Son of a Gun!

Musings on Arsenal Football Club by a Singaporean Gooner (Gooner since 1988)

Wenger sets record October 19, 2009

Filed under: Arsene Wenger — Son of a Gunner @ 9:10 pm

I’m finally back!!!

Yes, my internet connections have finally been fixed and I feel like I have so many things to write about as I couldn’t do the match reports for the games the past 2 weeks due to my internet problems.

The biggest thing to have happened, to me as a Gooner, is not the wins and the perfect record we have at the Emirates. But rather, Wenger becoming the longest-serving manager of Arsenal in its long illustrious history.

I know I haven’t mentioned about Arsene Wenger often enough in my blog and neither have I given him the credit he deserves but I’m definitely belonging to the group of Gooners who defends our French master.

When he first arrived at Arsenal, I remember reading the news of his appointment in our local tabloid The New Paper, the first thing that came to my head wasn’t the fact he was a relatively unknown in Europe nor the fact he was from a J-League club. The first thing that struck me was how close his first name is to the club. Arsene. Arsenal. Arsene’s Arsenal. It was a match made in heaven.

The revolution he brought to Arsenal was first initiated by the manager before him – Bruch Rioch. I remember Rioch fondly because he signed my all-time favorite player Dennis Bergkamp. He also made Arsenal into a passing outfit, something that was totally out of character for Arsenal since the George Graham days. As you can see from the title of my blog, I have been a fan since those days and trust me, “boring boring Arsenal” was certainly not an understatement. What brought me to them is the fact despite the long balls, they have a never-say-die spirit that I can relate to. If you’re not talented in something, you have to make up for it with grit and hard work. But if you have both, then the sky’s the limit.

Rioch brought a passing culture to Arsenal and although he was not as successful as Graham, he started the beautiful play at Arsenal which Wenger tuned to perfection, culmulating in that invincible season, which I thought if we had better luck, we would have swept all 4 titles in sight.

Wenger has brought more success to Arsenal on and off the pitch than any other manager. Not only did he initiated the move from Highbury to Emirates, but he helped designed a large part of the facilities of the stadium. Emirates stadium may not have the history and ambience of Highbury, but it is a stadium that all Gooners ought to be proud of. Its state-of-the-art design, high capacity (2nd largest if I’m not mistaken, the first being Old Trafford), and world-class facilities (even the grouchy Fergie mentioned Emirates have the best away dressing room in the Premier League) is something everyone else envies. Definitely our hated neighbours Spurs as their new stadium design is disturbingly similar to Emirates.

The football he brought, of course cannot be ignored. Before the arrival of Mourinho, only Wenger can take on Fergie in mind games and in tactical wars and win convincingly. The number of world-beaters he groomed is beyond any other great manager, perhaps other than Fergie, and still he was being criticised so harshly at the end of last season.

Yes, I hear some of you saying that he has lost the plot. That he is committing the same mistake he did at Monaco (according to the great Myles Palmer from ANR) by slling all his big stars and standing by his youngsters. But the fact is, look at the table now – top scorers in the Premier League after 8 games. More than teams who have played more games and above us. Best goal difference. Perfect home record (we’re certainly creating a formidable fortress at the Emirates). Youngest average age of the top 5. Least investment of the top 5. Can one name any other manager who can do the same with the same resources as Arsene Wenger? None, not even Fergie. Not even Mourinho. Certainly not Rafa Benitez who couldn’t stop complaining about lack of funds despite spending more than any of their title rivals.

I have mentioned before that Wenger is a victim of his own success. But I have firm belief that this will be a good season for us. That does not mean I don’t think we should get another ball-winner especially Alex Song, who has been hugely impressive this season, goes off to the ACN. I just cannot trust Diaby to do the job although I’m afraid Wenger might just have that thought.

What I can say is, Wenger deserves all the praise he has received and more. And we as Gooners should mark his record longevity with the strongest support we can give to him, then see where we end up. This is Arsene’s Arsenal, and we should trust Arsene and get behind Arsenal.

Arsene, here’s to another 9 trophies!


Who is Marouane Chamakh? July 3, 2009

Filed under: Aaron Ramsey,Arsene Wenger,Jack Wilshere,Transfer Rumours,William Gallas — Son of a Gunner @ 4:44 pm

Good day everyone.

First let us get through some Arsenal snippets today.

Ramsey spoke of how delighted he is to have signed a contract extension and I’ve already mentioned that it is good news for the club. And now, our hugely impressive Jack Wilshere has also followed suit.

I remember telling my buddy Marcus, a Liverpool fan, to watch out for him when he came on against VfB Stutggart in last season’s pre-season friendly. Within minutes, he scored a sweet left-footed shot against Lehmann. Wilshere is the kind of talent that is only seen once in a long time. I have high hopes for him and he might be the biggest international star to be produced by Arsenal since our last left-footed great – Liam Brady.

William Gallas mentioned that he is ‘relaxed’ and looking forward to next season with Arsenal. Arseblog mentioned about Gallas’ uncertain future being that of a double edged sword, he could play really well next season to put himself in the shopping window but Wenger do no possess a good record of giving playing time to players who are in their last year of contract, and I totally agree. For those who keep bashing Gallas, I have to again remind everyone that he is a top defender on his day and he was finally giving his best form just before his latest injury last season. I hope he will stay but I won’t be surprised if he don’t especially if another defender coming in becomes fact.

Linking to this, Naldo – the 26-year-old, 6-foot-5 Brazilian who plays for German club Werder Bremen – has been linked with Arsenal with Werder Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf saying “We expect to move him for somewhere in the region of €10 million, and English side Arsenal is as of now the most likely destination.”

