Good morning fellow Gooners. This morning is the same as yesterday and the same as the day before. The constant rehashing of a stagnant news feed is beyond dull and most of it is made up. So I shan’t be delving there this morning.
I will quickly jump into the amusing story about Everton and their new crest. They didn’t consult every single fan on the planet so there’s been a huge uproar… now the club have said they’ll consult with the fans next year.
For gods sake… it’s a club crest. You have to adapt things. Football fans are so stuck in there ways with everything. I mean, Arsenal fans still moan about our last badge which was horrendously outdated by the time we changed it… I still hear people pining for Highbury… you have to move with the times. I think the idea that Everton would consult with fans over a logo is nonsense. What do football fans know about design? Trying to get a design past 3 people in a business is hard enough. Imagine taking advice from 100,000 people who don’t have the first clue about anything to do with design? Madness. How does the saying go… ‘a camel is a horse designed by a committee’…
Anyway. Enough on backward looking fans.
Today we can talk around potential players of the year, and honestly, there aren’t many candidates.
Theo Walcott was the man who went into the season in a very precarious contract situation, he had one year on his deal and the demand was simple… He wanted to play and he wanted to play centrally. He didn’t sign a deal as we sailed past August 31st which had all us Gooners fearing another high profile loss either in January or this summer for nothing. When I say high profile, I am fully aware that in the grand scheme of our history, he’d probably not be classes as high profile. It was more symbolic for me… another player we’d persisted with. Another player who’d left for pastures new.
Anyway, he was mostly benched for the opening rounds of the season. Gervinho was kind of banging them in for fun whereas Giroud was struggling. Wenger did eventually stop his sulking when our points total looked pitiful and Theo eased himself in. He consistently scored goals most of the season (past November). Mostly they came from outwide but occasionally when he was allowed through he middle, like against Reading… he flew them in from there as well.
If Theo has added anything to his game this year it’s decisiveness. He’s more direct than ever before and he generally knows what to do early. His finishing has been clinical. My favourite goals was then one against Newcastle where he was chopped down in the box, he jumped back up and chipped the keeper. A supreme goal for a man who really lacked in most departments up until recently.
Overall return for the season was double figures assists(14 I think) and 20 odd goals. Can’t argue with that. Not many players returned that without a top class striker to play with.
The little Spaniard joined after the usual 3 year battle to sign him. He arrived as the Cesc solution and he came with a big reputation as a player who could play with both feet… Xavi described him as the best.
It didn’t take long for him to start showing why he was so highly regarded. He was more of a dribbler than Cesc and his skill on the ball could be dazzling at times. His size looked like it could be a problem when i first saw the pint sized magician, trouble for opposition with a hope of manning him off the ball was you couldn’t get close to him. He created space where there was none.
He could also shoot… though I do seem to remember his opening months dotted with a sharp spoon over the bar from pretty much any distance. He scored some crackers though, probably the best came as a consolation against United when he rattled it into the top corner from outside the box at he end.
He was quite heavily overplayed through the season which took its toll on his game. He was ever present in the squad, but not ever present on the pitch… 20 minute bursts of magic would be tempered by chunks of AWOL.
As the season climaxed he found himself played outwide. Many said that he didn’t do a good job there because his stats weren’t as impressive as the ones Lukas was putting in. For me, stats didn’t tell the whole story, he gave us more balance outwide. Having someone who could control the ball, cut in through the centre, make a telling pass… well, it just made us a stronger side. He finished the season with 13 assists and 12 goals. Not a bad return for a player who cost us next to f*ck all. A great buy and a great character to have around the squad.
Now, I know he wasn’t exactly pulling up trees this season, but in the absence of a captain who wanted to captain, I think Arteta really stepped up. He plays with a maturity and confidence the rest of our midfield lacks. His legs can’t hack three games in a week, but his commitment to the cause has never been in doubt. He sometimes slows play down a bit, but generally, he’s the one player you can rely on to battle his way through 90 minutes. He’s a big name in the dressing room and he’s far more a leader than poor old Thomas Vermaelen will be. An outsider for player of the season, but there’s no doubt he’s been very important to our set up and stability in the back 9 of this season.
If I was going to put in an award for half season heroes, I’d have to put Aaron Ramsey in with a shout. He’s come in for some stick over the years, mainly because he’s played out wide right when he’s clearly not a wide right player. When played in the centre midfield with Arteta, he really started to shine. He held his discipline, stuck his foot in and occasionally made a telling pass. His goal towards that back end of the season against Wigan (I think) was well deserved. I think he’ll have a solid future at Arsenal and I’m glad he’s starting to show glimpses of being able to handle football at the higher levels. Also on that list would Laurent Koscielny. Put out in the cold when Arsene Wenger bizarrely gave his 3rd best defender the captains armband at the start of the season…. but when the manager needed to call on the Frenchman after another abysmal performance from Vermaelen, he came in and shone like Alex Ferguson’s nose in the snow. Calm on the ball, agressive on the floor… even solid in the air. 4th place was made ours because of the defence. Our best total in years. He was a major part.
Outside that lot, I don’t think there was much else to shout about!