Gooner of the Year; Andrei Arshavin

brrrrdtd dttd ttd tdt four goals at anfield

It wasn’t even close. 76% of you voted for Andrei Arshavin in the poll while Robin van Persie was a distant second at 58%. To put it another way, the difference between 5th place and 2nd place was just over 10%. It’s a comfortable win for the little Russian and here’s why.

First, he had to overcome the negative press that those racists at Zenit were spewing in order to make themselves look like the better party in this deal. They tried to make him look like the whiner, like the guy who had been given everything and that they just wanted a fair deal out of it. But the truth was that they foolishly cup tied him in the Champions League, thus devaluing the player, and the fact that the Russian season doesn’t kick off until after the January transfer window meant that Arshavin wasn’t match fit, further devaluing the player in the January transfer window. When Andrei got to Arsenal he immediately gave an interview, where he showed off his impressive English skills, and set about dispelling all the rumors. He wanted to play for Arsenal.

Second, he had to overcome his lack of match fitness. I’m not saying the guy was 200 lbs or something, just that no matter how much you work out it’s not the same as actually playing and practicing at full speed. There was a brief moment where we all thought we might see him against Spurs, only 8 days after signing, but it wasn’t to be. He remained on the bench until Feb 21st, 2009, against Sunderland, perhaps you remember the day? I do.

Here he is, gooner of the year, as photographed by yours truly

Still it took him a few weeks to sort of settle in. The match against Fulham a week later, you could really see that the toll of the Premier League pace had gotten to him.

And then the little Russian went on a tear, scoring or setting up goals in 5 games in a row; WBA, Burnley, Blackburn, Hull, and Newcastle. As he gained fitness, Arsenal started reaping the benefits and the club started winning games. That’s when I think we all knew we had something special, because a fully fit Arshavin was truly something to behold.

Third, he had to overcome the physicality of the Premier League. Speaking of the Newcastle game, does anyone remember Steven Taylor’s vicious attack on Andrei? No?

After the game Andrei simply said “The style of play is hard but not vicious. It is not something that I am used to but I understand it perfectly – you can’t relax for a second.” He had taken his lumps and came up a better man for it.

Which brings us to the final obstacle that he had to overcome; Premier League defenses. Despite Man U’s blistering defeat in Rome, I still believe that in league play the English Premier League has the toughest defenses in the world. If you look at the top four defenses in the EPL, they concede less than a goal a game on average. So, scoring goals, against top clubs, in league play, is very hard. One player scoring two goals against a bottom club is pretty good, but one player scoring 4 goals, against a top club, on their patch, where they had only conceded 10 goals all season?

No way.

Yes way.

I’m not going to put all four goals here, because one stands out as extra special and I don’t want it lost in the shuffle. It’s the type of goal that only the top, top class players take. It’s the type of goal that Gooners of the Year make.

So, for overcoming all those obstacles, for playing beautifully, for scoring wonder goals, and for putting us on your back and securing fourth place, Andrei Arshavin, you are our Gooner of the Year.

Transfer Rumors

My one observant reader will notice that I have put a third page on my masthead, entitled “Players Who Didn’t Sign for Arsenal” it’s my little tongue in cheek look at all the guys that get linked to the club, that the press go gaga over, and who sign elsewhere. Today, we can add one name to that list, some Jerkoff from St. Racistberg, who signed for Chelsea. I’m hapy for them both.

Future additions to the list could be:

Gareth Barry apparently wants to come to Arsenal… for £12m. I would pay £12m for Gareth Barry. I would pay probably £20m for him, just because his passport is that all important shade of Claret that makes xenophobes like Platini and Bleater get all tingly inside. Of course, this has about as much chance of happening as I do of having sex with Christina Hendricks, but hey, a man can dream.

Supposedly, Arsenal are also targeting a striker from Bordeaux named Chamakh. You really have to check out this link, his “highlight” reel is absolutely comical. It’s two videos showing a few dozen missed goals and like one decent chip shot. A striker who misses bags of chances? Rarely do we see Arsenal linked with a man who is so truly ready to jump right into the first team.

Since Brede Hangeland is making noises that he’s going to stay at Fulham and fulfil his life’s ambition of being a second rate defender, the press have turned their attention to Ajax captain Thomas Vermaelen.  Hey, he’s a defender, which is a refreshing change from all the stories linking us to strikers…

and wingers like Marat Izmailov. Signing Arshavin from Zenit seems to have had the knock on effect of getting the press to link us to every Tom, Dick, and Ivan in Russia.

