Did they really play for Arsenal?

October 24, 2014

This is a short starter for Rant Friday and concerns our ex-players who have become pundits.

Let’s start with a man who has a clear anti-Arsenal agenda, Stewart Robson. I have no idea why such an admired player (pre-injury) has turned into a man who cannot speak without being negative about our boys but whatever it is it must have been painful because he clearly hates his former employers.

Then there are the Sky boys. Smudger Smith was one of my heroes. Known as “The Professor” in the dressing room because he read broadsheet newspapers Smith rarely is complimentary about our boys, choosing instead to tell us how much better the opposition is and then laying into our lads, in particular JW.

Merse. Mercurial on the pitch and a buffoon off it. Is this illiterate the best Sky can come up with?

George Graham. I guess he has reason to be anti-AW but I hoped for better from a man who brought not only trophies but dishonour to the club.

O’Leary. Our appearance record holder and yet persona non grata at THOF. Why?

At least we have Ian Wright, Wright, Wright, TH14 and Lee Dixon fighting our corner.

Want to moan about them apples??

written by Big Raddy

 


An Arsenal Blast from the Past No. 12 …… Players with the most club appearances. No. 1

May 2, 2014

Lets have a look at the only four players who have each made over Six Hundred appearances for Arsenal.

We start off with the only player to have played in over Seven Hundred games, David O’Leary; he is also the only player to have played for Arsenal in Twenty consecutive seasons. He appeared in an amazing Seven Hundred and Twenty Two games, from 1973 to 1993, a record that will be extremely difficult to exceed.

o leary

He was born in Stoke Newington, London on 2 May 1958 and moved to live in Dublin at the age of three. David played for Shelbourne as a schoolboy and signed for Arsenal as an apprentice in 1973. He quickly progressed through the ranks at Highbury, playing in the reserves at the age of 16. He made his first team debut  against Burnley on 16 August 1975, and despite being only 17, went on to make 30 appearances that season. For the next ten years he was ever-present in the Arsenal side, playing more than 40 matches a season (except for 1980–81, where he was injured and only played 27). When the former Arsenal manager George Graham was put in charge at Leeds United in September 1996, O’Leary was installed as his assistant. He remained in this position for two years until Graham moved to Tottenham.

David was voted into 21st position in the Arsenal Arsenal all time best players list.

Honours with Arsenal

Football League First Division

Winner: 1988–89, 1990–91

FA Cup

Winner: 1979, 1993

Runner-up: 1978, 1980

Football League Cup

Winner: 1987, 1993

European Cup Winners’ Cup

Runner-up: 1980

Records with Arsenal

Most appearances: 722

Most consecutive seasons 20

Youngest player to reach 100 and 200 games

400 appearances under the age of 26

These are some of his thoughts after Arsenal won the FA Cup replay in 1993.

“We did a lap of honour with the trophy and before I got to the tunnel I thought to myself “‘this is the last time I’ll ever wear the Arsenal jersey again”. It was an amazing night, a brilliant way to end 20 years, but it was such a sad night for me as well.”

It was a night that stretched well into the early hours as the players let off steam after making history. And O’Leary went home with an extra companion when the celebrations finally died down.

“That night – I’ll always remember this – I took the FA Cup home. No one else seemed to be responsible for it so I took it with me.

“My wife drove us home and I remember sitting in the front with the FA Cup in my lap and somebody pulled up at the lights, seconds before it went green, and he looked over and then looked over again, thinking ‘is that David O’Leary with the FA Cup?!’ We pulled away and I still don’t know if that guy thought he was imagining things.

“I remember getting home that night and I thought, if my house gets robbed they are not going to take the FA Cup, so I took the cup up to my bedroom. My kids were young then and the following morning they came in and saw the FA Cup there on the side of the bed.

“That morning I took it to the club and gave it to Ken Friar. I said goodbye to Ken, I actually went to the steps of the old directors’ box at Highbury, had a look out there for the last time, and said to myself ‘hey, it’s been a fantastic 20 years, I’ve been so proud to play here, thanks for putting up with me’.

“Then I walked away, and that was that.”

(Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc.)

The player with the second most appearances at Six Hundred and Sixty Nine is Tony Adams, he played for a total of 19 seasons from 1983 to 2002.

tony-adams 1
Born in Romford, London, Tony grew up in Dagenham, signing for Arsenal as a schoolboy in 1980. He made his Arsenal first team debut in November 1983 just four weeks after his 17th birthday and became a regular player in the 1985–86 season, winning the Football League Cup Final, his first major trophy, in 1987.

