It may seem odd after Saturday’s trouncing of Aston Villa to focus on an unused substitute from that game.
But Arteta’s wonder strike, Theo’s returning confidence, Songinho’s transformation into the new Liam Brady and even Johan Djourou’s unexpected solidity have all been well covered.
I want to focus on our on-loan Israeli international because I caught a glimpse of him during the game as the camera tracked along our bench. He was smiling with the other substitutes and seemed fully engaged in the squad and the game.
It struck me what a model professional he is.
Talent-wise I don’t see him as being too far behind a certain fat French benchwarmer. Both players are capable of defence-sundering dribbles, both have an eye for goal and both are nippy, one-touch players.
Obviously Benny is older, but a more significant difference is that only one of them is a greedy, grasping, ungrateful pillock. And I’m not referring to the one who lights candles at Hannukah.
While Samir Na$ri would rather have money than game time (and if you think I’m joking, you should read his quotes from last week, whining about how he played too many games at Arsenal and prefers being on the bench at Manchester City), Benayoun is exactly the opposite.
Yossi said recently that he did not know where he would be playing next season, but would like to join a mid table side so he could play more regularly.
It would almost certainly mean a pay cut, but Yossi doesn’t mind that. He’s 31 years old and just wants to play top flight football for as long as his skinny little legs will let him.
For Arsenal he has been no more than a bit part player this year and we are unlikely to see him in our famous strip next season. But the importance of bit part players is not to be overlooked and Yossi has certainly contributed in a positive way to our season.
For a start, without his 87th minute header to win the away game at Villa we would be two points worse off in the table. He has scored three goals in nine starts for us in all competitions (not a bad return) and has made 10 additional appearances as substitute – usually coming in games with about 15 minutes to go.
Whenever he plays he does a good job and his terrier-like hard work has earned the respect of supporters who, let’s be honest, undoubtedly raised an eyebrow or two when he joined us as a loanee from Chelsea on the last day of the transfer window.
Now that we have most of our squad fit his opportunities are likely to be limited, but earlier in the season, when our usual injury blight was wreaking havoc, we were fortunate to have someone of his ability and Premier League experience to bring on in games.
He even got to wear the armband in one game – our unlucky Carling Cup defeat at the hands of Na$ri and his fellow oil workers – and he made a fine contribution as one of the starting 11 in our 5-2 hammering of the Tiny Totts (he played until the 88th minute).
By all accounts he is a popular figure in the dressing room and has been generous with help and advice for the younger players.
In short, as I said earlier, he is a model professional and if his humility and sense of good fortune at being a professional footballer rub off on some of our up-and-coming young stars that can only be a good thing.
We certainly don’t want the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and others following the Na$ri path of greed and ingratitude.
In the horrible mess of last summer’s transfer business Benayoun attracted criticism from some supporters simply for not being Eden Hazard or Juan Mata or whichever marquee signing was flavor of the month.
But as a reliable squad player who has played at the top level in the EPL and was happy to do a job for us mostly from the bench, we could hardly have done better.
If he does get the move he hopes for this summer, I sincerely hope all true Gunner will wish him well.