Category Archives: Arsenal

Gooner of the Year #3; Alexander Song Billong

song

It was a bit of a surprise to see Song jump from 5th place to third place in the poll on the last day, but that’s exactly what happened. Emotionally, I like the player but objectively, he had an up and down season so 3rd place in the poll is at least two places higher than I would have put him. Granted, he turned his season around in the second half but there were some really rough patches in there, like when I went and saw them play Sunderland.

Again, you have to understand that I like this player, he has heart and sometimes heart is enough for me. So, I’m not taking the piss out of him when I mention his rough patch, or if I point out that his best games came against Burnley, Wigan, and Fenerbache. I’m simply stating the facts.

Beside the heart, what most supporters like about Song is that he played wherever the boss asked him to, he never gave a bad interview, never got caught with his pants down, gave 100% most games, and he got better as the season wore on, he was easily Arsenal’s most improved player.

At the start of the season, I ridiculed Arsene for even THINKING of using Song. I mean, I like the guy, I thought I saw flashes of good stuff from him at the end of last season, but he certainly wasn’t ready for the rigors of a Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Champions League season, was he?

Clearly, he was.

Alex Song isn’t going to score 10 goals, he isn’t going to spray passes all over the field like some pass spitting machine, and he isn’t going to be flashy, but he is going to be only one on the pitch even trying when we lose 4-1 to Chelsea… at home, he’ll be the guy who puts in a tackle when Nani is seal-dribbling, he’ll mark their best player, carry the team’s water, he’ll play center back in a Champions League final in a pinch because you need him too, and run till his lungs are bursting.

He’s got guts. And some times, guts is enough.

Is Something Else Going on Today???

OH YEAH

Champions League final.

I was thinking about this the other day and part of me wishes that Chelsea played in this final, because then I’d have nothing to root for and could instead focus all my glee on watching one of the two teams lose. Doesn’t matter which one, one of those two has to lose and either way, I get my money’s worth.

Unfortunately, I have a lot to root for; I want “Titi” to get a gods damned Champions League winner’s medal!  Which sucks, because now I’m invested in the outcome of this match, and if I were to be perfectly honest, after watching the way Man U steamrolled our poop in the semi-final, and after watching Barcelona eek by a terrible Chelsea squad, I have to think that it will take an incredible, incredible game from Barca to beat Man U. That’s why I’m going to say a little prayer for Barcelona:

“Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you, will remember if we were good men or bad. Why we fought, or why we died. All that matters is that two stood against many. That’s what’s important! Valor pleases you, Crom… so grant me one request. Grant me revenge!

That’s right, Crom, Patrice Evra ate Thierry Henry’s child, alive. He is an evil man AND he can turn into a snake at will.  Oh yeah and one more thing, Crom, do you really want to spend eternity listening to Man U supporters sing songs about their European Double?

In conclusion, please help Arsenalona win the Champions League tonight and if you do not listen, then to HELL with you!”

Hangeland is a Wuss and other Transfer News

Remember when I said that defenders might be reticent to come to Arsenal as our style of play often hangs center backs out to dry? Well, Bread Hangeland has said pretty much the same thing.

If there is an offer on the table, style of play and formation would be important factors. I’m probably more protected as a defender at Fulham than I would be at some other places.

It’s kind of a remarkable statement isn’t it? It makes me wonder if mentally he’s the right man for the job. Maybe he’s just got low expectations and doesn’t want to rise to the occassion that a club like Arsenal could provide.

And yes, yes, I know what you’re going to say, “Arsenal need to buy a Defensive Midfielder and then we can get Hangeland.”

HA HA I FOOLED YOU

There is no other transfer news, which is boring.

OK, well, I’ll be down at Doyle’s this afternoon, wearing my #14 Arsenal strip and cheering for Crom to annihilate Man U.

Join us for a tipple?

Gooner of the Year #4; Samir Nasri

Nasri picks his post

He started the season in the best fashion possible: he scored a goal in his very first game. It wasn’t a spectacular goal, not the kind he scored against Man U, but it was a goal and a goal in his debut. And given the fact that he was brought in to replace the Catalonian Dreaming Hleb who, in fact, never even took a shot at goal in the three years that he was at Arsenal (all 10 of Hleb’s goals were actually missed passes or deflections*) a goal in his debut was about as good a haul as any could hope for.

He followed that debut goal with a goal in the Champions League against minnows FC Twente, then one against Everton, and just as Arsenal supporters were starting to wonder if he could keep up the goal scoring pace, he scored a brace against Man U. It was a moment of majesty and led many to early speculation that Nasri would be player of the year, that he was the next Pires, and so on.

The first goal was a speculative shot, for sure, but the second was a goal of pure beauty. Watch it again here, it could be Arsenal goal of the season.

Unfortunately, that brace would be the moment of the season for Samir as after that his form slipped a bit. It could have been the demands of the Premier League, the fact that he was required to play more defense than at Marseilles, defenders figuring out his moves, or some left over effects of his battle with meningitis, it was clear that his form had dropped off a bit at the end of the season.

Still, he managed 43 appearances in all competitions all the while putting in wherever the boss asked — defensive midfield, attacking midfield, off the striker, on the left, on the right, floating… hell, let’s try him at right back! And jaded or not, 43 appearances will just make him stronger next year, and bodes well for his strength and stamina.