Let’s see, Naldo is 26, relatively unknown to fans outside of Germany and has a huge frame. All characteristics that is necessary for Arsenal. Will we get him? I believe whether he joins Arsenal will hinge on whether one or two of Gallas, Philippe Senderos and Koko Toure will leave. If 2 of them goes, I’m pretty sure one more will come in, and I won’t be surprised if it is Naldo. I don’t know much about him at all, but if Wenger thinks he’s good enough then he must be.

Marouane Chamakh - Arsenal's next signing?

Marouane Chamakh - Arsenal's next signing?

Now moving on to today’s main topic – Marouane Chamakh. I have briefly mentioned about him and how I think he might really be joining Arsenal. But his joining will also hinge on whether one of our strikers is leaving, and in this case it is Adebayor. Wenger confirms this.

Marouane Chamakh is a 25-year-old Moroccan international who plays for Bordeaux in France. He is lanky (1.88m) and his physique is similar to that of Robin van Persie. He is pacy, with great technique and dares to run at defenders at pace.

“Wow!” I hear you say, but I haven’t finished. There is a problem. While his strengths are certainly very suited to the Arsenal system, he is unfortunately not a prolific goalscorer. In fact, he is a pretty poor finisher and that is probably why he has not shot to the same kind of cult status as Karim Benzema – who Wenger admitted he was interested in but had signed for Real Madrid instead, in any case Arsenal will never match their offer – whose finishing is much more polished.

My feel is Adebayor is going to go and Marouane Chamakh will come in but this one will drag probably even until after pre-season has well and truly started. Wenger’s refusal to publicly admit Adebayor is certain to go and that Chamakh is certainly to arrive in his place are all part of transfer fees’ negotiating tactics.

Will I welcome Marouane Chamakh? Yes, he is well suited to Arsenal’s free-flowing football but he will need to improve on his finishing, and fast, to win fans over. There is a lot of talk about his exceptional heading ability and yes he has scored a number of headers BUT I am not entirely convinced because the goalkeepers and defenders in the French Ligue 1 is of a different (or should I say sub-standard) breed to that of the Premier League.


Cana Lorik be the answer? July 2, 2009

Filed under: Aaron Ramsey,Arsenal rejects,Arsene Wenger,Philippe Senderos,Transfer Rumours — Son of a Gunner @ 10:07 am

Again before we move on to the topic proper, let us first run through quite a bit of Arsenal news that surfaced yesterday (except for the horrible 3rd white kit that I’ve already reported on yesterday).

First, Arsene Wenger explained why he decided to stay at Arsenal instead of opting to manage a galatico-led Real Madrid team.  To be honest, I’ve never doubted Wenger’s commitment to the club and I really cannot see him willing to give up the amount of control he enjoys at Arsenal for a top-management led club like Madrid.

Next we have the infamous Amaury Bischoff, undoubtedly Wenger’s most mysterious signing (and by this I mean taking even Silvestre’s signing into consideration), has revealed the reason why he didn’t sign a contract extension with Arsenal. Seriously, if he were any good, I might have felt upset that this was how he treated us for us taking him in when he was injured and was a huge gamble. The key words being “any good”. I’ve watched him in the reserve games and he was quite simply crap. I’m not even sure he will get into my Sunday team. Seriously, Amuary, don’t bother demanding regular first team football. Not at Arsenal, not at anywhere else too.

Philippe Senderos, whom I recommended to be recalled in my earlier posts, is apparently being wooed by Hertha Berlin and Aston Villa according to ‘reports’ that doesn’t have any quotes from unnamed sources. Does that make it any more realistic? I think not, but I do think Senderos’ future with Arsenal is really over.

To better news, our young Welsh star Aaron Ramsey has signed a new contract. Ramsey is 18, has a great built and a great engine and although he has only seemingly shined against lesser opposition, I have no doubt he has a bright future in the game so this has got to be great news for us. Although of course, once he becomes good we’ll be looking at “Spanish club looking to prise unhappy Arsenal star away” headlines.

Finally, the topic of the day. Since news broke of Felipe Melo signing a new contract at Fiorentina, there are at least 4 other Arsenal blogs and 2 news sites reporting that Arsenal is back in the frame for Lorik Cana. Can it be real?

I’ve mentioned in my earlier post that Lorik Cana is a beast of a midfielder. He has a determined ball-winning mentality and basically gives everything in a challenge. He takes the word ‘battle’ quite literally. However, before you you-tubers think he is the answer to our midfield problems, I need to raise the following points.

I have seen him in action for Albania, and for Marseille in matches. And I think that is a better avenue to judge a player’s ability than an edited video. Case in point is I remember I once saw a very impressive video of Alessandro Pistone, the former Newcastle defender and look at how that one turned out.

Lorik has some weaknesses that had to be ironed out before he should join Arsenal. His postional sense isn’t the best I’ve seen. True, it seemed like he still wins a lot of balls in midfield anyway but that is more due to his huge engine in running all over the place much like a young Steven Gerrard. If he is to play the same way in the Premier League, I fear he will not have as much impact.

Secondly, he is not technically gifted. To look at whether a player has proper technique, you just need to see how he strike a ball with his foot when he passes and when he shoots. He doesn’t pass very well and that may be a disruption to Arsenal’s flowing style of football.

One good thing he does have other than winning the ball (and most of the time the men with it), is his ability to hold onto the ball. But if you are expecting him to be a player that can launch instant counter attacks once he wins the ball then you’re wrong.

Can he fit in at Arsenal? I say we hold our horses even if we do get him in. A player must fit the club and at this point in time, I can’t see it happening. Will he improve when he join Arsenal? At 25, he still has time so I can’t rule that out. But to expect him to have an instant impact would be too much.

Certainly, I won’t mind him joining Arsenal but I’m not into the hype in him now as with a lot of people at present.

What is your feel?