Gooner of the Year; Andrei Arshavin

brrrrdtd dttd ttd tdt four goals at anfield

It wasn’t even close. 76% of you voted for Andrei Arshavin in the poll while Robin van Persie was a distant second at 58%. To put it another way, the difference between 5th place and 2nd place was just over 10%. It’s a comfortable win for the little Russian and here’s why.

First, he had to overcome the negative press that those racists at Zenit were spewing in order to make themselves look like the better party in this deal. They tried to make him look like the whiner, like the guy who had been given everything and that they just wanted a fair deal out of it. But the truth was that they foolishly cup tied him in the Champions League, thus devaluing the player, and the fact that the Russian season doesn’t kick off until after the January transfer window meant that Arshavin wasn’t match fit, further devaluing the player in the January transfer window. When Andrei got to Arsenal he immediately gave an interview, where he showed off his impressive English skills, and set about dispelling all the rumors. He wanted to play for Arsenal.

Second, he had to overcome his lack of match fitness. I’m not saying the guy was 200 lbs or something, just that no matter how much you work out it’s not the same as actually playing and practicing at full speed. There was a brief moment where we all thought we might see him against Spurs, only 8 days after signing, but it wasn’t to be. He remained on the bench until Feb 21st, 2009, against Sunderland, perhaps you remember the day? I do.

Here he is, gooner of the year, as photographed by yours truly

Still it took him a few weeks to sort of settle in. The match against Fulham a week later, you could really see that the toll of the Premier League pace had gotten to him.

And then the little Russian went on a tear, scoring or setting up goals in 5 games in a row; WBA, Burnley, Blackburn, Hull, and Newcastle. As he gained fitness, Arsenal started reaping the benefits and the club started winning games. That’s when I think we all knew we had something special, because a fully fit Arshavin was truly something to behold.

Third, he had to overcome the physicality of the Premier League. Speaking of the Newcastle game, does anyone remember Steven Taylor’s vicious attack on Andrei? No?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVn_ObfvkXw]

After the game Andrei simply said “The style of play is hard but not vicious. It is not something that I am used to but I understand it perfectly – you can’t relax for a second.” He had taken his lumps and came up a better man for it.

Which brings us to the final obstacle that he had to overcome; Premier League defenses. Despite Man U’s blistering defeat in Rome, I still believe that in league play the English Premier League has the toughest defenses in the world. If you look at the top four defenses in the EPL, they concede less than a goal a game on average. So, scoring goals, against top clubs, in league play, is very hard. One player scoring two goals against a bottom club is pretty good, but one player scoring 4 goals, against a top club, on their patch, where they had only conceded 10 goals all season?

No way.

Yes way.

I’m not going to put all four goals here, because one stands out as extra special and I don’t want it lost in the shuffle. It’s the type of goal that only the top, top class players take. It’s the type of goal that Gooners of the Year make.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmBJXj-O_CA]

So, for overcoming all those obstacles, for playing beautifully, for scoring wonder goals, and for putting us on your back and securing fourth place, Andrei Arshavin, you are our Gooner of the Year.

Transfer Rumors

My one observant reader will notice that I have put a third page on my masthead, entitled “Players Who Didn’t Sign for Arsenal” it’s my little tongue in cheek look at all the guys that get linked to the club, that the press go gaga over, and who sign elsewhere. Today, we can add one name to that list, some Jerkoff from St. Racistberg, who signed for Chelsea. I’m hapy for them both.

Future additions to the list could be:

Gareth Barry apparently wants to come to Arsenal… for £12m. I would pay £12m for Gareth Barry. I would pay probably £20m for him, just because his passport is that all important shade of Claret that makes xenophobes like Platini and Bleater get all tingly inside. Of course, this has about as much chance of happening as I do of having sex with Christina Hendricks, but hey, a man can dream.

Supposedly, Arsenal are also targeting a striker from Bordeaux named Chamakh. You really have to check out this link, his “highlight” reel is absolutely comical. It’s two videos showing a few dozen missed goals and like one decent chip shot. A striker who misses bags of chances? Rarely do we see Arsenal linked with a man who is so truly ready to jump right into the first team.

