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Birthday Blues : Walcott Is VERY Important To Arsenal

Theo Destroying Chelsea Earlier This Season

Theo Destroying Chelsea Earlier This Season

GOOD MORNING!!! to you all from wherever, I’ve been told if you type in caps it means you’re shouting. Now that I have your attention, its my birthday today (and the crowd goes wild!!!) so I’m feeling very good about the day. Talking of birthday’s yesterday Theo Walcott turned 23 and my oh my has he had a roller coaster professional career so far. He’s the focus of today’s post. Before that, here’s a post I wrote 2 years ago about The Real Theo Walcott , have a read if you want.

Cometh the man, cometh the hour, James Theo Walcott(like Lebron James, my favorite basketballer) would always have the spotlight on him and has become a target for angry/moody fans and the naysayers but its easy to forget he’s just 23 and he’s continually played out of position. You can’t blame him, as a teenager Sven Goran Eriksson(the then English manager) exposed him to such and should I say, he’s “never really recovered”. And being English again doesn’t help his cause.

You can argue that he’s been played in the best position where his speed can be utilized and then you’ll slate him again for being all speed and no brain, lack of ability to cut into his marker and cause damage. I’ll always defend the lad even though he’s mighty frustrating.

I followed Theo since his Southampton & England U19/U21 days and he was dubbed the “new michael owen” because of his finishing. High praise for him you might say but it was well deserved. He played off the main striker and used his pace to devastating effect banging in the goals left and right. But since becoming a first team member he’s been forced to spend time on the sideline which he’s done his job admirably without complaints.

Yes he can’t do the simple things at times, yes he overhits a cross sometimes and yes his finishing is erratic sometimes but for all this mentioned, he’s improved and gotten better. Van Persie credits him for assisting most of his goals and his hot form as a result of Theo’s selfless play and he showed that by handing the Englishman his Man of the match champagne after the NLD derby. Even Leo Messi rates him as one of the best players he’s played against.

Is Walcott really as bad as they make him out to be? Or are the fans ungrateful and too hard on him. Here’s something you should consider next time you want to boo the lad.

English Wingers In The EPL

    Stewart Downing : 27 appearances 0 goals 0 assists

    Ashley Young : 17 appearances 4 goals 7 assists

    Adam Johnson : 21 appearances 5 goals 2 assists

    Aaron Lennon : 15 appearances 3 goals 3 assists

    Theo Walcott : 27 appearances 5 goals 8 assists

As you can see for yourself, only Ashley Young rivals Theo this season and Young is a proper winger while Walcott is a forward playing on the wings. Again, if you’re not impressed, try putting some of the league’s best strikers on the wings in a 4-3-3 formation or any kind and see if they flourish or do any good, Hernandez for example.

Look at Bendtner, he was played consistently out wide and did not like it and it did not yield positive results but at Sunderland, he’s the main man and he’s banging in goals, he has more goals than Gervinho/Park & Chamakh put together. That buttresses my point.

Get off Theo’s back and cheer him on, a player can only deal with so much abuse. He has 16months left on his contract, if he’s not that good, the club won’t be trying to tie him down to a new deal and RVP loves him so I see no reason why you shouldn’t.

We’re not in action this weekend due to FA Cup games, but we’ll be on tuesday at Goodison Park. That should be a great on. From wherever you’re reading, go on and have a nice day. I know I will. Cheers.

Escobar

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Norwich Preview, Injury News + Henry deal in January?.

Le Boss


It’s quite a piss off when an initial draft gets swallowed into the Bermuda Triangle of writers like that of this post did. Oh well, good day still from wherever you read this. Always a pleasure to keep you in the know no matter what.

Well thank goodness we are done with the internationals, though this last round of proved quite eventful with a few brow raising results coupled with the Blatter matter.

All that take a back seat for the return of Premier League action with Arsenal kicking the action off in the early Saturday kick-off at Norwich City.

