Monthly Archives: February 2012

Robin van Persie On the Spotlight and Mikel Arteta the Optimist

When it all started

It all began in the summer of 2004. Arsene Wenger was fresh from attaining immortal status in Arsenal and England as he just guided his team to what is unfortunately his last Premier League title with 26 wins and 12 draws without even knowing what defeat felt like. Le Professor went to the EreDivisie to snap up a talented 21-year Dutch winger called Robin van Persie.

In his three-year stint in Feyernoord’s first team from 2001 to 2004, van Persie won the UEFA Cup with the Dutch outfit but he had a lot of irreconcilable differences with the manager and present Dutch coach, Bert van Marwijk.

He won the best young talent of the EreDivisie award in 2002 and had a tumultuous time in the tail end of his Feyernoord career. After making 59 appearances and scoring 15 league goals in three years at the club, van Persie parted ways with Feyernoord and joined Arsenal as a long-term replacement for the great Dennis Bergkamp.

Robin van Persie made his debut against Manchester United in the Community Shield of 2004 and has been a loyal servant to the club ever since. Van Persie has had the pleasure of playing beside excellent forwards like Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp but the early seasons of his Arsenal career has been blighted by injuries.

The Flying Dutchman has also been recognized for his football exploits with the EreDivisie Best Young Talent award (2002), Rotterdam Sportsman of the Year (2006), Euro 2008 Bronze Boot and Arsenal Player of the Season (2009). He has also won the Barclay’s Player of the Month on three occasions, Arsenal Top Goal scorer on three occasions and Arsenal Goal of the season for that brilliant strike against Barcelona on the 16th of February 2011.

Van Persie’s current deal expires in 2013 and the skeptics believe that he could face the same fate with Samir Nasri. However, van Persie has made some quotes that could give Gooners worldwide rest of mind by saying that he’s a true Gunner:

“I have been at the club for eight years and I am proud of that. I am a true Gunner. I love this club and that is no secret.”

“I will sit down with the manager and president at the end of the season and we will have coffee together. We will talk about many things but I already do that quite often with the manager anyway.”

This is probably the best news I’ve heard all week long…from an Arsenal perspective by the way. Give Me Football has reported that Arsenal is ready to give the Flying Dutchman a mega offer which will probably hit the six-digit mark. It’s no less than what van Persie deserves for his exploits on the pitch.

An elated Arsene Wenger took out time to give the reasons why van Persie is so good. Wenger said that he has an exceptional technique; he boasted that he has seen many great players over 30 years but van Persie’s technique stands out.

He also talked about his quick finishing ability, great movement off the ball and his intelligence. Robin van Persie is the kind of player you’d love to sing sweet tunes about all day and you won’t want to stop.

Yesterday, I tweeted with the blog’s handle @goonerdaily:

“@goonerdaily: Describe @Persie_Official in one word”

If a lady received the kind of words my followers tweeted about van Persie, her head would have swollen so big, it’ll be no different from a hot-air balloon.

Van Persie is renowned for his gifted technique, powerful shooting range, sleek dribbling skills, set-piece taking ability, flamboyancy, good passing range, composure, versatility and most importantly, his amazing finishing ability.

The future looks bright with van Persie at the forefront and things can only get better for the Gunners if the manager gets it right this summer. The manager deserves some plaudits for the amazing work he has done with the club but his team needs some quantity and of course, quality.

Mikel Arteta has integrated himself into the nucleus of the team and he has grown to become a vital cog in Arsenal’s engine room. His absence was deeply felt in the start of the year as Arsenal’s midfield crumbled against Fulham and Swansea.

Arteta was one of Arsenal’s “better” players in that crushing night at San Siro a few weeks ago but the Spaniard’s head isn’t down as he believes that Arsenal can overcome the heavy deficit at the Emirates:

“Do we need a miracle against Milan? No — only to play and to score, to score, to score. Now the Italians will think that the tie is not yet decided and that is good for us.”

“To fight for fourth position in the table is our minimum obligation but the Champions League is still not over”

You can’t fault Arteta’s attitude but how many Gunners believe that they can achieve the impossible in the second leg? The lack of desire shown in the first leg was just one of the club’s problems that horrible night. There was also the surprisingly leaky defense, the atrocious pitch and AC Milan’s brilliance on the night.

I admire Arteta’s optimism but it’s fair to say that Arsenal would be going trophy-less this season. I would be happy if we bow out with a victory but I see Milan getting a goal or two at the Emirates because our defense contains brilliant individuals but it can be shambolic as a unit.

Moving over to transfer news, the Media Vultures have cooked up more tales that can only bring a few fits or laughter here and there. Club Call reports that Twitchy ‘Ol ‘Arry wants to buy Theo Walcott to make him join the team with the chicken on a basketball.

Theo Walcott hasn’t been in everyone’s good books recently because he’s consistently inconsistent but selling him to the old enemy? Oh please.

The Daily Mail also published an article linking the forgotten Moroccan Marouane Chamakh to Fiorentina. On potential arrivals, Footy Bunker says that Arsenal is edging closer to signing Montpellier’s hitman Olivier Giroud while Goal.com reports that Arsenal has agreed personal terms with Lukas Podolski.