Since Brede Hangeland is making noises that he’s going to stay at Fulham and fulfil his life’s ambition of being a second rate defender, the press have turned their attention to Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen.  Hey, he’s a defender, which is a refreshing change from all the stories linking us to strikers…

and wingers like Marat Izmailov. Signing Arshavin from Zenit seems to have had the knock on effect of getting the press to link us to every Tom, Dick, and Ivan in Russia.

And last, but not least, someone went back into their tickle file and pulled out the name “Mbia.” He’s over 6′ tall, plays as a holding midfielder, and has been linked with Arsenal in the past, practically begging to come to Arsenal in the January transfer window. But, my favorite aspect of this rumor is that when you google “mbia” you get some kind of Municipal Bond Insurance Agency. 

Also, no way.

Gooner of the Year #2; Robin van Persie

After he scored the wonder goal at Everton

36 games for Arsenal (17 more than last season) 20 goals and 13 assists (both of which lead the team) and the ability to score absolutely incredible goals: but for some Ivan come lately, he would have easily been Gooner of the Year.

There isn’t much to say about Robin, we all see that the quality is there, we just need him healthy. I thought his best game came back in January, when we drew 1-1 to Everton. Here was a player who, in the month of January, had a hand in every Arsenal goal — either through assist or by putting it in the net. He carried the team at a time when no one else was around to do it and as much as Arshavin gets some credit for saving our season, Robin van Persie deserves equal credit for the work he put in at a crucial time.

Oh and, we need him to sign the damn contract and stay healthy.

Here’s some video of my favorite goals from van Persie this season

From the Arsenalists archives

Chelsea 1-2 Arsenal

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkFqO70vPBQ]

Everton 1-1 Arsenal; goal of the season candidate

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=CA&hl=en&v=FcJXPM2Y6sg]

Arsenal 3-1 Plymouth; power goal at the end

Right, we’re almost at the end of this portion of the award ceremonies and I want you all to start thinking about “Goal of Year” and “Match of the Year” if you have suggestions for either/both, please put them in the comments below.

Schadenfreude

I loved watching Man U get beat. I loved watching those smug bastards at the bar sit in silence as Barcelona gave them a full serving of what Wenger’s cooking up at Arsenal. I love the fact that they list that bogus “Club World Cup” and the laughable “Carling Cup” as one of their pieces of silverware this season. I love that people were touting Man U to win the “quint” and all they got was one real trophy. And most of all, I love Crom, Crom solved the riddle of Arsenal yesterday.

After watching Barcelona play I have it all figured out. We have Eduardo/van Persie to finish like E’t'o’o'o’t'o, we have Cesc to play like Iniesta, we have Arshavin to play like Messi (give him the #10 shirt, Cappy), we have Eboue to play like Puyols (the playacting and the Man U fans reactions were f*cking priceless!), we have Song to play like Yaya, and all we need is someone to play like Pique and we are set.

SET I TELL YOU.

Anyway, it was great to watch a blend of youth and experience, grace and power, kick the shiat out of a pack of overrated, scowling, head holding, whining, cunts.

Oh, and Cesc? Watch Iniesta play this summer during your Spain qualifiers. If you can’t do that, at least watch the tape of last night. Last night, he was what you should be; tackling, passing, hustling, and outplaying everyone on the pitch.

He’s only 5’6″ and yet he was the biggest player out there.  If you think you’ll get a move to Barcelona while Iniesta, Messi, and Toure are there, you got another thing coming brother.

IT’S A SIGNING

Arsenal have signed a pair of 15 year olds.

Yippie.

Come again?

Arsene Wenger has given a rather strange interview in which he waxed poetic about Thierry Henry saying that Henry would have won them the title last year. It’s about as much an admission from the boss that he screwed up in the rebuilding as we will ever get. It’s also a glimpse into his mind when he states that there’s no way he’ll let these young players go after he spends all this time educating them.

I also just want to mention that with this win Thierry Henry can finally close his trophy case. He has won the league and the cup in three countries (France, England, Spain) he’s won the World Cup, the European Cup, and now the Champions League.

Good night sweet prince.

Club v. Country

Theo Walcott has been called up to play for the U21s which is proof that country wins, every time. My only thought on this is that if he gets injured playing in the U21s I sincerely hope that Arsenal sue the FA.

Sue them until they never call up another Arsenal player ever again.

Oh and hey, good news (this is what people call ‘irony’) Kieran Gibbs earned a call up to the U21s! Good for you son!