A big Hey, Ho, Hello to all those Gunners and Non-gunners out there !!!
Its the new blogger on the block….Well…At first I thought I’d start off by talking just a little bit about myself, just a tiny little bit, not enough to bore you to tears…..but then I figured; Hell….Who on earth would want to hear about my boring life???!!!
You are here only:
a)Because you are an Arsenal fan and are mildly intrigued by the site and are looking forwards to (somewhat) wise words about the club, its members and the beautiful game that is football in which case, you are at the right place!!!!! Welcome!!!
b) Because you hate Arsenal,
have no life and detest its god-damned red & white clad supporters and think it would be a bag of laughs to play the proverbial ‘troll’ and stick it to the fans that…erm flock here…. well, welcome to you too!! No-doubt my column should provide more than enough ammunition to satisfy your troll-ish needs. Blast away!!!
c)or Because you were done in by mind-numbing boredom and landed on this page by some random act of the all-powerful god that is the internet…Wells heres hoping that I provide a few minutes of entertainment before you click that ‘back’ button muttering “bloody morons” or you magically turned into Arsenal fans by my waxing eloquent about them…..
So lets get cracking…
There has been much salivating and gushing of body of bodily fluids when the name Robin van Persie comes up and practically no end in sight after his wonder-strike at the Grove, but today I’d like to take a look at relatively unsung players who’s blood, sweat and tears seem to aid and abet the flying dutch-man’s net bulging antics.
Gervais Yao Kouassi …To call him the messiah would be a tad too much but You’ve got to love the Ivorian, his confidence on the ball and trickery combined with his refreshing willingness to take on the opposition without trying to unlock the defense pass by pass is akin to breath of fresh air in a sty filled with flatulent hogs. As for his apparent “goal drought”, its only a matter of time…..
Mikel Arteta – Here’s one that i had all wrong and I’ll gladly admit my blind discrimination and writing off a mid-fielder from a mid-table team who is arguably past his best. But its just been a procession of splendid performances from the Spaniard, the controlled passing and a maturity that has rubbed off on Song was just what the doctor ordered. The ‘La Masia’ product would have strolled into most national teams if he werent spanish (which will work out pretty well for us actually). Arteta is one of those unspectacular but hard working mid-fielders who seem to get so much stick from the media, with an innate ability to bring stability to a relatively young midfield that would otherwise charge forward in a kamikaze goal crazy blood-lust that would make it all to easy for oppositions to counter and its the story we have seen unfold umpteen times in the past few seasons as Arsenal would capitulate in spectacular style in games that any of the big 4 (or big 6,or whatever number rocks your boat) would consider “easy”. A prime example of the Spaniard’s influence over the mid-field in particular and the team as a whole was the Wigan game where the Lactics seemed to have us by the balls for the first 15-minutes or so which saw the creation of a chance and culminated in a shot that should have made the back of the net bulge. A year ago such a situation would have been met with a near rabid need to counter as swiftly as possible…with men being committed forward with little or no regard to our own goal (where Almunia would be flapping around uselessly). Enter Arteta and things seem to just slow down (in a good way, I mean) the man seems to radiate calmness and authority. I’m not sure if its the fact that he started his career as a defensive midfielder or just his maturity paired with his ability to gauge the mood of the team in general and the game in particular. But his innate gift that enables him to regulate the tempo of the game to suit the gunner’s style of play all while keeping a lion’s share of the possession is an asset to the team with no equal. I’ve come across many a fan who seem to rue the Spaniard’s lack of flare and flamboyance in the middle, in short, his Cesc-ness but let me ask you this (at the risk of sounding like an ingrate), What the f#^*k did Cesc ever manage to achieve for arsenal?
And yes I was singing a very different tune a few months ago but in retrospect I’d rather give Artetaa shot over a certain avaricious young french whipper-snapper.
Per Mertasaker – Admittedly when i first learnt that the gaffer had signed certain German defender with 70+ international caps i was stoked to say the least, but a few hours later the news that said defender was Per hit me like a giant sack of potatoes, and let me tell you, it wasn’t pleasant, I was subject to more than a few cruel japes regarding his pace or rather the lack of it. The chronically slow German who’s situational success for club and country was iffy at best was not the solid striker-devouring man-mountain that most fans were hoping would partner the Verminator. His lack of pace and odd gait which seemed to suggest that he still wasn’t used to being 6-feet tall were a constant thorn is my arse for a while but plaudits to the BFG (courtesy to Arseblogger, its where i heard it first) or Big Fucking German in his present avatar, who has seemed to adapt to the English game reasonably well, all while i was expecting him to fizz out like a wet firework. A few screamers now and again are a part and parcel of Arsenal’s defensive tradition (Somewhere in England,Tony Adams is frowning) but the former Werder Bremen captain’s experience and height have not only improved our approach to set piece and dead-ball situations but also kept our suicidal tendencies that usually occur at a game’s dying minutes at bay. Which i must say I markedly more healthy for my television remote as well as my noggin.
The influx of experience has been a master-stroke by Wenger to rejuvenate a depressed dressing room which was reeling after the departure of two ‘oh-so-talented mid-fielders’. A few months ago the Internet was rife with predictions of gloom and doom while the Spuds and most of the scousers and blues seemed to wet themselves at the prospect of Arsenal sliding to relegation. But Arsene Wenger has lead by example by turning into the poster boy for the much talked about “Mental Fortitude” and “Strength of Character” and imbibing his squad with a hunger and a need to survive that has been the driving force behind the clubs resurgence. Its not all smooth sailing now on, but we are heading to calmer waters with Wenger at the helm, while every fan prays fervently to the football gods of the Arsenal Pantheon that the future promises silverware and heaps of glory.
So it does look like Arsene knows all….or rather significantly more than we arm-chair pundits think he does. But all not well with the gaffer’s transfer policy. Next week(I guess) I’ll be talking about Monsieur Wenger’s “Not-so-successful” buys and our clash with league leaders city though I dare-say you know which topic would dominate our thoughts….