Its been frantically busy on the Arsenal front in recent weeks. Whilst the results have been excellent overall, its been a tough few weeks with the results often outshinging the performance. Still, its been a while since that was the case for Arsenal.
However, we are now 21 games into the Premiership season and have obtained 50 points - a great return, plus very much alive on all other fronts with games against Spurs in the Carling Cup, Newcastle / Stoke in the FA Cup and the mighty AC Milan in the Champions League to look forward to. Fingers crossed for the rest of the season but who have been the stars of the show so far, and whilst it may be churlish to criticise, who has disappointed?
The early season plaudits went to Cesc Fabregas. If the press voted for Player of the Year in August he would have won by a mile. But who has made Ted's New Years' Honours List:
1. Matthieu Flamini. I don't know where the Flamster went on holiday last summer but I want to go. His level of performance this year has been truly heroic in midfield. The reason he is my no.1 for the half-term awards is the consistency of those performances and the determination he has to lift those around him. How many times has he tracked back and made a good tackle? How many times has he cajoled his fellow players on to win the game? Absolute class and he should be rewarded with a bumper new deal.
2. William Gallas. Hands up if you thought at the start of the season that Gallas was a bad choice for Captain? Me too. What a player he has been for us this season. 100% consistent in his performances and sometimes of incredible quality, especially on the big occassions - the games against Man United and Chelsea come to mind. I don't think Philip Senderos has become a bad player in the last 12 months, its just that we are now being spoilt by Gallas. Even the great Kolo is being shaded by him.
3. Cesc Fabregas & Emmanuel Adebayor. I trust that no explanation is needed for Cesc's inclusion on the list, but perhaps I do need to say why he is not higher up. My reason is that he has not been so good since getting injured against Seville in November. I also feel that a quiet game that results in a goal is fine for a striker, its not so good for a central midfielder. Whilst being admitedly ultra criticial, Cesc's headline goals have perhaps compensated for some decent, rather than exceptional, performances. Its a joint award with the Togonator because his workrate as a lone striker has been simply awesome, and without a peep of complaint. Big smiles and big goals from the big man. Every defender in the country is shit scared of him.
No obvious turkeys but we need something to talk about so here goes:
1. Emmanuel Eboue. I thought Eboue could be a big star this season but he seems determined to be the worst thing about the Arsenal team. Dives too much, doesn't take his man on enough and is simply appalling at getting stuck in. If I had a £1 for every 50/50 that Eboue pulls out of then I could retire. Plus, if it wasn't for Bacary Sagna's impressive first season (who is unlucky not to be on the list above) then we could have been exposed badly down the right hand side.
2. Lassana Diarra. I'm hoping that his failure to appear in the Burnley game means we have seen the last of him. Its a shame becuase he clearly has talent. However, he is also clearly stupid and isn't prepared to fight for his place in the team. Plus he has a dolphin's forehead.
3. Arsene Wenger. I know its a hugely stupid suggestion given what he has done, but AW is third on the list for insisting on playing 4-5-1 on too many occassions. It doesn't work for us, especially at home, but it seems AW is hung up on it after the Champs League run a few years back. Hopefully the recent form of Eduardo and Bendtner means that we have seen the back of 4-5-1 but I think it has cost us points. Let's not forget that we had only dropped two points in the entire season before the Liverpool game playing 4-4-2. We then switched to 4-5-1 and went on to drop points in games we could have won against Liverpool, Newcastle and Boro. We were also thoroughly lucky against Aston Villa and Spurs.
Banter switch off.
I agree that the Flamster and Gallas have been superb so far this season. I would also add in Clichy who has been so consistently solid.
Almunia deserves a special mention for his improvement and new found solidity.
Eboue is erratic but he is playing in the midfield for the first time ever. I think he's done well defensively, he just needs to improve his final ball and his decision making. It may well come with time as he is a young lad.
Diarra definitely deserves tw*t of the year award. If he doesn't play against Tottenham on wednesday I suspect that'll be that for him.
I also think Diaby needs to sort himself out, so much ability but so sloppy at times. If anyone needs kick up the backside so they don't waste a massive amount of talent then it's him.
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