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Park Chu-Young’s Military Service Delayed and Andre Santos: A Breath of Fresh Air

What a goal!!!!

“Andrey Arshavin invited the Bolton defense to him leaving Park Chu-Young free on the edge of the area. A simply weighted pass followed but Park scored the type of a goal that the Arsenal fans witnessed week in week out from the great Thierry Henry. It was a first time sweetly curled effort that eased past Bogdan before hitting the back of the net.”

– Culled from Arsenal 2 Bolton 1: Bend it like Park

That brilliant effort against Bolton in the Carling Cup has been all Park Chu-Young has offered to this illustrious club since making his £3.5m move from AS Monaco on transfer deadline day. He has been reduced three Carling Cup appearances, eight Premier League minutes and two Champions League appearances.

With Arsenal’s tactical set-up and Robin van Persie’s scintillating form, there was probably no way in Hell for Park to displace Arsenal’s talisman but everyone expected the Korean captain to get a handful of games when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho departed for the African Cup of Nations in January.

At the point in the winter, Park told Sky Sports that he’s primed to take his chance:

“All my team-mates are great players, I do not expect a chance for me because a player is unavailable. I will do my best to prepare myself to take any random chances at any time.”

“I am new to this club and to the Premier League. I am trying hard to learn more and more.

“I don’t worry about getting used to everything or anything. My team-mates are nice to me and I do not have any problems at all regarding training.”

Park waited for centuries for that chance but the King arrived and proved his worth in gold. Frustration from lack of first team opportunities started creeping in and his agent declared that his client could leave in the summer if his chances don’t improve.

We also learnt last year that Park was due to serve in the military in 2013. The forward stated that he can’t be excused and it’s inevitable but he thought that Arsenal would be an “incredible place to finish”. He didn’t cost a fortune but it’s just awkward to know that his Arsenal career would have been short-lived under such a circumstance.

I’m in no position to make any comment how a nation makes its laws and creeds so I wish Park the best in his future endeavors and I hope that he wouldn’t get hurt serving his fatherland.

However, the Guardian has reported that Korea’s Military Manpower Administration has stated that Park can remain in Europe for 10 more years because of his 10-year residency visa he got at Monaco. I still have a hunch that he’ll be among the “deadwood” flushed out this summer and like Marouane Chamakh, I hope he can find a club that’ll play to his strengths which includes Shaolin Soccer.

When Arsenal visited Spyros Louis in Athens in the last Group F Champions League fixture against Olympiakos, everyone expected Wenger to field the type of team he used against the same outfit three years ago. That night, the calamitous Mikael Silvestre led an Arsenal side that included Lukasz Fabianski, Fran Merida, Kyle Bartley, Aaron Ramsey, Carlos Vela, Jack Wilshere and Mission Impossible‘s lead actor, Tom Cruise.

Olympiakos won the game with a solitary goal but it didn’t matter from an Arsenal perspective because Arsene Wenger’s side had already booked their place in the Knockout Phase. The Gunners came from behind to salvage a draw against Barcelona in the first leg but Lionel Messi ran the show in the sequel.

Arsenal faced Olympiakos in a similar situation in December but Wenger chose to tweak things up a bit by fielding a squad that had the perfect blend of youth and experience. However, the game was marred by an ankle injury suffered by Andre Santos that sidelined him till Spring.

Andre Santos is a full back that’s also adept playing as a left winger and like every average Brazilian with the exception of Denilson and Lucas Leiva, he’s very skillful and he has an amazing technique.

He’s also a decent free kick taker and he has a flamboyant style of play. Just like the Brazilian legendary left back Roberto Carlos, Andre Santos can unleash a surface-to-goal torpedo from his left boot and he can also place the ball when he’s close enough to goal; at least, Petr Cech can attest to that.

His major flaw as a player is his overzealous attacking nature and he’s not that fast enough to track back should a counter attack surface and he tends to be selfish at times because he loves dwelling on the ball. He has been a breath of fresh air since his arrival and the memories of Gael Clichy are fading with each passing week.

