Arsenal Legends Critical of Team, Nasri Wins French Footballer of the Year, & the Winner of the Bergkamp ContestBy: Sairax | December 15th, 2010
I have to admit, I took it pretty hard losing to ManUtd on Monday. I got a lot of it off my chest in yesterday’s post, though I really cannot remember what I wrote. Hopefully it was coherent. After being in a funk for most of the day, I decided to at least give myself some perspective to lift my spirits. We’re still 2nd, in the Carling Cup semifinal, and in the Round of 16 in the Champions League. We’ve actually won more games than anyone else this season. We have 10 wins compared to Chelsea, ManUtd, and ManCity who all have won 9 games. Of course, it’s the losses that are killing us. We have the joint best away record in the league, are 2nd in goals scored, and 5th in goals conceded. Plus we have 2 players in the top 10 goal scorers in the league: Nasri and Chamakh.
Ok, so we’ve been sucking on the pitch. At least we’re still in a good position right? The other top teams are sucking too. I know, it’s not much of a consolation, but it’s all I got right now. I’m not ready to give up on this team. I just feel like there really could be something special here and that if we can just battle through a long and hard season and come out on top bravely sporting our cuts and bruises, it will have all been worth it. Then we can really start to dominate in the coming years. We need to go through the trenches first and prove we’re worthy.
Does the team want it as much as we do though? That’s the thing isn’t it? They don’t believe it yet, or they don’t have that fighting spirit. Sure, you can see it in a couple of players, but collectively they leave us all wanting. Lee Dixon has commented on the team’s mentality. He says the players are not trying hard enough without the ball and that their body language is all wrong. Dixon says that the backline he was a part of back in Arsenal’s trophy-winning days was never suitably replaced, and he even says that Clichy should be dropped from his starting position. He’s not the only Arsenal legend to criticize the team mentality. Ian Wright, who’s never shy to give his opinion, basically says that Evra was right, and he bemoans our current record against the top teams in the league. The whole thing is pretty much what frustrates most gooners.
One player who I feel does have that fighting spirit, and has been in top form for us this season, is Samir Nasri. He has just been named French Footballer of the Year, ahead of Florent Malouda and Hugo Lloris. He was a bit lucky in that almost everyone who went to the World Cup was snubbed, but I still congratulate him on getting it. Hopefully he will continue to have a great season and win many more awards with Arsenal. He has mentioned again how missing the World Cup allowed him to properly get into shape, and also that he is glad that people can see that he was not the bad apple that many thought he was:
“It took the World Cup to make people realise that I was not as bad as all that and I wasn’t responsible for the atmosphere in the French team.
“I have never been a little idiot. At Marseille and Arsenal, everything has always gone well. But I recognise as well that I am not a saint.
“I don’t like it when people walk over me and if I don’t agree with someone, I will always tell him. I am not lacking in respect, like some people have said.”
I love that he’s all fired up, and you should read the whole article because he comes across as a very smart and articulate guy and he talks about our title ambitions and whether Arsenal can rise to the challenge.
Another one of our players who is full of confidence is Wojciech Szczesny, who was handed his first league start for Arsenal on Monday at Old Trafford. He had a good match, and the taste of first team action has him wanting more. Szczesny mentions that on Rooney’s penalty, his presence may have thrown him off, resulting in Rooney pulling a total Baggio. You gotta love the guy. He’s confident, has loads of talent, and is hungry for success. I don’t know if he’ll start again this weekend, but I know that most of us would not be worried at all if he did.
In other news, the Arsenal youth team played its first match in the FA Youth Cup yesterday against Darlington. Arsenal won 6-1, with a hattrick from Chuks Aneke. Benik Afobe bagged himself a brace and 2 assists. The team looks really good this season and we have a lot of good talent, so I think there is a very good chance for the team to go a long way in the competition. In the next round, they will face the winner of Sunderland-Chelsea who are playing later today. There’s a great interview with Afobe talking to BBC Sport, you all should read it. In the interview, and on twitter, he comes across as a really nice, down-to-earth guy. If you don’t know much about him or Chuks, you should revisit Martin’s “Who’s Next?” series. There’s also a great profile in BP Football today on Wellington Silva, who was recently denied a work permit so will be going on loan instead of joining Arsenal in January.
Last but not least, Arsenal Offside are pleased to announce the winner of the contest for the lovely, one-of-a-kind Dennis Berkgkamp t-shirt, designed by Lady Arse and Live Breathe Futbol. And the winner is……..Homey! Our regular reader and contributor Homey has won the first ever Arsenal Offside contest! Congratulations!
Homey has, in the spirit of Christmas, decided to give his prize to our another of our regular readers, Darren, who is a huge Oranje and Berkgamp fan. So, congratulations Darren! (I should add that this all looks very convenient but I swear to you all, this was not rigged and the process for choosing the winner was totally random)
The original question for the contest was “How many goals has Dennis Bergkamp scored for Arsenal against Manchester United in all competitions?” and the answer is 4. Bergkamp scored for Arsenal against Man United 3 times at Highbury in the Premier League, and once in an FA Cup final replay at Villa Park.
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