Archive for May 16th, 2008


Sign me a Song

Following his rearguard defense of Eboue, Arsene Wenger is pulling an “I told you so” in regards Alex Song.

I can show you articles in newspapers which said that [he] was the worst buy I have made but you will see in one or two years that he will be a great player for Arsenal.

So, you saved the clippings did you? Well then, smarty pants, where will Alex Song achieve this greatness?

Trust me, if I make a decision it is because I know all the characteristics of the player whether they are physical or mental characteristics. When I put a player somewhere, I know why I do. If I play Song at centre back it is because I believe he will be a great centre back for Arsenal Football Club. In Song’s case, he can play in central midfield. But can he play 60 games there? I am not convinced

So, wait a second, is this story about Arsene or is this about Song?

First of all, it’s a bit early to start saying that Song will be a “great player” for Arsenal. Hell, it’s a lot early. I’m still unconvinced by the guy in any position — much less in central defense. I’m sorry, but central midfielders can make mistakes but central defenders cannot. Alex Song has made a lot of mistakes at center back and frankly they come down to a lack of vision and defensive awareness. To some extent, those are two things that can be taught, but if vision and awareness don’t come naturally to a player and the chips are down, he/she will revert to their natural state and goals will be conceded.  I am not knocking experience. Experience is the second leg of the tripod that makes a great defender. I’m just saying that he has looked shaky in defense because I don’t think it’s his natural position. I think he’s naturally a central defensive midfielder. Besides, the guy has a talent going forward.  Isn’t that talent wasted having him play in front of goal?  That’s my bag on Song.  Play him in midfield or don’t play him at all.

But then, I’m just some guy on a blog.

“Trust me” Arsene says. Ok, you’re rarely wrong. Here I go, closing my eyes and blindly trusting you…

Wait… I really wonder what his motivation is for this latest outburst. It seems to me that this is more about him and people respecting him and his judgment than about Song’s ability. It doesn’t make any sense any other way. “If I play Song at centre back it is because I believe he will be a great centre back for Arsenal Football Club.” Yes, just like you knew that Flamini would be a great left back, Theo a great right wing, and Toure a great right back?

You are a great manager, Wenger. Your ability to spot players and get them to shine in new positions is unequaled. Are you wrong about Eboue and Song? I’m not going to presume to know. I do know that even if you are wrong about them, it won’t matter, your track record is so solid that even a colossal cockup like starting Alex Song at CB couldn’t tarnish it.  But please, do it for the right reasons and not out of some pig-headedness.

Ok, back to closing my eyes and trusting Arsene Wenger.

The Poop Scoop:

The British press seems to be too busy with the Christianochester Ronaldited controversy to speculate about Arsenal’s transfers. Personally, I really hope he does go to Real Madrid, because United would go from title contenders to 4th place contenders if that happened. And what with the planned exodus of Chelsea’s “galacticos” Arsenal would have to be press darlings and at the very least predicted by the media to finish second place, to Tottenham.

Regardless of their busy schedule with the Ronaldo story, there’s some team news to report: Vieira has warned Arsene not to strip Gallas of the captaincy or else Gallas might not be motivated enough to give 100% next time he kicks some advertising boards and has a midfield pout. My take? Strip him of the captaincy. A real captain will take the demotion and dedicate himself to overcome that set back.

Vieira goes so far as to warn that Gallas might quit if stripped. Good. There’s no room in the squad for a player who has his friends make threats for him in the press.

Meanwhile, Wenger is saying that a big player is better than a big name. I agree. We need a 7’10” monster of a player who can squash tiny little Man U players under one foot. In reality Wenger is simply saying “I am not paying more than £8m for anyone just because they are a household name.”

I guess that means Veloso’s £24m price tag is right out then. I nearly choked when I saw his valuation that high.  £24m for Veloso is just plain irrational: he doesn’t even have a decent YouTube video yet, just a bunch of sappy love songs put to pictures gleaned off the intertubes. Even Chelsea doesn’t spend money like that. Now, Tottenham, on the other hand.

Or how about £14m for Nasri? On the one hand, he has a YouTube compilation of his greatest moments.  On the other, they’re all a bunch of dribbling attacks that end in saves.  But hey it’s a video, break the bank! Judging by the video, he’d be a natural replacement for all the goals that Hleb didn’t score.

So, that’s the poop scoop for today. Another day, another NOT signing.


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