Arsenal News Roundup: Theo Is Fearless And Yossi Unsure Of Future
After the less-than-stressful exertions at the Molineux, Arsenal have a couple of days to rest and plan for Wigan’s visit to the Emirates on Monday.
With the cheeky penalty he scored against Wolves, Robin van Persie equalled Ian Wright’s record of scoring against 17 different league opponents in one season. It is a fantastic achievement and shows the immense nature of his talents; to score against all but two opponents is symbolic of the tremendous level he can raise his game to against all kinds of defenses.
His teammate Theo Walcott feels like Superman at the moment. The England international spoke about how he’s not afraid of picking up injuries any more:
I’m 23 now and I am still growing. I am not afraid of getting hurt. A few years ago I had shoulder injuries, ankle problems and back problems and that was just me learning the other side of the game.
Now I am just going into games and enjoying myself, not being scared of anything. The manager always tells me not to be afraid going into tackles.
It is another aspect of footballers that fans do not always take into account. When you’ve had injuries in the past, it can take time and an extended run of games to rediscover the confidence to make challenges and tackles. Of course, this differs from player to player, but if you have sustained long spells on the sidelines and are desperate to play, it does subconsciously make you careful in challenges so as not to hurt yourself again. Many times, we mistake this caution for a lack of willingness and determination.
Which is why Arsenal fans must be the patient with Aaron Ramsey. Admittedly, he is nowhere close to the pre-injury form, but we’ve seen glimpses of his touch returning in the last few games. As we are fond of saying, class is permanent and form is temporary. In my opinion, what Aaron is lacking at the moment is the latter, not the former.
Another player hoping for supernatural intervention is Yossi Benayoun, who wants all English clubs he’s been associated with, to qualify for Champions League Football next year:
I want first Arsenal to finish in the top three and, if it depended on me, I want Chelsea to finish in the top four and Liverpool also to finish in the top four. But it can’t happen.
The Israeli is unsure about where his future lies at the moment. At his age, he wants to play regularly and I can understand his frustration at being on the bench for long periods at Arsenal, especially as he came on loan to us to escape the bench at Chelsea. Whatever decision he takes in the summer may be guided by how much playing time his new club can promise him.
Yossi has been a thorough professional, contributing when called upon this season. He is the kind of player Arsenal have been criticized for not having in the past – someone with technique, experience, good work rate and reliability. As I pointed out a few weeks ago, he is the ideal squad player and I am certain Arsene will consider signing him – transfer fee, weekly wage and player ambition willing.
The other interesting news to come out yesterday was the departure of Damien Comolli from his post as Liverpool’s Director of Football. On a personal level, if this Guardian article is to be believed, Comolli is not held in high regard by previous employers.
It also once again raises the question about whether the Manager-Director of Football role division actually works in English football. It has failed spectacularly at Liverpool. Instead of dividing focus between off-field talent spotting and on-field potential conversion, it has only sought to divide blame between the man on the ground and the man in the office. For now, the man in the office is left holding the sack.
As an Arsenal fan, I am ever more grateful for the all-in-one wonder that is Arsene Wenger.
Until tomorrow, take it easy.