Alongside Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn and Steve Bould, he was part of the “famous back four” that lined up in Arsenal’s defence – they became renowned for the use of their well-disciplined offside trap. On 1 January 1988, he became Arsenal captain at the age of 21 and remained as such until his retirement 14 years later.

Nicknamed “Mr Arsenal”, he was honoured by Arsenal with a testimonial game against Celtic in May 2002 with many Arsenal legends playing, including Ian Wright, John Lukic and Adams’s fellow back four stalwarts, Dixon, Winterburn and Bould. The game finished 1–1 with Lee Dixon, in his final appearance for the Gunners, getting their goal.

In 2004, Tony was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his impact on the English game. A statue of Adams was placed outside Emirates Stadium in celebration of the club’s 125th anniversary on 9 December, 2011. He has also been honoured with the MBE for his contribution to football.

Tony placed 3rd in the Arsenal Arsenal best all time player poll.

Arsenal v Queens Park Rangers - Premier League

Honours with Arsenal

First Division/Premier League: 1988–89, 1990–91, 1997–98, 2001–02

FA Cup: 1992–93, 1997–98, 2001–02

Football League Cup: 1986–87, 1992–93

FA Community Shield: 1991 (shared), 1998, 1999

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1993–94

Runner-up:

Premier League: 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01

FA Cup: 2000–01

Football League Cup: 1987–88

FA Community Shield: 1989, 1993

UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup: 1994–95

UEFA Cup: 1999–2000

UEFA Super Cup: 1994

Individual Honours

PFA Young Player of the Year: 1987

PFA Team of the Year: 1994, 1996, 1997

Member in The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE): (1999 Birthday Honours)

Overall Team of the Decade – Premier League 10 Seasons Awards: (1992-93 – 2001-02)

Fantasy Teams of the 20 Seasons – Premier League 20 Seasons Awards: (1992-93 – 2011-12)

The player with the 3rd most appearances is George Armstrong, he played in Six Hundred and Twenty One games, in 16 seasons from 1961 to1977.

george-armstrong

Born in Hebburn, County Durham, George joined Arsenal as a youth player in August 1961. He made his debut against Blackpool in 1962 while he was still 17 and by the 1963-64 season he had become a regular in the side.

Over his long career with the Gunners, George became one of Arsenal’s most consistent players, and was noted for the quality and accuracy of his crossing and corner kicks, as well as for his tireless running up and down the wing; he primarily played on the left, but was also effective on the right. As he matured, he became one of the few players of the Billy Wright era (along with Jon Sammels and Peter Storey) to become an integral part of Wright’s successor Bertie Mee’s Arsenal side, which ended the club’s long trophy drought.

After losing two successive League Cup finals in 1967-68 and 1968-69, George helped the Gunners win the 1969-70 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the 1970-71 League and FA Cup double; he was a regular in the Double-winning team that season, setting up a number of goals for his team-mates, which included teeing up Ray Kennedy’s winning header against Tottenham Hotspur, in the match that won Arsenal the League title. He was also voted Arsenal’s Player of the Year in 1970.

In 1990, before the Iraqi invasion, he returned to England and joined Arsenal as reserve team coach, a post he remained at for the remainder of his life, despite the many managerial upheavals the club underwent.  On 31 October 2000, while conducting a club training session he collapsed after an unexpected brain haemorrhage; he died in Hemel Hempstead Hospital in the early hours of the following morning.

George had a pitch named after him at the Arsenal F.C. training ground, in London Colney

The player with the 4th most appearances is Lee Dixon, Lee appeared in Six Hundred and Nineteen matches in 14 seasons from 1988 to 2002 .

Lee Dixon of Arsenal

Born in Manchester, he was signed by Arsenal boss George Graham in 1988 following the departure of England right back, Viv Anderson, to Manchester United. This was the first time that he had played in the First Division and it took a while for him to be given a first team role at Highbury. Nigel Winterburn had been a guarded success in the unfamiliar role of right back, though Lee did make his debut against Luton Town in February 1988 and played six times in total before the season ended. In the new season, Winterburn moved across to left back, allowing Dixon to take over the No.2 shirt, which he duly did for well over ten years.