Personally, my second favorite moment of the season was when Arsenal hosted Coca Cola side Newcastle. The game was over with Arsenal sitting at 3-0 when Newcastle brought in recently paroled Joey Barton, who’s very first action was a two footed tackle on Samir Nasri. This attempt to end the Frenchman’s career was greeted with jeers by the crowd but Nasri just shook off the challenge, got up, waited until Barton was running away from him, and kicked him in the Achilles. Cheap shot, sure, but a cheap shot well deserved.

Nasri bedded in well in his first season and is certainly one for the future.

Anfield ’89, Anfield ’09

You can tell by the blitz of articles coming out of the dot com that the end of this season was always going to have a huge media campaign reminiscing over that magic moment back in the eighties.  There are all kinds of videos and interviews and remembrances from all kinds of participants (fans to refs) and if you haven’t gotten your fill of Anfield ’89 then by all means, go and indulge in the past.

However, if you’re looking forward to the future, you might want to skip that and go on over to Setanta (or your favorite ‘feed’) and watch the second leg of the FA Youth Cup. Gunnerblog has a companion piece about the night, you should read it.

Diego off Arsenal’s list

At £22m I doubt Diego was ever going to be an Arsenal player, but that didn’t stop the press speculation last season. Anyway, he’s now a Juve player and goes the way of Ricardo Quaresma as yet another player that Arsenal supporters begged Wenger to buy who went somewhere else to fail miserably.

For me, the important thing about this story is that Diego represents the first big signing of silly season. It’s on now.

Oh, and you can start speculating about which Newcastle player Arsenal will not sign, they are having a fire sale. I think Obafemi Martins will be linked non-stop until he signs for Manchester City, and I think Arsenal supporters will be begging for Bassong non-stop until he signs for some place in France.

See you all tomorrow!

*not true

Gooner of the Year #5; Bacary Sagna

Heaven, I'm in Heaven, And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak; And I seem to find the happiness I seek; When we're out together dancing, cheek to cheek.

The polls are closed, you all have had your say, and you have voted for Bacary Sagna in 5th place of the 2008/2009 Gooners of the Year.

I’ll admit that I’m a bit surprised. I fully expected to get up and write a totally different article but there was a push late yesterday and Sagna came in 5th. I’ll also be honest and admit that I didn’t vote for Sagna, because, well, because I overlooked him.

I guess it’s easy to overlook the guy on the edge of the park, who puts in a solid performance, week in and week out. The flashiest thing about him is his beaded hair, but that’s ok, because all teams need solidity more than flash and Sagna plays that part.

The story is familiar: Wenger picked Sagna up after an injury plagued season at Auxerre for a mere £6m, then displaced Eboue who was our starting right back and plopped Sagna right into the fire of the Premier League. Sagna quickly made the spot his own and put in a solid year — leaving many wondering what role Eboue should play.

Now, in his second season he played in 47 games in all competitions, second only to Denilson for the Iron Man award and as many of you mentioned, I just can’t remember him making a single mistake. That’s really unusual for a defender. Defenders slip up, and when they do it’s usually glaringly obvious. I only saw a couple of Man U games and I can tell you which of their defenders made mistakes in those games but for some reason I just can’t think of any mistakes that Sagna made. Surely he put a foot wrong somewhere!

Though they get accolades for scoring goals or putting in assists, defenders earn their keep through solid play and if there was any single player who won the moniker of “solid” this season it was Bacary Sagna. Congrats son!

Sing us a song, Mr. Brown.

Phil Brown’s Hull City escaped relegation by dint of being the 4th worst team in the Premier League. On the day, all any of these horrible teams needed to do was secure a draw and they could ensure Premier League play for another season and they were all so universally piss-poor that they couldn’t even do that. But incredibly, it was Hull City who showed how classy their club truly is by first storming the pitch and then having Mr. Brown take the microphone and lead the club in a song.  Get out the Champagne! You just finished 17th! By losing!

I can’t wait to face this pack of liars next year, I might even get tickets to the home game.

In a sense, it was the perfect result for me: I got to watch Hull lose and yet stay in the Premier League, so they could be beaten by Arsenal up to 4 times next year. I got to see Newcastle relegated, which, while I feel for their supporters, was no less than the team deserved given the squad they built.

Oh and Arsenal won 4-1 over Stoke.

Not bad.

Theo to play for England, the U-21s, the U-19s, and any other squad that needs a win.

Arsene Wenger is not a happy man. It looks like Theo Walcott could be chosen to play for both the England senior squad in the early summer qualifications and then in the U-21 squad in the late summer U-21 tournament.

I’ve made no secret of how I feel about the Internationals, but let me be clear about the U-21s: there is no reason for a player to play in both the England and the England U-21 team. First, that U-21 team is so pointless that the matches might as well be held behind closed doors — with friends of the players and scouts the only people who bother attending. Second, Theo has already been injured by England this season and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see him pick up a knock in one or both tournaments. And finally, I realize that he’s 20 years old and thinks he can play in every game but he cannot and getting Theo back into this Arsenal team 100% healthy and ready to go at the start of the season should be a priority for both the England team and for Arsenal.

Of course, we know that the International managers couldn’t give two-fucks about club play, they’ve demonstrated that time and again.

Right, that’s it for today, I hope to see you back here tomorrow for GoY #4.