An Ode

Considering that we have had a week of Premier League free football it has felt like a very busy one. We had the post Premier League happiness of St. Totteringham’s day to contend with and it’s been cup final week on the domestic as well as European cup competition. Transfer speculation is also high on everyone’s agenda. It’s been an intriguing week to say the least.

Firstly and fore mostly I’d like to take the opportunity to pay tribute to a couple of departing heroes for Arsenal Football Club. Mikel Arteta after 5 years of service and Tomas Rosicky after a decade. They have both been brilliant for Arsenal football club in different ways, and rather than to look at what they could have been for the club and dwell on “what if?” I’m going to look at what they did do for us during their time at The Arsenal.

Tomas Rosicky was brought in to replace Robert Pires and his wonderful creativity from the left hand side, however Rosicky was at the time seen as an upgrade as he had a bit more energy than our imperious Frenchman, as well as a change of pace that it’s fair to say Pires didn’t quite have anymore. He came in off the back of a collection of glittering world cup performances and was an exciting prospect for us. He gave our midfield that surge when we needed to pick up the tempo and also possessed this knack of bursts of pace that the opposition never really anticipated. He was a part of the new age, that kept us competitive in the post Thierry Henry era. Granted he was there for Henry’s last season with us but it was his part in the midfield four alongside Fabregas, Hleb and Flamini that was of an almost perfect balance. I say almost as the trophies that we would have liked didn’t quite arrive at this juncture, but that’s more to do with other areas of the pitch in my book. No need to discuss past ills here! On of my favourite things about Rosicky was that he really seemed to understand what it was to be an Arsenal player. He was a fan favourite and he loved a goal against Sp*rs, which is always something that is going to endear you to the Arsenal faithful. The goal I’ll always remember him for is the one at home v Sp*rs to put us 3-2 up from being 2-0 down. A whole weight lifted for the fans and it really was one of the key moments that lead us to Champions League football at the end of the 2011/12 season. Not only was it a great goal but you could see how much it meant to him and that’s why we all loved him. Granted he isn’t considered to be a legend at the club even though he’s been here for more years than Thierry Henry was with us. As I mentioned earlier he is a player that we will all feel a bit “What if?” with regards to his injuries, but as a man and a player he is someone who will be missed by us. Good luck to him at the Euros.

Now for Mikel Arteta. He was a player that I felt, among many others, that we really should have brought to the club a couple of years earlier than he arrived. But he was still a vital signing for us. He was bought in our post Man Utd mauling in what is widely termed as a supermarket sweep like buying spree. He was someone who came in that steadied the ship and really helped us in the post Fabregas era. He was asked to play in a completely different role to where he played with Everton. He was a mix between a wide man and a number 10 for them, yet he came in and played maybe a handful of games in the number 10 role before being placed at the base of our midfield simply due to the fact that there was no one else capable enough to play in that role. He performed affably and we only won one game without him in the team in the 2011/12 season. It was the final game away to West Brom, which is what got us 4th place that year, but it’s a testament to how important he was, because when he didn’t play we didn’t tend to win. He was such a stereotypically Arsenal type player it seemed baffling that we didn’t bring him in a couple of years earlier. My favourite Arteta moment was in that 2011/12 season when he smashed in the winner vs Man City at home from long range. He won us the game and seemingly lost Man City the title (not, Lol!) but he won the ball back in midfield and drove on a few yards before unleashing a wonderful strike into the bottom corner. A beauty. He was truly a classy player and a classy man, and it was fitting that he signed off his time with us with a quote that just works…”This club is class”. Good luck to his future in coaching, as I really do see him as someone who might just have the intelligence to manage The Arsenal one day.

The rest of the week saw Seville beat Liverpool with a wonderful second half performance from them as well as some quite hilarious punditry from Michael Owen. What a tool. This man genuinely gets paid for this insight. Plonker. As are most pundits on BT Sport. We also saw an FA Cup final where LVG seemingly went out on a high. It was a pretty boring affair, however in his big moment at winning the cup, both United as a club and Mourinho’s entourage couldn’t help but to undermine him by announcing that he would be their new manager minutes after the final. Absolutely horrendous from all concerned. Not only that but in his post match press conference a member of the press contrived to mockingly laugh in LVG’s direction for his rightly spirited demeanour having obviously heard the news. It’s at the end of the clip as he walks out but this isn’t anything new. The press in this country become more and more ‘above’ everyone else within the game as time goes on. There are very few journalists out there now who write and/or handle themselves with integrity. It’s good, however, that social media exists to amplify these faux pas’. If it weren’t for social media we probably wouldn’t even know it happened, as it is on my Twitter timeline the last 24 hours has been filled with very guilty sounding journalists defending whoever it was because they themselves know it was wrong. Deflecting to the fact that he’s underperformed as a manager. He’s just won a bloody trophy and this is how the press and his club behave. Absolutely no class whatsoever. Far be it from me being a fan of LVG, he’s been a disaster and frankly looks to be missing a few screws but that doesn’t give anyone the right to belittle a cup win as well as the man himself. Why not let him have his moment? That’s something that Utd fans will have to get used to as the siege mentality of ‘Us against Them’ that Mourinho imbibes has already begun. They’ll win things no doubt, however the manner in which they do so will not be liked by many. In the same way that it has now become commonplace at Chelsea, unless Conte can change it that is.

On top of all of this we’ve also bought a player it seems! No official confirmation as yet, however leaked pictures from his photo shoot showing not only the player Xhaka, but also the new kit. The club now frantically doing all they can to launch things officially. He’ll be a great signing by the sounds of it, and if you want to do some further reading on how good he might be for us, here’s a great piece.

Largely it’s been a rather good week. Enjoy the upcoming Transfer mayhem and have a good one folks.

Follow me on Twitter @MiteshLakhani1.

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