There’s an interlull tonight and a few Gunners have been called up to represent their nations. I’m hoping that these international fixtures won’t give the medical team something to worry about. I’m pretty sure they are going to discuss about the player’s mysterious injuries in their upcoming conference with team doctor Gary O’ Driscoll.

That’s a wrap folks,

I’m off for my Community Development Service as a certified “otondo”.

Sayonara.

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Wazobia Gooners

I’ll like to apologize for writing posts equal the amount of hair you can find on Howard Webb’s head in this blog. For those that don’t know, I’m the writer of an Arsenal blog called Gooner Daily and it’s fair to say that it’s not just a blog. It’s more or less a platform that has brought me closer to a lot of diverse individuals that share a common cause, Arsenal.

The blog has a big family on Twitter, Facebook  and “brothers” like HexyDre, dkingpin, davicky1, Obitwyce, Chuck Bass, Bukinho, q_e_d14, thegreengooner, dhebbur, mayorbaze amongst others have been part of its success story.

I’ve really enjoyed the Diary of a Traveling Gooner series by the innovative greengooner and I felt it was high time I share my chronicles from an Arsenal perspective in Lagos, Nigeria. Supporting Arsenal in this part of the world isn’t an easy feat because…

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The Art of Diving and Wojciech Szczesny Revels in Derby Victory

Cheat-ED

When Arsenal took on Celtic in the Champions League playoff phase of the 2009/10 season, the game was marred by a theatric act by Eduardo da Silva. Despite the fact that the penalty was just a goal out the five Arsenal scored in both legs, a witch hunt followed with people holding forks and torches requesting for the Crozilian to be banned. In the North London Derby that took place last Sunday, the world’s best left-footed Chimpanzee Gareth Bale auditioned for a role in Team Great Britain’s Olympic Diving Team and I’m pretty sure he impressed a few with the art of diving.

The FIFA rule book states that a goalie that infringes a player from scoring a clear-cut scoring opportunity deserves an early bath courtesy of a red card but Mike Dean chose to point to the spot without taking any further action. There was even time to consult his “second pair of eyes” in the form of the linesman but he showcased his inconsistency by awarding the penalty despite the fact that it was glaring that he had doubts.

Emmanuel Adebayor stepped up to convert the spot kick but the Gunners ran riot as the game progressed. In the wake of this shameful incident that taints the beautiful game, former top referee Graham Poll has told everyone to stop blaming Mr. Dean but Gareth Bale and his diving crew deserve to be punished by the FA:

“If it was a foul it should have been a red card for the keeper and perhaps Dean had doubts over the accuracy of his decision and left him on the pitch. Replays showed that Bale had not been fouled but I would not blame Dean for being fooled; rather look at the conduct of Bale and plead that the FA introduce retrospective punishment for diving. This would not need a change to laws of the game, nor permission from the IFAB or FIFA as it is up to each governing body to determine their own disciplinary code.”

Someone has to take some serious action on this shameful act as it has been the difference between a win, a draw and some cases, a loss. I can remember when Chelsea took Manchester United in a crunch encounter, it was a game that promised much but when I saw Yuri Zhirkov drop in the box like a player that got shot by a sniper and Frank Lampard’s penalty settled the tie.

However, there’s a Gunner that relished this victory probably more than the fans, his team mates and Arsene Wenger. Wojciech Szczesny rose to prominence last season and it was unfortunate to know that he had never won a North London derby till Sunday. When Theo Walcott scored Arsenal’s 4th goal, Szczesny was seen executing a somersault and he followed this up with a mighty bear hug with a ball boy.

Come on You Gunners

The Big Pole still took out time to talk about one of the best feelings in his career:

 “It is comparable to that of beating Barcelona. “It is a great feeling, probably one of the best I have ever had.

“Every single goal felt better than the previous one and I was celebrating quite energetically. But I loved it.

“It is the first time I have beaten Spurs and it is just great.”

It’s not just you Wojciech, we all loved the victory for more reasons than one. We showed the world and probably the English FA how poor Twitchy Ol’ Arry could be tactically as the quick-fire comeback at halftime made him make an erratic substitution that disrupted Tottenham’s shape and worked in our favour. We let the world know that Tottenham is probably were they are because of the mediocrity offered by Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool and on our day, we can gun down any opponent.

We showed the world that Scotty Parker may not just be the right candidate to replace that ex-girlfriend shagger for the England captaincy as he showed his temperament to get a silly red card for a needless foul he didn’t have to commit. We showed the world why Robin van Persie is the best striker in the world as he created a wonder goal out of nothing.

Finally, we showed the world that a cannon is a far superior weapon to a chicken on a basketball.

In other Arsenal related news, the club has declared profits yet again, Andrey Arshavin has spoken about how his move to Zenit would help his Euro 2012 challenge and Aaron Ramsey is set to miss Gary Speed memorial match courtesy of a niggling ankle injury.

I hope the game will be played with a great sense of pride in honor of one of the Premier League’s greatest stalwarts.

Sayonara.

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

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