Andre Santos played for the Reserves for an hour in the 3-0 win against West Brom Reserves and the Samba boy has declared that it’s good to be back:

“I am very happy to be playing again because it has been a long time, I feel good and I hope to be able to play next week at Everton. “It has been a difficult time because my ankle was in pain and I didn’t feel good, but now it feels good again and I’m very happy to be back.

“I’m really pleased the team have been doing so well. The displays have been strong, the spirit is good and we have 10 games left so we must finish well.”

Andre Santos has made 13 appearances for Arsenal and he has latched in two goals for his new club. With Kieran Gibbs putting up great performances as well as staying fit, Andre Santos will have to prove his worth again to make the starting place his own.

There have been so much talk about Ajax’s Jan Vertonghen linked with Arsenal and his possible arrival will bring healthy competition among the personnel occupying the left back position. We’ll have to wait till the summer to see how things pan out.

Welcome back Andre Santos;

A breath of fresh air.

Sayonara.

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Sayonara.

Robin van Persie Under the Spotlight and Park Chu-Young To Pack His Bags

While the Gunners basked in the euphoria of the resounding win over Blackburn, their West London neighbors from Stamford Bridge didn’t have much joy as the Man with the Whistle dominated the headlines for awarding a penalty for what seemed like a blatant dive by Danny Welbeck. Notwithstanding, the Red Devils showed great spirit and character to make the amazing comeback possible.

Robin van Persie is a forward that has been on the back pages for all the right reasons and his hat-trick against Blackburn took his Premier League tally to 22 in just 24 games. It’s fair to say that he has single-handedly carried Arsenal in his able shoulders but one cannot doubt the contributions he has gotten from his team mates.

Theo Walcott is one player that has forged a telepathic understanding with the Dutch forward and he has created a boatload of assists for van Persie. Fingers are still pointed at the pacey Englishman courtesy of his inconsistency but van Persie has stated his belief in the winger. Reports are emanating that Walcott is close to signing a new deal worth £80,000 per week.

Van Persie also took out time to hail the impact the Ox has made with his recent performances:

“It’s always good to have a good mixture of young talents, experienced players and I really like him. He is a fantastic player already, he’s only 18 and is so young. He’s good on the ball, he has everything.”

“In the future (he can make the England team), definitely. He’s a big prospect. Everyone is enjoying watching him, I do, you do and he brings something extra to the game and people just love it.”

I can’t deny that I was a bit skeptical when Arsene Wenger burnt £12m to buy an 18-year old unproven youngster but under his tutelage, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been nothing short of phenomenal in recent weeks. He already has four goals for the Gunners this season and his confidence levels are higher than an eagle’s nest.

Van Persie has also been a subject of transfer speculation from the two giants of Spanish football. Barcelona was quick to refute claims of the striker being linked while Footy Bible has reported that Real Madrid is gearing up an audacious £70m bid for the striker this summer.

Sticking with transfer news, Arsenal’s Korean forward Park Chu-Young could leave the club this summer if his chances of featuring don’t improve (via Clean Sheets All Round).  In an attempt to add more fire power to the forward line, Arsenal hijacked LOSC Lille Metropole to make a £3m move possible on deadline day.

For reasons best known to Arsene Wenger and the aliens scared to attack Earth because Chuck Norris still leaves, Park hasn’t been deemed good enough to start a league game for Arsenal and his woes would have been compounded by the fact Wenger felt it was right to bring back a 34-year-old Thierry Henry to cover the losses of Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho who have left for the African Cup of Nations.

We all know that Park is going to serve in the military next year he had hoped that Arsenal would have been “an incredible place to finish”. Should Park chose to pack his bags, everyone at Arsenal will wish him all the best and it’s good to know that he will have something to be remembered with.

That goal that made me run out of superlatives for him.

Sayonara.

