’s number two striker after Robin van Persie but Arsene Wenger has hinted that he’ll soon start giving chances to the Korean forward Park Chu-Young.

Park took his chance well his Arsenal debut in the Carling Cup 3rd round against Bolton with a superb curling effort that sent the Emirates into raptures. Park wasn’t really impressive against Marseille in the Champions League but he’s eased slowly into the side.

If Wenger decides to buy a new striker in the winter transfer window, Chamakh will certainly go down the pecking order.

Summary

Marouane Chamakh is a decent player that deserves to play week in week out but he’s clearly not getting that at the moment in Arsenal.

Unlike Nicklas Bendtner that spent countless weeks whining about lack of playing time, Chamakh has been silent on the issue and he recently expressed his frustration by saying that he won’t be in the fringes forever.

In as much as I’d like Chamakh to stay, I feel it’s high time to cash in on the Moroccan forward to make a quid or two from a player that cost Arsenal…nothing.

Sayonara.

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