Arsenal go into the encounter brimming with confidence owing to a run of five wins in the last six matches and though Norwich have had a decent start to their return to the top flight; sitting in 9th place with 13 points, they lost 4-1 last time we paid them a visit and with almost the season’s regulars available for selection we can hope for three more points to the cause.

You noticed the almost right. Kieran Gibbs had a hernia surgery on Thursday stemming from the stomach strain he got a fortnight ago. Finnish English Carl Jenkinson is out as well with a back strain, nothing serious though.

On the up side, Jack Wilshere’s no more on crutches and as a result, is definitely on track for a return to the first team by mid December. French midfieder Abou Diaby is back in full training though and all that’s left for him is to regain match fitness.

Predicted line-up:
Szczesny; Djourou, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Santos; Arteta, Song,
Ramsey; Gervinho, Walcott, van Persie (c).

I was going to put Chamakh or Park upfront bearing in mind we have a crucial Champions League match against Dortmund on Tuesday then I remembered RvP was rested from Holland’s humbling by Germany on AW’s request. And I think TV5’ll be rested for the visit if Dortmund.

I’m going for a 2-0 win to the Arsenal. What do you think?

Away from on field matters, the rumour mill is gaining real momentum even with January some 40 days away as there’s been talk of the usual suspects Yoann Gourcuff, Yann M’Vila as well as Pato, Lukas Podolski and Danielle de Rossi while Arshavin’s been linked to Germans Schalke in a swap deal that’ll see 27 year old Jefferson Farfan come to us.

Fiorentina is the latest club to be linked to getting cocky Russian Andrey Arshavin off the club’s payroll. A certain Andy Polo of Universitario de Deportes has also been reported to reject ‘interest’ from us in favour of a move to Real Madrid… I’m getting you Polo.

Finally, in case you still don’t know, Thierry Henry is back at the club. It is just for fitness’ sake though, but it’s Henry yeah? Theo will definitely be delighted to have him around as will the rest of the team. Hopefully, Marouane ‘distant cousin of Torres’ Chamakh will learn a thing or two… or three from the king himself.

Interestingly, when asked about any possible deal for Henry in January while the MLS is still on break, Arsene simply replied: “I have not thought about it.” If history tells us anything, it is that Wenger is capable of the impossible and bringing Titi back is not exactly out of his reach. That would be something, wouldn’t it guys?

Well, that’s yer lot for today, do let us know what you think in the comments!

And tell your friends who aren’t to follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs.

Have yourselves a great weekend Gooners!

Match Preview: Arsenal Seek More Confidence in Spurs Clash

Much as Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey will want to believe Arsenal are not underdogs going into Sunday’s north London derby, Tottenham Hotspurs hold the upper hand ahead of the crucial Premier League encounter at White Hart Lane.

Arsenal have won three successive matches since losing at Blackburn Rovers, scoring eight and conceding just two. Those two goals however came as a result of some poor defending and against a potent Spurs attack comprising Jermaine Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and the not so loved Emmanuel Adebayor supported by Rafael van Der Vaart, Gareth Bale and the industrious Luka Modric and Scott Parker, such moments of defending must be avoided otherwise.

Unfortunately, Laurent Koscielny is likely to miss the encounter while Gervinho and Theo Walcott face late fitness tests with Walcott more likely to feature on Sunday. Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun is fit as is French defender Sebastien Squillaci though Arsène Wenger would starting Alex Song at the back with Per Mertesacker.

The manager received timely boost from majority shareholder Stan Kroenke who stated the club is fully behind Wenger and trust in him to bring more success to the club. And le Professeur himself reiterated his passion for the club as today marks his 15th anniversary as manager, going further to say he has no problem going another 15 years with the club.

Another at the club just off a milestone is century of goals man Robin van Persie. Having made a substitute’s appearance in the midweek win over Olympiacos, he will be fresh for the clash. And it would be great to have him build on the 26 goals he has scored in his last 32 matches for Arsenal and what better venue to do so than at White Hart Lane.

