Arshavin Bides his Time, Podolski Keen on Trophies and Big Sol Hangs his Boots
A bird at hand is certainly worth two in the bush.
Like fellow FA Cup finalists, Liverpool, Chelsea hosted Newcastle with half an eye on the final in Wembley, so their gaffer decided to tweak his team a bit rest some tired legs. The hosts played this contest fresh from their 6-1 thumping of Queens Park Rangers while the visitors were on the end of a shocking 4-0 defeat to Wigan.
The game was marred by an injury to Cheick Tiote but the undisputed star of the night was this years signing of the season, Papiss Cisse. This bloke actually joined Newcastle for 1/3 of the funds acquired from the sale of the legend of the flops, Andy Carroll.
His blistering goalscoring form has coincided with a horrible goal drought for his compatriot and strike partner, Ba Ba Senegalese Sheep. The Sheep with the fish lips smashed the bar but Cisse’s clinical ability and confidence in front of goal was epitomized by his first finish. However, his second goal was a stuff made in your wildest fantasies.
That victory coupled with Tottenham’s win over Bolton has seen both clubs leapfrog into the top five and they are breathing down Arsenal’s neck. In the run-in, Tottenham is has the easiest set of fixtures and Arsenal has to record two victories against Norwich and West Brom to assure themselves of a Champions League berth.
Irrespective of how Newcastle’s campaign ends, I’m putting all the votes in the Alan Pardew box for the Manager of the Year award. That silver-haired Londoner has done one hell of a job with the Toon.
Moving over to Arsenal news, a few tidbits here and there have dominated the proceedings.
The new kid on the block, Lukas Podolski, has said that moving to Arsenal was a step in the right direction, and he re-iterated his desire to win trophies with the Gunners:
“I’ve long thought about how we go from here,” he said, “and the question was only a top club like Arsenal. I’m ready to take this step and I am convinced that it is the right thing. I’ll find my place at Arsenal.
“The goal is to win titles.”
He also talked about how he turned down other potential suitors because he had set his sights on Arsenal and it’s heartwarming to know that he’ll contribute immensely to the team next season. However, this tweet by @FootballFunnys, a sarcastic handle that tweets football jokes wasn’t that funny though.
This is the same handle that tweeted that Joe Hart will be fit to be recalled for this weekend’s match against Newcastle United, after being rested in Manchester derby. He also tweeted that he tried drinking from a Liverpool FC mug yesterday, but it was impossible because it kept sliding down the table.
I guess we aren’t the only clubs that have incurred the handle’s wrath then.
After an illustrious 19-year football career that saw him play in both North London outfits, Big Sol Campbell has decided to call it quits on the beautiful game. Campbell enjoyed a trophy-laden career that saw him won the League Cup (’99) with Tottenham before enjoying his most fruitful years wearing the Red and White of Arsenal.
In five seasons with the Gunners from 2001 to 2006, he helped Arsenal earn two Premier League titles (2001-02, and the 2003-04 Invincibles campaign), and three FA Cups (2001, 2002 and 2005). He also added to Community Shield trophies to his name.
In his time at Arsenal, he was named to the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Team of the Year in 1999, 2003 and 2004 for his outstanding performances in the heart of Arsenal’s defense . He also forged a telepathic understanding and partnership in central defense alongside Kolo Toure during the Invincibles season, when the Gunners won 26 of their 38 league games and tied the rest. Arsenal allowed just 26 goals during the entire season.
His final piece of silverware was the 2008 FA Cup he won with Portsmouth.
On the international scene, he notched up 73 caps for the Three Lions and scored his only goal against Sweden in the 2002 FIFA World Cup. He also earned a place in the 2002 FIFA Team of the Tournament and the 2004 Euro Team of the Tournament afterwards.
In a somewhat emotional interview, Sol Campbell waved his goodbyes to the beautiful game and has expressed that it’s a very difficult decision he has made because he had at the top level for a long time, put in a lot of work and it’s taken a lot of dedication.
I wish Sol Campbell all the best in his future endeavors and I can only express my gratitude for his years of service to Arsenal and football at large.
It was his header that almost secured the Champions League final for Arsenal in 2006. Had the Gunners held the fort for 15 extra minutes, a 1-0 victory would have been more than enough to put Campbell’s name in Arsenal folklore, like he isn’t there already.
A few months ago, Andrey Arshavin was shipped back to Siberia to represent the club he made over 300 appearances for and was instrumental in their league win in 2007. In his first spell at Zenit, he gave the two assists that were needed to sink Rangers in the 2008 Europa League final. In the same year, he dazzled Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup to win the trophy for his Russian side.
After securing a move to Arsenal, he took the Premier League by storm with his account opener being at the hands of Arsenal’s goal scoring maiden, Paul Robinson. His highest point in his Arsenal career was the incredible four-goal affair he had at Anfield in the spring of 2009.
The first goal was from a Cesc Fabregas pass after some good work by Samir Nasri, he worked the second himself after some poor Liverpool defending, his hat-trick was gifted to him on a platter thanks to more atrocious defending from Liverpool and his fourth came from a brilliant counter attack that was launched by Theo Walcott. His first full season with Arsenal was last season and he came up with the goods scoring 10 league goals in 30 appearances but he got injured when Arsenal played Barcelona in that 2-2 draw at the Emirates.
Last season, he wasn’t that little magician we all felt he could be but he still did well enough to score 10 goals and lay on a lion’s share of assists for his teammates. The most notable finishes were his match winners against Everton and FC Barcelona.
This campaign, Arshavin’s lethargic performances saw him go further down the pecking order and many Gooners asked for his head on a plate. Despite the fact that this move was considered as a “breath of fresh air” to many, I was a bit bewildered to know that Arsene Wenger left Arshavin go with a considerable chunk of this season left to play.
Judging from Arsenal’s recent injury woes, I regarded sending a player of Arshavin’s quality out on loan was a poor piece of judging from Arsene Wenger. However, he hasn’t been missed because his exit paved the way for the Isreali Rabbi, Yossi Benayoun, that has been a phenom in recent weeks.
Arshavin has stated that he’s going to bide his time before making any decision on his future. The ball still remains in his court.
Despite Arshavin’s shortcomings, he has proved countless times that,
Form is temporary but class is permanent.
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