Date:Monday November 26 2007
Martin Keown. He was never the most attractive of chaps. If there was a team of Martin Keowns on display at Arsenal, guaranteed we'd be the hardest team in the world to beat. Also guaranteed there wouldn't be many women watching the Gooners for the 'Freddie' factor.
But he was one of the most committed and uncompromising players Arsenal have had in recent memory - no Gooner who ever saw it will ever forget that famous rabid leap and 'clonk' he gave Ruud Van Horsey after the dutchman (who was an excellent player with a great eye for goal, yet a foul cynical and nasty bastard with a history of nasty incidents carried out against Arsenal players), missed a penalty in a fiery encounter away at the Mancs. Keown was also a very eloquent and articulate chap, which you wouldn't immediately credit him with, to see him for a first time. But he is, he speaks very well, and obviously knows a lot about the game.
And as such, it stands to reason that he'll be a fair judge of a player.
Today, he's been eulogising one of our own, a fellow Gooner, and a player held dear and true by all Arsenal fans. The one, the only, incomparable, Cesc Fabregas. TEAMtalk report the former Arsenal defender saying
Cesc is the orchestrator of everything. He's developed into an outstanding player and looks like a natural winner.
The goals he has been scoring this season are the icing on the cake.
He was fairly prolific as a kid and it was mystery last season why he struggled to find the back of the net.
I was told that he needed to calm down in front of goal and he has managed that. He now looks very calm when he has a chance.
Cesc, of course, also has a bit of a fiery nature to his game too - the away game at Everton a couple of years ago around Christmas time, where a fairly inept performance from the Gunners, save only for a good performance from young fullback Kerrea Gilbert (shame he seems to have slipped away from the great promise he showed), and the fire shown by Cesc (angered at the way the game was slipping away from us), which resulted in him gaining an early bath from the official that day, saw us go down to defeat to a dour, if strong-arm, Toffees team - belied the appearance of this little guy in the middle of the park, who looked like he could be felled by a strong gust of wind. But the young catalan is made of stern stuff. Keown goes on...
Cesc never allowed himself to get bullied, but sometimes he was a bit naive in the way he played.
But that's gone now and he's a fighter - he wants to play football and put his foot in.
He's got everything he needs and now of course he's scoring goals as well.
He's Arsenal's driving force and looks so hungry and passionate. Coupled with that he plays a great technical game.
So I think we can gather he is an admirer of the young chap who binds our team together. He also doesn't go along with the current train of thought that opposing players and pundits alike seem to comfort themselves with - namely that it's too early for Arsenal to be counted as a team capable of mounting serious challenges for trophies on multiple fronts.
I don't think this season is too soon for them to win trophies. You take if it's there. They'll just keep going for it.
They play with such freedom and it's really refreshing to watch. It doesn't matter if they make the odd change here and there - it doesn't seem to affect them.
The squad is so strong it would be a good game between the so-called reserves against the first team.
It's all going in the right direction. Maybe the African Nations Cup might affect them a little bit, but that will affect a lot of teams.
And not content with pissing on Steven Gerrard's parade in terms of us running out of steam, Martin then carried on in a similar vein, banging his drum and marching forth into no-mans land, holding an Arsenal flag aloft, proudly stating
Recent criticism that Arsenal could be pushed around is a thing of the past. The game now has changed somewhat.
To play at such break-neck speed makes it difficult for players to get away with the bullying approach.
Arsenal won't be denied at the moment and I don't see any reason why they can't keep up the form they've shown so far.
I can just hear the sound of Chris Morgan throwing a strop now. We have shown so far this season that if you kick us, we'll kick you right back, and it's a joy to see. From Bacary Sagna, through Matty Flamini, to Cesc himself, the Arsenal are giving as good as they get. Favourite for me so far was Sagna clumping Tom Twentystone after his shoving spat against Manuel Almunia in the NLD at The Lane. Nice.
I bet Martin love that one.
Here's to a great performance from the Arsenal tomorrow night against Sevilla. Come on you reds!
Date:Monday November 26 2007
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