Possible line-up: Szczesny, Sagna, Song, Mertesacker, Santos, Frimpong, Ramsey, Arteta, Walcott/AOC, Benayoun/Arshavin, van Persie (c).

A win over Spurs would not only give us some bragging rights, but also provide a much needed confidence boost to the team to spur the team on for the rest of the league campaign! Come on you Gunners!!

Punkenstein

Follow us on twitter @goonermemoirs

Post-Match Thoughts + Player Ratings: RvP Lifts Arsenal to Bolton Win

RvP100

Robin van Persie celebrating a goal

From the initial confusion of whether DStv had actually succumbed to rival fans’ jokes of moving Arsenal matches to Cartoon Network, it was pleasing to see the Gunners get a convincing league win with Bolton Wanderers falling 3-0 at the Emirates.

The first half ended goalless but the visitors came closest to opening the scoring with just two minutes on the clock after a smart touch from Darren Pratley off Wheater’s header forced keeper Szczesny to pull a top save.

Robin van Persie then saw a shot teed to him by Mikel Arteta sail just wide of Jaaskelainen’s goal and Gervinho also saw an effort sail just over as Arsenal steadily gained control of the match but no goals came.

We however only had to wait a minute of the second half for a goal and it was van Persie with the goal as Aaron Ramsey laid on the assist for the Dutchman to fire home from a tight angle. That coupled with a straight red card for Bolton’s Wheater sparked Arsenal to life and Jaaskelainen was forced to make a string of saves from the Arsenal surge for a second goal which duly and deservedly came for van Persie, his 100th for the club after good work on the flank from Walcott.

And with minutes to go, Alex Song completed the scoring with a curling effort. Before then, Walcott showed a lack of composure when with a galaxy of time and space when one on one with Jaaskelainen, shooting straight at the keeper from well outside the Bolton penalty area.

The England international however would go off with what seems a knee injury. “He felt a sharp pain in his knee and at the moment he is with the doctor.” said manager Arsene Wenger in the post-match conference on Walcott’s situation; the last bit of news we need following that of Wilshere’s.

Overall, good win that has lifted the Gunners up to 12th on the table. Shrugged off the early physical bit of the game and made ourselves confortable. Defense looked shaky at the start but gained confidence as the game wore on. Next up for the Gunners now is Greek side Olympiacos in the Champions League.

Player Ratings:

Szczesny – 7.5
Did very well to keep out Pratley’s effort early on. I feel had that gone in, we’d have been in for a long day hence, crucial contribution from him then and good presence overall… you’d think he’s some 31 year old veteran.

Sagna – 7
Matched the Bolton player’s grit and provided the goal for Song with the cut back. Good contribution from the Frenchman.

Koscielny – 6.5
Gave away the free kick that led to Pratley’s chance early on. Did well afterwards though, aerially as well.

Mertesacker – 6.5
Good positioning. Occasionally showed some eagerness to go forward and be part of build-up play.

Gibbs – 6
Wasn’t really impressed by Gibbs. Still not assured tracking back but the Bolton side never really posed a threat.

Ramsey – 6.5
Looked settled on the ball at times and fed RvP for the first goal. At other times, he wasn’t so assured.

Song – 7.5
Tussled well in the midfield but I was impressed with his passing today including the one cross field that put Walcott in a world of his own against Jaaskelainen. Sad to see that come to nothing. Completed a very good game with a well taken goal.

Arteta – 7
Impressed with his passing as well including one in the first half that split the Bolton defence and put Gervinho through. He’s starting to synch into the team and that’s good for us.

Walcott – 6
Gets a 6 but was actually the worst player on the field for me. Did very well on the flanks and his link up play with RvP was good time and again. But you must show good composure with that sort of opportunity coming to you, especially with your national team manager watching. Sadly had to go off injured though, hopefully it’s not so bad.

Gervinho – 6
Good game from the Ivorian. First touch let him down a couple of occasions though, especially when put through by that Arteta pass.