And last, but not least, someone went back into their tickle file and pulled out the name “Mbia.” He’s over 6′ tall, plays as a holding midfielder, and has been linked with Arsenal in the past, practically begging to come to Arsenal in the January transfer window. But, my favorite aspect of this rumor is that when you google “mbia” you get some kind of Municipal Bond Insurance Agency. 

Also, no way.

9 Responses to “Gooner of the Year; Andrei Arshavin”

  1. 1 gooner sems
    May 29, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    half a season ahd the fans favourite quality quality

  2. 2 nycgunner
    May 29, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    i really should get a full time job being a scout for arsenal. i’ve been asking for arsene to buy andrei since 2007. a lot of gunners doubted him when he arrived but i’ve always said that a player of his quality would do well no matter which league he plays in – and finally this year i was vindicated.

  3. 3 Reece
    May 29, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    if we don’t win anything next season, top teams will be after him including barca since henry would most likely be gone by then. it will be hard to keep our team together if nothing is won again

  4. 4 WC
    May 29, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Now If Ade could either be sold for a more opportunist striker or he find his 07/08 form and stop trying to have some on the side affair with Milan and RVP signs a contract then we could play some amazing 4-3-3 and *gasp* we could be Barca!!!


    Sagna (new big ass defender) Gallas Clichy

    (monster CM – rumored to be Barry)

    Nasri/Walcott Cesc

    Arshavin (actual striker that can finish or Ade) RVP

    I dunno about you but that looks scary to me.

  5. 5 nycgunner
    May 29, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    we do need a monster defensive midfielder. barry is good but something about him doesn’t make me want to see him in an arsenal shirt. yes he is big and tough but he just lacks that extra bit of technical prowess that i would like to see in an arsenal player. or maybe i’ve just become biased against the villa players this season after putting up with their sh*te for the first half of the season. the player i was really impressed with was fernando from fc porto. did any of you guys catch the 2-2 draw at old trafford in the CL quarters? he was monster in that game. he was very good against us as well when we had our away game there. just wondering if anyone else shares my sentiments here…

  6. 6 WC
    May 29, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I was switching between about 3 games that day so I didn’t get a good look at any one game since we weren’t playing that day so I can’t say alot about Fernando. What I like about Barry is he has some good range of passes that surpasses Denilson and Song right now. Truth be told he’s not the midfield destroyer everyone makes him out to be – he’s more like a less skilled Xabi Alonso. Granted Alonso does do some good defensive work but it’s really a Mascherano that we need, not necessarily an Alonso. It’s Petrov that really does more dirty work than Barry – I would take Barry if Wenger signs him but I still prefer the usual suspects like Toulalan, Cana et al. We really need the rough and tumble bite of a fighter and Barry is more of a cultured player than physical.

    • 7 nycgunner
      May 29, 2009 at 6:15 pm

      agreed that barry would be an upgrade over denilson and song. also agree that he’s more like a less skilled alonso. funny you mentioned petrov because that’s the player i would rather we get if we were to get someone from villa. i haven’t seen any of ligue 1 this season so i can’t comment on toulalan or cana. honestly, i think following 3 leagues this year was probably the most amount of football i’ve ever watched – averaging about 6 or 7 games a week. but going back to barry, someone had mentioned either in this blog or another that he is going to bring leadership to the team. i have my reservations about that as well. yes he was he captain at villa but has he shown a winning mentality? the fact is unless you have won something you can’t really prove that you have a winning mentality and so far villa has won nothing! but i guess at the end of the day i can’t complain too much if we do end up getting him. i think he might be one of those players who might actually make a run at the box when we have crosses coming in. or maybe he will become an even better player under wenger’s tutelage.

  7. 8 Emperor
    May 29, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Arshy! Definite winner. Not much more to say, waiting until the 11th hour until getting excited about transfers. We all know what we need, hopefully we get it!

  8. May 30, 2009 at 8:33 am

    yes, Andrei Arshavin is the best Arsenal player, he scored four goals in one match. Too bad he didn’t come at the beginning of EPL. Next season he will bring Arsenal to higher rank.

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