He and Winterburn made the full back positions their own for the next decade or so, while Captain Tony Adams and the long-serving David O’Leary operated in the middle. Later in 1988 they were joined by Steve Bould who, like Dixon before him, had been spotted by Graham playing for Stoke City. These five defenders, often playing as a back five together and were the foundation stones of much of Arsenal’s success.

His career at Arsenal saw him collect four league champion’s medals, three FA Cup winner’s medals and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup medal. He was named in the PFA Team of the Year twice, for the seasons 1989–90 and 1990–91.

His retirement came at the end of Arsenal’s domestic double-winning 2001–02 season, their second in his time at the club.

Lee came in 18th place in the Arsenal Arsenal all time best players poll.

GunnerN5

 

 


Vote for your favourite defenders from Arsenal’s modern era

June 22, 2013

Today you get to vote for your favourite defenders from Arsenal’s modern era. The articles published on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week provided in depth profiles on our best defenders spanning from Peter Simpson who played his first game in 1960 to the present day.

To provide a broader picture of readers’ preferences, you can vote for up to 3 players in this poll.

Thanks to GunnerN5 and Gooner In Exile for this excellent series of posts providing a forensic analysis of the best players in Arsenal’s history. Today we conclude the defence …. next week we start the midfield.


Arsenal’s Greatest Defenders – Day 5

June 19, 2013

Continuing our Summer series of articles in search of Arsenal’s greatest ever team, this week we continue to highlight the defenders.  Don’t forget to take the opportunity to choose your personal favourite defender by voting in the poll at the end of the week

14. Kenny Samson: 1980-1988

Kenny played in 394 games over an 8 year period.

He was born in Camberwell, London. While still at school, Kenny played for the Crystal Palace youth team, and made his first team debut for them at the age of just 16. In 1977 he captained the Palace junior’s team to FA Youth Cup success; he also skippered the England team at the same level. In his first 156 games he only missed playing in one league fixture. The team quickly progressed from the old Third Division in 1976, through the divisions to Division One, which they briefly topped by the end of 1979.

image027Arsenal had been scouting Kenny and in the summer of 1980 they put in a bid of £1million, with striker Clive Allen going to Crystal Palace in exchange; this was a controversial move, as Allen was a prized young player and had only joined Arsenal weeks earlier. That same summer he played for England in the 1980 European Championships in Italy.

He made his Arsenal debut in August 1980 and was a regular for the next two seasons, and a near-constant figure at left back for Arsenal for the next six years. He was voted Arsenal’s Player of the Year in 1981, but it took him seven years to win a trophy, with the Gunners largely underachieving through the early and mid-1980s.

It was from his England career that he earned the most praise and recognition he was rarely out of the team and played in the 1982 World Cup in Spain. He remained as the first choice left back for the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and played in every game up to and including the quarter final loss to Argentina, and was one of the England players who witnessed Diego Maradona’s ”Hand of God” goal.

He rarely missed a game for England between 1980 and 1988, with the only competition for his position coming in 1987, when Nottingham Forest left back and Captain Stuart Pearce was given his England debut. However Kenny remained as the regular left-back during England’s 1988 European Championship qualifications. To this day, he remains as England’s second-most capped full back after Ashley Cole and only a handful of players have received more caps.

He finally won some silverware with Arsenal in 1987, captaining Arsenal to a League Cup final victory over Liverpool at Wembley; he was instrumental in the win as he set up Arsenal’s late winner, scored by Charlie Nicholas. The following season he fell out with manager George Graham and was replaced as captain by Tony Adams, who was just 21. He did, however, keep his place in the side even though Arsenal had just signed a long-term replacement in Nigel Winterburn, Nigel played at right-back in his first season rather than his accustomed left back.

He left Arsenal in December 1988; Arsenal had signed Lee Dixon and had reshuffled the side, with Dixon playing at right-back and Nigel Winterburn on the left. He continued to play for many years playing for Newcastle United, QPR, Coventry City, Everton, Brentford and Watford.

15. David O’Leary: 1973-1983

David played in a club record 722 games over a 20 year period.

He was born in Stoke Newington; London moved to live in Dublin at the age of three.