RvP – 9
We’ll be in real trouble if ever we’re without this man her. Great overall contribution and loved how he scored the second. Tested Jaaskelainen three or four times and got stuck in at times. Sterling performance from the captain.

Substitutes

Arshavin -N/A
Ample bit of time to run about the Bolton defense, teed van Persie in the box but that came to nothing.

Rosicky
Good to him back from injury. At least now we know there’s a bit of depth in the squad that won’t make a week’s absence from Benayoun much felt.

Chamakh
*sigh…

Match Preview: Arsenal vs Swansea

With the international break gone by, without new injuries thankfully, Arsenal return to Premier League action when newly promoted Swansea City visit the Emirates later today.

The Gunners will have a mixed air of uncertain expectation hovering over when the match kicks off at 15:00, with several new faces now at the club and likely to feature against the Welsh side.

More imperative is how the Gunners will respond to the heaviest defeat suffered in a century and 15 years coupled with a horrible start to the league campaign that has left the club with 10 goals already conceded in three games.

Most of the spotlight hence, should fall on German defender Per Mertesacker who is in line for his Arsenal debut along with Spaniard Mikel Arteta who is expected to greatly cover up the lull in creativity from midfield.

Mertesacker and our defenders will hopefully not have much to do at the back as Swansea have so far failed to find the net in its three league matches, leaving the onus on the forward line likely, to comprise Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott, to deliver the goods mainly off the inventory of our midfield of course.

The main battle looks to be in midfield with the visitors known to prefer holding on to the ball as we also do hence whoever else Arsène Wenger puts in there should be one capable of getting the ball from opposition and keeping it with the team through some hold up play and more necessarily, assists for the feet upfront.

Being a newly promoted side, the expectation would be for a hounding of the Swans but remember, it took a lot of work to beat ten-man Blackpool – that also liked to play on the ball – 6-0 last season. Coupled with the new players still blending to the team, I’d actually take a win borne of an assured performance over a potentially deceiving mauling of the visitors.

Previous meetings have seen both sides with two wins each from four encounters with Arsenal winning the last of those by 2-1 some way ago in 1983.

And in some other bit of news, dear Professeur is back to his unrepentant stubborn self it seems after insisting activities on the final day of the transfer window were not sparked by the 8-2 demolition at Old Trafford… indeed!

Anyway, Camerounian midfielder Alex Song celebrated his birthday yesterday and we wish him a belated happy birthday. We also wish Frenchman Laurent Koscielny a happy birthday as he turns 26 today.

So for the birthday boys and more so, for the pride of the cannon… Let’s go for the win Gunners!!

Still Keeping Up with Our Gunners

Last night witnessed less Gunners than from over the weekend being involved in some more football on the international front as qualifying matches for next year’s European Championships at Poland and Ukraine continued.

At Moscow, Russia captain Andrey Arshavin had a good game but saw his and his compatriots dominance come to nothing as visiting Republic of Ireland held on for a crucial goalless draw.

At Wembley, Theo Walcott was rested as England edged Wales, captained by Aaron Ramsey, by a lone goal to move six points clear atop their qualifying group.

Elsewhere, it was no where near their record 11-0 win on Saturday but Robin van Persie’s Holland moved to within a point of sealing qualification to Euro 2012 with a 2-0 win at Finland.

Bacary Sagna’s France earned a goalless draw at Romania to extend Les Blues unbeaten run to 13 matches.

And at Asia’s third round of qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, Chu Young Park’s South Korea played out a 1-1 draw at Kuwait.

In other news, young midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong pledged his allegiance to Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars.

Frimpong, who is eligible to play for Ghana and England, has impressed for what has been a below par Arsenal so far.

Focus now will return to getting the campaign on good track following a poor start when we host newly promoted Swansea with eyes surely to be on who among the new players at the club will feature.

Stay the cause, repping for the Cannon!

How Gunners fared with their Nations

With league football worldwide taking a breather over the weekend, we kept an eye on our players on international duty, aiming to help their countries qualify for respective continental cups.