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Shearer tips Van Persie to break his record and Park intends to take his chance

3 goals shy of history

The highlight of today will undoubtedly be the Champions League draw which will take place in Nyon, Switzerland but a few headlines have dominated the Arsenal world and I’ll like to share them with you.

Starting with everybody’s favorite section of the news, FC Cologne’s Lukas Podolski has given Arsenal and probably any other club interested in him the “green light” by saying that he’ll prefer to move abroad. He also stated that he’ll give preference to a team playing Champions League football.

The Polish-born German international has notched up 95 caps at the age of 26 and he has scored 43 goals for the national team. He’s not really a prolific goalscorer at club level but he sure knows when to come up with the goods especially when the chips are down.

His possible arrival to North London will be highly welcomed by gooners worldwide because he’ll provide stiff competition with Gervinho and Andrey Arshavin on the left wing and he can also be deployed in the center forward position when Robin van Persie needs to take a breather.

Speaking of van Persie, issues concerning his stalled contract talks are emanating again but Arsenal’s chairman Peter Hill-Wood told the Daily Star that he’s confident that van Persie would stay at Arsenal:

“I think Robin wants to stay, he seems very happy.”

“Nothing has been discussed, though it is obvious we want him to stay. He doesn’t want to talk about a contract now and that’s fine with us.”

I’ve had my fair share of words concerning the striker’s contract issue so I won’t bother myself writing about it again but the latest noteworthy news regarding van Persie comes from the lips of the greatest ever striker to grace the Premier League, Alan Shearer.

The English legend scored 283 league goals across three clubs he played for with his highest goal haul recorded in his Newcastle days. However, there’s a Premier League record he held that is currently threatened by van Persie. Alan Shearer scored 36 league goals in a calendar year and Arsenal’s dynamo is just three goals short of reaching it.

Shearer was full of praise for the Dutch forward and he told a couple of media Vultures gathered that Robin van Persie will break his record:

“He will beat my total of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year — a record, by the way, I was unaware of until it was mentioned to me on Match of the Day at the weekend. “Records are there to be broken and I can think of no better striker than the Dutchman to write his name in the history books.”

“Van Persie can score goals any way you like. He puts away headers, tap-ins and rockets.”

After playing Manchester City on the 18th of December, Arsenal will visit Villa Park to take on Aston Villa on the 21st before hosting Wolves and QPR on the 26th and 31st of December respectively. As long as van Persie remains fit in these fixtures, the likelihood of him being a record breaker will be very high.

While van Persie has been on the spotlight for all the right reasons, his deputies haven’t really gotten chances to prove themselves; the Korean at least. Park Chu-Young arrived at Arsenal after skipping his medical with LOSC Lille Metropole but the Korean captain has featured sparingly for the Gunners.

With Marouane Chamakh getting ready to board a plane to Gabon and Equitorial Guinea for the 2012 African Cup of Nations, Park will be the only spare striker left in the club and he’ll be odds-on to start against Leeds United in the FA Cup 3rd round next month.

Sky Sports have reported that Park is primed to take his chance in Chamakh’s absence:

“All my team-mates are great players, I do not expect a chance for me because a player is unavailable. I will do my best to prepare myself to take any random chances at any time.”

“I am new to this club and to the Premier League. I am trying hard to learn more and more.

“I don’t worry about getting used to everything or anything. My team-mates are nice to me and I do not have any problems at all regarding training.”

I still have fond memories of Park’s superb curler against Bolton and the way he has been on target for his country this season has been pretty stunning. After scoring that free kick in the 2010 World Cup that sent Nigeria packing, Park has gone on to score eight more goals for his country (including a hattrick against Lebanon) taking his goal tally to 23 in 57 apps for Korea.

Since we are gearing up ourselves for the yuletide season, why not have a look at Bleacher Report’s Jake Little‘s article tagged “10 things Arsenal fans want for Christmas.”

Trust me, you’ll love every point.

Sayonara.

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

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