A Shelbourne schoolboy player O’Leary signed for Arsenal as an apprentice in 1973. He soon progressed through the ranks at Highbury, playing in the reserves at the age of 16. He made his debut for Arsenal against Burnley on in 1975, and despite being only 17, went on to make 30 appearances that season. For the next ten years he was ever-present in the Arsenal side, playing more than 40 matches a season (except for 1980–81, when he was injured and played in only 27).

article-0-0002B72F000001F4-475_306x452David was noted for his good positioning and elegant style of play. He won his first major honour with Arsenal in a win over Manchester United in the 1979 FA Cup Final. He also played in the 1978 and 1980 Cup finals, and the 1980 Cup Winners’ Cup final, all of which Arsenal lost. In 1982 he became club captain, but relinquished it to Graham Rix eighteen months later.

O’Leary broke numerous appearance records at Arsenal; he was the youngest person to reach the 100 and 200 match milestones, making his 400th appearance while still only 26. He passed George Armstrong’s all-time record of 621 first-team games in November 1989. By this time, O’Leary was no longer automatic first choice (with the partnership of Tony Adams and Steve Bould at the centre of George Graham’s defence), but he still turned in over 20 appearances as Arsenal won the 1988–89 First Division title thanks to a 2–0 win over Liverpool, at Anfield on the final day of the season.

He won another League title in 1991 and an FA Cup and League Cup double in 1993, though by this time he was mainly used as a sub. He holds Arsenal’s all-time record for appearances, with 722 first-team games, and over 1000 games at all levels in a twenty-year long association with the club.

He joined Leeds on a free transfer in 1993 after 19 years at Highbury. Throughout the1993–94 season he was a regular player in the Leeds side until he suffered an injury to his Achilles , which ruled him out for the whole of the following season. He gave in to his injury and announced his retirement from football at the age of 37.

The highlight of his 68-cap international career came in the 1990 World Cup. With Ireland in a penalty shootout with Romania, he stepped up to take the decisive final penalty to win the shootout 5–4. He only played 26 minutes in the tournament after replacing Steve Staunton in the Romania match.

When the former Arsenal manager George Graham was put in charge at Leeds United in September 1996, O’Leary was installed as his assistant. He remained as assistant for two years and he was made manager shortly after Graham moved to Tottenham. After several good seasons, including making the semi-final of the Champions League, the team went through a dramatic loss of form that ended with Leeds sacking him in 2002.

These are some of his thoughts (from Arsenal.com) after Arsenal won the FA Cup replay in 1993.

“We did a lap of honour with the trophy and before I got to the tunnel I thought to myself “‘this is the last time I’ll ever wear the Arsenal jersey again”. It was an amazing night, a brilliant way to end 20 years, but it was such a sad night for me as well.”

It was a night that stretched well into the early hours as the players let off steam after making history. And O’Leary went home with an extra companion when the celebrations finally died down.

“That night – I’ll always remember this – I took the FA Cup home. No one else seemed to be responsible for it so I took it with me.

“My wife drove us home and I remember sitting in the front with the FA Cup in my lap and somebody pulled up at the lights, seconds before it went green, and he looked over and then looked over again, thinking ‘is that David O’Leary with the FA Cup?!’ We pulled away and I still don’t know if that guy thought he was imagining things.

“I remember getting home that night and I thought, if my house gets robbed they are not going to take the FA Cup, so I took the cup up to my bedroom. My kids were young then and the following morning they came in and saw the FA Cup there on the side of the bed.

“That morning I took it to the club and gave it to Ken Friar. I said goodbye to Ken, I actually went to the steps of the old directors’ box at Highbury, had a look out there for the last time, and said to myself ‘hey, it’s been a fantastic 20 years, I’ve been so proud to play here, thanks for putting up with me’.

“Then I walked away, and that was that.”

(Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc.)

16. Steve Bould: 1988-1999

Steve played in 372 games over an 11 year period.

He was born in Stoke-on-Trent and signed for his hometown club Stoke City as a schoolboy in 1978, turning professional in 1980.

Steve-Bould-Arsenal-1992_1270336He spent seven seasons with the Potters and as he gained a reputation, as one of the best central defenders in the 2nd Division, it became inevitable that he would move to one of the big clubs. He was scouted by both Everton and Arsenal and after lengthy discussions Steve chose Arsenal and a tribunal set the price at £390,000 – a small fee compared to what Stoke was demanding. Signing in June 1988 he became a part of Arsenal’s formidable and famous back four with Tony Adams, Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon, his former Stoke team-mate, winning 9 major honours.