First out the tunnel was new signing Chu Young Park in faraway Seoul. The South Korea captain was imperious in the 6-0 win over visiting Lebanon in a qualifier for the Asian Championships, finishing the encounter with a well taken hattrick to further endear himself with Gooners itching to see him play in Arsenal colours.

Also in ruthless form in front of goal was Arsenal captain Robin van Persie who went one better with four goals for Holland against hapless San Marino. He opened the scoring in the Group E Euro 2012 qualifier before hitting a second half hattrick as the Oranje Boys annihilated their visitors 11-0 at Eindhoven.

Still with the captains, new loan signing Yossi Benayoun could not help third placed Israel from losing 1-0 at Group F leaders Greece while Tomas Rosicky played well as Czech Republic managed a dramatic 2-2 draw at Scotland thanks to a stoppage time Kadlec penalty.

Welsh captain Aaron Ramsey scored the second for his country in a 2-1 win over Montenegro at Cardiff in a Group G qualifier and help England go three points clear atop that group following their 3-0 win at Bulgaria where Theo Walcott played a part in the third goal.

Per Mertesacker was on the bench as he secured a place at Euro 2012 with his Germany from Group A of the European qualifying section following a 6-2 win at home to neighbours Austria with Thomas Vermaelen and his Belgium in third place chasing Turkey for Group A’s play-off spot after a disappointing 1-1 with Azerbaijan. Vermaelen however missed that encounter through injury.

There were also wins for Andrey Arshavin and Bacary Sagna with Russia securing a lone goal victory and France coming away from Tirana with a hard fought 2-1 success over Albania. Sagna however remained on the bench through the match.

And former Lille forward Gervinho was the creative force for the Ivory Coast in a 5-0 win at Rwanda, scoring the fifth late on after assisting with a couple of the goals before. The win was inconsequential for the Ivorians who have already booked their place at next years Africa Cup of Nations.

Seventh Year

Arsenal

It has been quite a summer for Arsenal with the Gunners without doubt being the champions of transfer speculations all through. Can Arsène Wenger and his charges end a run of seasons without a competitive trophy at the seventh attempt?

An answer to that largely depends on the club’s mental approach going into matches and this is in two aspects. Firstly, we must kill games when leading and in the inability to do so, be able to hold onto such advantage till after the final whistle as evident from both legs of last season’s north London derby and home matches against Liverpool, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and West Bromwich-Albion as well as the infamous implosion at Newcastle where we ironically open this season’s campaign.

The other aspect of our mental approach to games is how we fare in the months of February and March, months that have proved the Achilles Heel in the leap towards a trophy in the last four seasons.

Last season’s episode proved the most painful, we suffered defeat to Birmingham City (now of the Championship) in the League Cup final on the last day of February, before enduring a mediocre run of form in March that pretty much ended all other title ambitions on other fronts.

And there’s the additional mental jabs dealt the team now no thanks to speculations surrounding the future of Samir Nasri & Fabregas who has reportedly agreed to a deal to return to his boyhood club. Which means a new era is about to start, one without the club’s best player. But no one man or player is greater than the club.

Meanwhile the latter is once more reportedly close to completing a £22m move to oil rich Manchester City, some reports even suggesting he may do so before the protracted tug for Fàbregas finally ends.

Arsenal’s hopes of ending the trophy drought will now rest on 20 year old Jack Wilshere(albeit not solely) as it was the English international who flourished – when Fàbregas was mostly half fit or out injured last season – with consistent and assured performances. While possessing admirable mental and physical strength, the rest of the team will determine just how much impact Wilshere will have this season.

With Laurent Koscielny apparently being the notable addition to the team last season, the Gunners actually did well until those dreaded months. This term, Ivorian forward Gervinho has joined and impressed so far with his quick feet and good composure.

