Tuesday 4 August 2009

Regrets and offensive gluttony?

I have always like big Phil Senderos. It therefore saddens me to hear that he is on the verge of joining Everton. Everton have today confirmed that the two clubs are locked in negotiations. Obviously big Phil has only a year left on his contract and is not a first choice player, so the money makes definite business sense. Football is not just a business, it is more than that to us the fans, I am a little sad to see big Phil go.

Big Phil wore his heart on his sleeve. He was one of a rare breed. I remember one particular moment the season before last when he had been harshly sent off when virtually no contact had been made with the diving opposition striker, he took the poor refereeing decision on the chin like a true sportsman, he left the field with his head bowed, almost in tears at the fact that he had let the team down, mopping his brow with his shirt in a way that was designed to hide the immense upset that he felt.

Whatever his critics may say, big Phil was one damn good defender, of course he wasn't perfect but he did have some excellent runs in the side, the best of these being the Champions League run in 2005-6. Big Phil and Kolo formed the centre back pairing that kept a record ten clean sheets, unfortunately big Phil missed the final against Barca due to injury. Ironically he became a scapegoat for our defensive frailty when we lost the second leg of the Champions League semi final to Liverpool at Anfield in 2008. Phil was turned rather easily by Fernando Torres for one of the Liverpool goals, however how many of the best have been mocked by Torres in recent months?

Big Phil is a strong honest defender but is not the quickest on the turn, I still think that with just a little bit more luck he could have become a true Arsenal legend, sometimes an injury here and a bit of luck there can be the difference between making it and becoming a bit part player. That's life I suppose. I'm personally still a big Phil fan and wish him all the best wherever he ends up. It is strange that we are letting such a dominant player go when the thing our current side lacks is the power and the strength to defend aerial balls.

Our current squad does not lack attacking flair, we have several excellent strikers (RVP, Bendtner, Eduardo, Vela) and several very adaptable attacking players (Arshavin, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Diaby, Wilshere, Merida). It appears the Chamakh will not be coming as Bordeaux are being too greedy and holding out for a large fee when the player only has a year left on his contract.

The thing we lack is obvious when you compare our current crop to our recent title winning sides. How many players in the current squad are strong in the air defensively? I would argue that only out field players with this strength are Song and Djourou, Vermaelen possibly but I have not seen enough of him to comment. In days of old we had the likes of Adams, Keown, Bould, Campbell, Vieira, Petit, Edu, Gilberto who gave us that power to repel the aerial threat from corners, set pieces and hopeful long balls. If Arsene buys anyone before the season starts then I hope they can add to our ability to defend the aerial ball.


Anonymous said...

Great post 1979. Completely agree about big phil. If he was English he would cost everton at least double what they are about to pay. Good luck phil.

Anonymous said...

Phil is a real professional, a classy guy and his best days are ahead of him.

Anonymous said...

kudos totally agree.
best of luck to Phil, who by all means appears to be a class act.


KG said...

very nice article; gunnerblog had one very good article about phil quite long time back;

come next summer transfer window -- we probably wont be renewing contracts of Gallas, Silvestre, that leaves 2 CBs and Song for the role; he could easily have been first choice come 2010-11 season.

Anyways, good luck phil.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, if big Phil was given an extended run in the side, he could become that monster defender that most Arsenal fans seem to crave, similar to Vidic

Drew said...

Wow, am I the only one that isn't distraught over Big Phil's departure? He had quite a few gaffs in this tenure as first choice center back. He showed real potential in our Champions League Final run in 2006, but other than that he had been quite inconsistent. Wegner knows that his psyche is fragile, and that's not what you want in a 'dominating' center back.

Either way, good luck to him. He was a great servant for the club, and hopefully he and Everton finish higher than Citeh.

Obsinho said...

Good to see our luck with injuries has improved. Only nasri and Rosicky crocker before the season has even started this year. Big pat on the back to the medical team.

Please to god arsene, do not rely on us not having injuries to get through the season. One knock to billy g and the squad is utterly tucked for depth of cover.

Anonymous said...

I also think Senderos was a good servant, but I am among those who are happy to see him leaving. And I am expecting wenger will get another center-half (our 3rd choice).
bernardinho, london

marcus said...

Great post on Senderos, so nice to see that some gooners do appreciate him. I'm very sad to see him go because he proved that if given a good, consistent run in the team alongside a strong partner he'd do very well. Remember when we had Kolo and Eboue out in the ACN in Jan-Feb 2008? We all worried about our defensive cover. Well Gallas and Senderos went on to build a very solid defensive pair for us and we didn't miss Kolo at all. I can't ever forgive AW for putting Senderos back on the bench once Kolo came back. Kolo was immediately put in as a starter with Gallas and our defense did not look as good as it did with Senderos. AW damaged Senderos by doing that. Once Sendy returned for a few games off the bench, he put in some good displays again but had to build his confidence yet again. It's amazing that he's been trashed for being so easily beaten by Drogba and Torres -- which defender HASN'T had a hard time against those two? A 24 year old defender struggling against 2 strong, powerful world class strikers and we're surprised? Defenders mature later, there are very few top class 24 year old CDs out there. I find it amazing that AW is allowing Senderos to leave when he's the only defender we have right now who can reliably deal with aerial and long balls, a big problem for us. Maybe Vermaelen can, I don't know. All we have now are Djourou, Gallas and Vermaelen for CDs -- and Song can sometimes be slotted in there. But if Song is used regularly as both a CD and a DM, he'll never become expert at either position. I really wish Senderos well. Keown still rates him highly, he's very intelligent, gives his all on the pitch, and has good leadership and organizing abilities.

1979gooner said...

well said marcus

very good point about the slotting of Kolo into the side when big phil was playing well after the ACN

kolo and gallas never worked well together, even if kolo was 100% fit and playing well which he rarely was in the last couple of years

marcus said...

Of course I did forget to mention Silvestre as another CD for us but I regard him as a passenger who helps the opposition score against us.