He won the First Division title in both 1988–89 and 1990–91 but he was ruled out of the FA Cup and League Cup finals that Arsenal won in 1992–93, due to injury. He was voted as player of the year, by the clubs fans for the 1992-93 season.

Steve was a member of the team that won the Cup Winners’ Cup 1993–94, and was also in the squad that won the double in 1997–98 – he famously set up Tony Adams with a chipped through ball, for the final goal in Arsenal’s 4–0 win over Everton, the match that won them the Premier League title. Two weeks later they won the FA Cup.

In his final season Arsenal reached the FA Cup semi-final, losing to Manchester United, and then a month later they also beat Arsenal to the Premier League title. Steve left the Gunners in 1999 and ended his playing career with Sunderland.

After retiring, he began working towards his UEFA coaching badges and in 2001 moved back to Arsenal and became a coach for the youth teams and was the head coach of Arsenal’s U18 Academy side, whom he led to winning the Premier Academy League 2008–2009, 2009–2010 and FA Youth Cup in 2008–2009.

He became assistant manager, to Arsene Wenger in May 2012, following the retirement of Pat Rice.

Written by GunnerN5 and complied by Gooner in Exile


Arsène Wenger manages the Dream Team

June 24, 2011

Written by Gooner in Exile

Arsenal.com are currently running an all time dream team vote. The problem with this it is often only the young who vote and recent memory can skew the result.

We have a wide church here with regard to ages so how about we all pick our all time eleven, manager, coach, physio and you can even throw in a few squad players.

One stipulation you must have seen them play or manage whilst you’ve been alive. On second thoughts this could put the younger members of the forum at a disadvantage so perhaps we can allow two wild cards for positions where you believe a player from before your time may have added some.

I’ll start us off:

Seaman

Lauren   Adams  O’Leary  Winterburn

Pires    Vieira  Talbot    Limpar

Bergkamp
Wright

Subs
Henry
Rocastle
Ljungberg
Merson
Campbell
Caesar

Coach : Don Howe
Physio : Gary Lewin

Manager : Arsène Wenger

That was tough and I’ve only been watching them for 29 years, good luck to our older supporters.

So just to say I know that’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but hey it’s my fantasy you all get to have yours too.

Admittedly some have been chosen for how they did things on the pitch, they may not all be the best in their positions but in the case of a few:

Wright……his pure enthusiasm for the game, affinity with the fans and love of scoring goals and also because of that goal against Big Nev, the whole of Highbury singing Ian Wright Wright Wright for a good ten minutes after he scored it.

Limpar…..I was there when he beat Hooper from the halfway line and it was probably the best goal I ever witnessed at Highbury.

Caesar…..you have to have an anti hero to have a hero, he was always good for a laugh (unfortunately for him we weren’t laughing with him).

So there is the challenge pick away. Don’t ask me to justify my selections I made them in five minutes and will probably change them every ten.


Thank you George Graham & David O’Leary. True Gooners.

January 8, 2011

Let’s start back in the late 60’s and early 70’s. The mere mention of Leeds was certain to cause fear in all but the hardest of Gooners. Leeds were as hard as their fans. Bremner, Giles, Charlton, Hunter etc  were without question the dirtiest side I have ever seen, but let there be no doubt, that side could play great football before they kicked two colours out of the opposition. However, Leeds reputation was even more fearful on the terraces. I recall walking down Avenell Rd sometime in the early ‘70s when the Leeds hooligans rushed through the street kicking children, punching women and beating up anyone foolish enough to wear red and white. It was terrifying and as a consequence I have always hated Leeds with a passion.

There is a need to say that the Leeds management did all they could to eradicate the hooligan element but no football fan was sorry to see Leeds slip down the leagues – it was karma.

We had a rivalry in those days. Leeds v Arsenal was a season highlight. Now, following the destruction of the club by infiltrated Gooners (thank you GG and David O’Leary for taking such sweet and delayed revenge), they are recovering from years of financial chaos and come to the Emirates for their first visit.

I should say now that I know nothing of the current Leeds team – we have no coverage of the Championship in Denmark. Sanchez Watt would appear to be injured which would be a great shame for the lad as AW gave him permission to play. Leeds had a fine run in last season’s FAC, beating Man Utd and drawing with the rabble down the road – they will come with high expectations and Arsenal can be sure of spirited opposition.