Other than him, Wenger has (annoyingly) kept to his policy with a roll call of highly rated youngsters such as Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain and Ryo Miyaichi. The transfer window however is still over a fortnight from closing so some much needed experienced players may yet arrive at the Emirates.

While awaiting those, Gooners will be banking on Robin van Persie to pick up from the fiery form of the second half of last season that saw the Dutchman finally show us his potential with a high return on goals per game. Having him fit for a whole season on such form leaves the heights attainable by the team optimistically imagined.

In the event of him being out injured as he is sadly prone to, Theo Walcott gets my nod to spearhead the front ahead of the overly disappointing Marouane Chamakh and the England international has publicly stated his desire to play upfront rather than on the wings.

Last season, he posed a real threat to defences with his raw speed that was, unlike previous seasons, complemented with much technique. This sort of form gives promise of this season being perhaps a breakthrough season for the 21 year old.

Those other than the above players that could contribute to a successful league campaign, and perhaps success in any of the other competitions, are Thomas Vermaelen, Andrei Arshavin, Koscielny and goalkeepers Lukasz Fabianski and Woijcech Sczeszny just as I’m personally looking forward to how Aaron Ramsey fares with Abou Diaby’s injury presenting the Welsh midfielder a chance to impress.

Vermaelen on his part was out virtually all of last season injured and Squillaci failed woefully as partner to Koscielny. Consequently, the efficiency of our physios this season actually comes in just behind the team’s mental maturity as deciding factors on how this season will pan out.

Arsenal’s campaign begins at St. James’ Park in Saturday’s evening kick-off having survived getting postponed due to the violent scenes that besieged streets in London and Birmingham.

That match is then followed in quick sequence by games against title rivals Liverpool and Manchester United, with the Champions League qualifier against Italian side Udinese buttered between those red encounters.

In all honesty, Arsenal are strong contenders for the title and hopefully we avoid burning out at those times aforementioned!

That said, enjoy the season ahead, it’s great to finally be getting underway!

C’mon You Smokin’ Gunners!!!

Let’s keep up the pressure and get our revenge.

Wigan...Martinez

A very short and concise piece but we all need to be in a right frame of mind going into this weekend.

I guess everyone must be in high spirits now, still reveling in the outstanding performance the team put up against Leeds. Yes, it was a great performance but we must not get carried away. We have another important game coming up this weekend. It’s Wigan visiting the Emirates on Saturday and I do not expect a walk in the park for us.

We don’t need a seer to suggest to us that an early goal will win us this game, let’s rip into them quite early and we’ll have a chance to claim all 3 points. I mean, it worked well against Leeds as Arshavin suggested.

“Ahead of the game, Arsene instructed us to start the game in such a way so that it wouldn’t even cross our opponents’ minds that they can beat us. It reminded us about the accidents in the previous games, so we quickly began to carry out the assignment of our coach. In general, everything was turning out fine, we had several attacks”.

Our games at home this season have shown that if we do not score in the first half against a spirited side, we will struggle to break them down in the second. An early goal puts a hole in their plans and they are forced to “come out” in search of an equalizer. Need I tell you, that’s what we all want to see.

The team virtually picks itself; I expect Cesc, RVP, Clichy, and Theo back in the starting line up. So, Denilson, Arshavin, Chammy29 and Nikky will have to return to the bench. I guess Fabianski is still out, so Chesney starts again, behind the impressive pairing of Djourou and Koscly.

On the whole, anything short of a win will be a very bad result and even a worse one should our rivals win their games. A win meanwhile will put considerable amount of pressure on Citeh and United.

That’s it gooners, let’s continue this impressive run in the League. Our last loss in the League was at Old Trafford and we have to keep that for as long as possible if we are to stand any chance of bringing the title back to N5. Plus, we were unlucky to draw at Wigan, this is our time to take revenge and make things right.

Meanwhile The Metro suggests that we have moved closer to the signing of Bolton defender Gary Cahill. This belief stems mainly from the fact that Bolton recently signed David Wheater from Boro. He is seen as a replacement for Cahill, who is believed to be Le Boss’ main target.

