This(2012-13) season will be my 12th season cheering for Arsenal. I had become a fan while playing FIFA 99. Arsenal was the first team in the list of teams in that game and ever since then I have been in love with Arsenal. I know a couple of other guys who fell in love with Arsenal the same way.
In those days Arsenal was a tough team to beat but things have gone down a bit, But Arsenal FC is lucky club, it’s been 7 years and they haven’t won a title and we Gooners (We like calling ourself that) still cheer for our club. The ticket prices aren’t low either. It is one of the most expensive in the EPL. But still people come out in large number to cheer for Arsenal. Unfortunately every year things take a turn for the worst. Last year Cesc Fàbregas, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy walked away from Arsenal. After receiving 8 -2 trashing from Manchester United many (including me) thought it was game over for Arsenal. But Arsenal survived, they recovered from the depths of relegation zone to clinch 3rd place in the English Premier League and get a direct entry into Champions league which in fact was better than what Arsenal achieved in 2010-11. This is after
Robin van Persie decided not to sign a contract extension. Will I hate him for that?
No, never. He is one of the hero who saved the 2011-12 season for gunners. He has done more for the club than most others. Almost single-handedly resurrecting Arsenal in the previous season. May be I don’t hate Van Persie decision because I expected him to go. But I didn’t like the post he put up on his personal web page, It was like slapping the club. He would have lost a lot of goodwill after that.
Do I now think Arsenal will not win any trophy this year?
Well the answer to that question is very simple, it all depends on whether Mikel Arteta is fit through out the season. Mikel Arteta was one of the unsung heroes of the 2011-12 season. If you dig out the stats you would realize that Arsenal’s season began to teeter out towards the end when Arteta was injured. This was despite the fact that Robin van Persie was still scoring goals. With addition of Lukas Podolski and Oliver Girourd Arsenal should be able to cope with the loss of Robin van Persie.
Here are some stats to make my point.
Arteta missed six league games through injury in his debut season (having joined after the opening three matches of the campaign).
|Arsenal Without Arteta||9||1||4||4|
|Arsenal with Arteta||29||20||3||6|
In all competitions his personal playing record was Wins 25 Draw 5 Loss 8 for a win percentage of 65.8. By way of comparison, Arsenal’s overall win percentage for the season was 57.4.
Although Robin van Persie was/is an important player the impact Arteta had cannot be ignored. Towards the end of the season when Persie’s form started going down Arteta was the MVP for Arsenal.
If Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott don’t agree to sign a contract extension, they should be sold to some other club before the season begin. There is no point in holding on to players who doesn’t want to play. We all saw what happens when you have players in the team who don’t want to play for the team. It only increases the toxicity in the team and will pull the entire team back.
I would also like to see the back of following players.
• Sébastien Squillaci: Never looked like he would do well at Arsenal. It’s time to let him go.
• Andrei Arshavin: Started brightly but since then has gone down the pecking order.
• Park Chu-Young: Not sure why he was signed?
Should be given another oppurtunity
• Paddy Powered Nicklas Bendtner: With Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott almost certain to go Arsenal can do with a player with Premier league experience. Bendtner did well till he got injured, he can be given another chance.
• Marouane Chamakh: Deserve another chance. Robin van Persie’s form meant Chamakh didn’t get enough opportunity. This could be his silver-lining.
• Yossi Benayoun: It’s clear Chelsea doesn’t need him and he has proved he is a capable player. Arsenal can try to get him on loan again this season.
I would like more playing time for these players
• Lukasz Fabianski: Has improved a lot and healthy competition is good for the team.
• Andre Santos: Not one of the best defenders at Arsenal but his goal scoring skills is quite impressive. It would be great if he could improve his defensive skills.
• Ryo Miyaichi: I can’t wait to see him play. I have a lot about him but haven’t been able to see him play.
Arteta got standing ovation from Everton crowd when he played for Arsenal against Everton. I hope Robin van Persie get the same when he comes back to Arsenal next time (either as part of Arsenal team or some other team). Robin van Persie has done enough for Arsenal. He has given 8 years of his life to the club there aren’t many other footballer who can claim that. At least he has won a trophy with Gunner unlike big talking Samir Nasri and PR Maestro Cesc Fabregas.
If I were Arsene Wenger I would sell Theo Walcott and Robin van Persie (if they don’t agree to sign a contract extension) and sign on couple of players (Midfielders) instead of putting that money into the bank!
Before ending this I would like to thank Monish Shah was reviewing this post despite not being a soccer fan and for his kind words. Thanks mate.