Arsenal are unlikely to play a full strength team and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Arsene make 9 changes from the Man City team.

My guess:

Bench: Fabianski  Ramsey Eastmond  Koscielny  Chamakh Clichy

The 3rd round of the FA Cup used to be such an exciting prospect but nowadays it is just an enjoyable interlude from the PL and CL. And yet …. Leeds at home does have a certain frisson to people of  “a certain age”

I hope we spank them …..

COYRRG


Captain Material – sorry, not Cesc any more….

June 9, 2010

I’m a great admirer of Arsène Wenger, but apart from his apparent myopia when it comes to assessing goalkeepers, it has been some of his choices for captain that have perplexed me the most. It’s as if he doesn’t really respect the status of captain. It should be the pinnacle of any player’s career to captain his club. To use the captaincy as a tool to boost a player’s confidence (Almunia) or to help persuade a want-away to stay at the club (TH14) devalues it’s standing.

We’ve had some magnificent captains over the years peaking (in my opinion) with Tony Adams followed by Patrick Vieira, but I’m sure some of our long-standing supporters will tell me I’m wrong.

Here is a list of our captains since the 1960’s, excluding stand-ins when the captain was unable to play.

Terry Neill N. Ireland Defender 1962 – 1967
Frank McLintock Scotland Defender 1967 – 1973
Allan Ball England Midfielder 1973 – 1975
Eddie Kelly Scotland Midfielder 1975 – 1976
Pat Rice N. Ireland Defender 1976 – 1980
John Hollins England Midfielder 1980 – 1981
David O’Leary Eire Defender 1981 – 1983
Graham Rix England Midfielder 1983 – 1986
Kenny Sanson England Defender 1986 – 1988
Tony Adams England Defender 1988 – 2002
Patrick Vieira France Midfielder 2002 – 2005
Thierry Henry France Striker 2005 – 2007
William Gallas France Defender 2007 – 2008
Cesc Fabregas Spain Midfielder 2008 – 2010

Adams and Vieira had it all. They possessed the qualities I expect from an Arsenal captain. They were inspirational leaders, father figures to the younger players, big buggers, onfield enforcers, not afraid to take a red card for the cause. They were world class players who led from the front. When they spoke, the players listened. When they stood opposite their opposing counterpart in the tunnel, you felt confident. They epitomised what a captain should be and unsurprisingly, they held trophies aloft at the end of the season.

Some would say that being British is important but I don’t agree, the majority of the squad are foreign – which British player could captain our side at the moment?

All this brings me to our last 3 captains; taking them in order:

Theirry Henry: Vieira was a tough act to follow. Henry was already the subject of transfer speculation. As a striker he wasn’t best placed for the captain’s role and his increasingly petulent displays towards the end of his time were not the conduct expected from a leader. His performances would often lift the team, but he was not ideal captain material. There weren’t that many other candidates for captain in the side, but I’d probably have given it to Gilberto up until his departure.

William Gallas: He didn’t last very long and we all know why – a quite appalling dereliction of duty. Did it even occur to him while he was sulking on the halfway line that if the ball had rebounded off the post from the penalty, that he should be hovering to make the clearance?  I’m not sure he ever commanded the respect of  all the players, but he would have lost it after that Birmingham game. He should have been stripped of the captaincy immediately, not at the end of the season.

Cesc Fabregas: As with TH14, I believe Arsène used the captaincy to help keep him at Arsenal – and if it gave us a year or two more it would have been worth it. He is a born leader – more by example, but what an example? The burning passion with which he despatched that penalty against Barca was awe inspiring; the way he ran through the entire totnum defence from the halfway line to score, was magnificent;  coming off the bench against Villa with a 25 minute 2 goal cameo to win us the game showed how he could pick up the team by the scruff of the neck and almost singlehandedly turn things around.

Should Cesc remain captain if he stays? In my opinion no. Although I would expect him to give his all for the Arsenal for as long as he wears the shirt, I don’t see how he can command the full respect of the other players when they know his heart is elsewhere. Who would be a worthy recipient? I would give the armband to Vermaelen or van Persie.

If you wish to give your opinion please place your vote in the poll below.

Footnote: all the best to Swiss Phil, had things been different, he could have been a great player for us. Maybe the way his confidence was destroyed by Drogbreath is a lesson on how fragile a young player can be when put into the spotlight too early.