But Arsene’s response to questions concerning the state of our defence suggest otherwise. I honestly feel no one will be coming in this month. I really hope I’m wrong though.

Get in there and support whoever plays tomorrow. Yes, whoever, as long as they wear the colours of this great club. I see a battering in the offing.

See you in the comments!

Have fun wherever you are reading from.
9jabred takes his bow!

Where is the genius we adore?

Lord Andrei

After last night’s game, I was worried, not because we had just lost to a Championship side, or because we had not scored a goal from open play in 3 games, or because we had struggled to match the desire shown by the two lower league sides we had played consecutively. I was worried because these matches only helped me come to terms with the fact that we just might be losing one of the best players of his generation in Andrei Arshavin.

Arshavin’s poor form this season has been a subject of debate among gooners and our loss to Ipswich brought him to a new low. It was his second consecutive start, after being out of the starting eleven for a while and he did his cause no good as he put in another pitiful performance.

When he signed in February 2009, majority of Arsenal fans thought (and rightly so too) we had struck gold; I was particularly surprised he chose us. I mean, he was Zenit’s best player by a country mile, just had an amazing Euro 2008 appearance and had a host of top clubs chasing him.

He announced his arrival with a sumptuous goal against Blackburn, a game in which he supposedly played with a foot injury. But if there is any game which encapsulates the ingenuity of this Russian supremo, it was that game at Anfield. He had 4 shots and 4 top goals in a pulsating encounter. The last of those goals is a collector’s item. Every journalist in the land was singing his praises and Arshavin’s goals and all-round play was arguably the reason we qualified for the Champions League that season.

His second season was not as explosive as the first one. Due to injuries to key personnel, he was forced to play in an unfamiliar role as a lone striker. Arshavin scored 12 goals in a season that was interrupted by a couple of injuries.

Roll on 2010, Arshavin is definitely having a torrid time. He is a big game player and seems to relish the big encounters but his problem is the inconsistency of his performances. The stats disagree though as he currently has 7 goals and quite a handful of assists; but if the stats were a yardstick, then Mikel would one of the best midfielders in the English Premier League. You get my gist, don’t you?

Wenger has stuck by him through all his troubles and you can hardly fault the manager. Arshavin is the sort of player who needs just a minute of focus and desire to turn the team’s fortunes around. Take a look at games against Everton,Wigan,WBA, Arshavin cut his usual dejected figure for majority of the game but he gave telling contributions when needed. Players of Arshavin’s class just don’t go bad overnight, and as such I feel there is a reason for these poor performances.

The most obvious explanation could be his position on the field. Arshavin has not hidden his dissatisfaction at being played on the wings to accommodate Cesc. He is most dangerous from the middle, just behind the striker but there is currently no space for that in the Arsenal team at the moment. His game at the moment requires an excellent work rate, something he is not noted for. This has seen him dropped for the more hardworking Nasri in recent games, with Walcott filling the right wing slot.

Arshavin is not a natural leader; he depends on the inputs of others to make his game effective. That is the reason why when everyone has a bad day, so does he. There is also the debate of whether he has fully settled in England. This is particularly surprising considering that he is in his 3rd season in Premier League. He’s had his run-ins with the press and has complained about the tax and life in England generally.

Whatever it is that has robbed us of the genius we once sang his name, should please release him back to us. Wenger has led by keeping faith in this mercurial Russian and I bet he sees something we fans cannot see. I won’t say I have not been frustrated by his performances but he needs us now more than ever. He won’t get better by us booing him.

We have the big games coming up soon, Barcelona most especially, and I have a sneaky feeling he will be the key to us having a productive end to the season. He thrives on games like the Barcelona one and we need him firing on all cylinders for that game and the ones to come after.

He needs get his confidence back and then we will all see the man Arsene put his trust in and spent so much money on. It’s very possible but believe you me, it’s not going to be an easy task.

I can wait, can you?

9jabred takes his bow!

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