Written by SharkeySure
I started to write this on Sunday evening, and have also read through yesterday’s debate without getting the chance to comment much. So now my rambles have been requested by Peaches for a post in Song’s defence. I make no apology for the biased reporting and rewriting of recent history that follows. I’ll even steal a line of MickeyDidIt’s to make matters even clearer: “I must stress, every one of my theories and brilliant ideas have absolutely no basis on factual research or rational thought!”
I guess football is about opinions, but whilst I agree that Song wasn’t at his best on Saturday, I can’t see that he did much wrong bar horribly misplace two or three passes, and take a wild shot from a very difficult angle.
I watched it on a stream at 3pm then again on footie first at 8pm, and I was surprised to see how much closing down he did and how many balls he won in the air and on the deck, that hadn’t registered that forcefully with me earlier in the day.
Before horribly miscuing a pass to Arshavin, he won an aerial battle against two Fulham players, one of whom was the man mountain Hangeland. Credit first for coming out with the ball from a position in which he almost had no right to. Song also had a good penetrating run into Fulham’s bus garage (?) which opened them up a bit and led to Rosicky’s volley that went narrowly wide. Again, good pace shown to get in there.
Prior to his wild shot it was a long sprint after Pantsil, whom he caught and robbed (you all saw that right – Song’s slow ..Lol !) . I’m very happy to see him doing that, as it shows us pressing higher up the pitch. We started last season that way, and then it tailed off a bit, for some reason.
This season Song seems to be tasked with being presser in chief, and I for one think that he does it very well. When required, he sits deeper and is much more disciplined as a pure DM (M City, Everton and Villa away?).
Maybe part of the reason is that Song is very adept at using his strength and physicality to break up play, and perhaps Arsène feels that it’s better that he does this further away from our goal, in an area of the pitch where the opposition are less likely to roll over for a foul and set piece opportunity. Additionally he’s less likely to get a yellow for fouls high up the pitch.
Beyond his strength, Alex Song really is one of the best CMs in the Prem in my humble yet unbiased opinion. It’s rare to combine his physical strength and sublime technique. His quick feet and speed of thought get him out of many sticky situations that would have many others hoofing the ball into touch. He is also a very good passer of a football – slide rules inside the full back, chips, dinks, deft touches, he’s got the lot.
Yesterday Gunner N5 posted some wonderful stats that showed Song as being the 2nd most successful passer of a football in the Prem this season (up until Nov 27th). To see Song’s passing stats at 87% and to know the sort of cute and sometimes audacious passes that he attempts is fantastic for me, as I am just about one of his biggest fans. He’s second only to the Black Ray Wilkins at Chelsea (on 88%) who may as well be called CrabMan, and work at the CrabShack. (My Name is Earl is just about my fave comedy!)
To see Song do that receive and turn, look up to pass, then glide away in the opposite direction is a thing of much beauty and grace to me. To watch Crab Obi Mikel knocking the ball 2 and 3 yds to Ivanovic, Terry and back to Cech is horrible to watch. So taking into account points for artistic merit, Song’s a very clear winner. Simple really. So whilst I accept that his standards may have dropped a little I still believe that he remains one of our most effective and consistent players, who gets through the donkey work and adds the steel and never say die spirit (W ham at home!!) that we’ve all been crying out for since Flamini left. Anyone got Flamini’s passing stats for his final season..??
As this post lacked the humour I’d ordinarily aim for, here’s a gag to finish. A blonde (no, not our beloved Alex !!!) took her car to a garage as it wasn’t running too well. She left it with the mechanic to look at for an estimate of the problem and likely cost. One hour later she returns to hear the car running smoothly. “Wow you’ve fixed it already,” she says, “yeah just shit in the oil filter” says the mechanic. “Really” replies the blonde, “how often do I need to do that..?”