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January Player of the Month

This month has probably presented me with the toughest choice for a player of the month all season. December was a humdinger as nobody stood out in particular, but this month sees a choice that I have agonised over for the last week. As usual, Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna were very much in the running, the pair just seem incapable of playing badly. If you look up 'consistency' in the dictionary, there will be a picture of Clichy and Sagna teasing speed cameras around Archway. Probably. Willy Gallas has once again looked his assured, consistent self, leading the team with a calm assurance. His captaincy skills were really put to the test following the defeat to the Spuds (getcha DVD and commemorative mug), and this week he has passed with flying colours. Eduardo has really risen to prominence, whilst Hleb and Fabregas seem to have shaken off spells of indifferent Christmas form following injury.

But really this month's player of the month was a straight race between two. Emmanuel Adebayor has hit nine goals in his last seven games, the goals at White Hart Lane and against West Ham really stand out amongst his literati of headers. Aside from his goalscoring antics, he has become so intrinsic to the way we play. Given that he has yet to snafoo one of my prestigious monthly awards, I was sorely tempted to hand our top scorer January's player of the month. However, the form of Mathieu Flamini this month has been utterly irresistable, a close contender for man of the match in every game he has played this month, he has also become rigidly entrenched within our style of play for slightly different reasons to Adebayor. Even given Flamini's extraordinary effort and assist last night, this was not the deciding factor in awarding him a second player of the month this season. I toiled with it, unable to sleep I deconstructed their every performance this month, muttering to myself in the dark about their various merits, eyes wracked red with fatigue, fingernails now crude stubs of enammel. But the over riding reason the Flamster nicks it ahead of Adebayor, Matty didn't headbutt one of his own team mates in January!

Adebayor's act of lunacy has been forgiven after two match winning displays against the Barcodes, but it still prevents him picking up this prestigious prize. I bet he's gutted. Seldom have I witnessed a transformation in a player as complete as that of Flamini. At the beginning of the campaign, he looked to have channeled his energy correctly and displayed all the attributes of the consummate defensive midfielder. Running tirelessly to retrieve the ball, before redistributing to Rosicky, Hleb or Fabregas and allowing them free reign to dazzle all with their cultured play. In the ensuing months, Flamini has dismissed any doubts that his form this campaign has been a glitch on his otherwise pretty ordinary Arsenal career. With Gilberto Silva looking to have inversely correlated Flamini's fortunes by producing performances the diametric opposite of his pomp last season and Diarra proving that his large head accomodates a lot of empty space, Flamini has made a place in the team his own.

Even a short absence from the team through injury, in which I strongly thought Diarra and Gilberto would really stake a claim for his place (in fairness Diarra was excellent when he played, but could not dislodge the Flanimal, further testament to Matty's form) Flamini could not be moved. His performances against Birmingham, Fulham and in both Newcastle matches were nothing short of inspired. Diarra was already convinced he could not impeach Mattuso and toddled off to the South Coast in January. (Ironically, so that he can further his international career. In the current French squad, he vies for a spot with, you guessed it, Flamini). But Flam has far from taken a quiet, unassuming role in the Arsenal side. As his confidence has grown, he can oft be seen barking out instructions to his team mates, cajoling his colleagues with regard to their positioning. He has seemingly added a creative string to his bow, no longer content with shuffling the ball off to Cesc before toddling back off into the background, he has taken to being the springboard for attack. He capped another fine month off with a sterling assist from Adebayor and a stunning strike from thirty yards which would have left Given with a sense of deja vu, having conceded a similar goal to Elano at Citeh in December. If ever a game chrystalized the emergence of a player, last night epitomised the delightful metamorphosis of Mathieu Flamini. If Gilberto is the invisible wall, then Matty Flamini is the proverbial ton of bricks making his mark on the opposition. Now, for goodness sake, somebody get the man a pen.LD.

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The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday January 30 2008

Time: 1:23PM

Your Comments

nothing wrong with your argument, but for me, it's Adebayor this month. I can't wait for Clichy to score a goal or two, it will push him to the top of the pile, and deservedly so.
Hehe..excellent stuff! We are probably lucky to be spoilt for choice with Player of the month candidates. Adebayor would have been the most obvious, and it takes a brave man to deny him in the way you did, but I fully support your reasoning and conclusion. Mathieu really has been something to wonder about. He always had a great general demeanour but nothing to suggest the 'Flanimal' of this season. There can only be 2 reasons for the change: the whole squad's spirit post-Henry, which lifted and unshackled people; the second must have been mental... the guy flew close to the edge, and said he wanted to leave... and he nearly did... but on being thrown back into the squad he must have taken a nothing-to-lose attitude and that liberated his game and opened up another dimension for him... can't give the guy enough credit for being so ballsy... congrats Mathieu!
Adebayor, definitely. He has been consistent as ever, in january
Diarra and Theo for player of the month for me...definitely
close call LD mate, Ade and Flamster are both doing well at the moment, the goals 7 in 7 for Ade and Flamini is doing that job in Midfield that goes unnoticed until you let rip fro 30 yds out !
9k at OT with late KO = superb.
It has to be Adebayor for his pop at Bentner - you do rememebr that game don't you? 5-1, that's FIVE - ONE.....!
oh yeah we remember dude...the 5-1 at the end of a 9yr run..after 21 games. How could we forget?
number14 you'll always have your memories, like a quiet night at the library - bless! -, now that IS worth remembering
I like your POLL "Which Trophy Would You Most Like To Win?" The chance of any trophy would be a great thing but seriously do you think there will be a trophy for Arseanl this year?
I think youll find its the other way round michael. memories of one win in 9 years, and it will be another 9 years before you win again, so enjoy the memory of beating our b team nob. On a better note, spuds record against the top 4 (us excluded) means they are likely to win feck all again, and will probably finish in the bottom half of the pile, so think before opening your mouth and spewing forth the usual spuddy ****e nobbo! As for Arsenals player of the month, its nice to be spoilt for choice. Diarra for feckin off and taking his negative self away maybe?! IMO, it does come down to a close call between Ade and FLam, and i have to agree with LD. FLam adding a new element to his game pips it. That strike was wonderful. Hopefully we see a few more.
Cat got your tongue michael or have you seen some sense? Maybe you are too busy watching the commemorative DVD and trying to soak as much pleasure out of one win as is humanly possible. Sad.
great goal but it must be boring now why dont you and other 3 jump ship and form a european league
This is the sort of stuff you want to come home from work to read. Great stuuf as usual Tim. In almost any other month, Clichy would have been mighty close to winning it for me. However, for all his excellent displays this month, he's a million miles away from winning it. As for Flam signing a new deal, I'll slit my wrists and let him sign in my blood if it does the trick! If he goes, we'll be short in centre midfield - and that's something I didn't think I'd be saying back in August!
Very close call, but struggling forever, I'm with LD on Arsenal's Gattuso, the Flamster, the Flanimal, Mattuso, Matty Flam the 'hyperactive' man (in Cesc's words). Every bit deserved! But Ade, who's shut up even some Arsenal fans who had been saying he's not good enough, also deserves a highly honorary mention. For me it's like 9.1 for the Flamster, 9 for Ade. Mattuso just about nicked it! But both, together with Clichy and Cesc and Gallas and Almunia and Hleb, should get some "Best Improved Year on Year" Award or something. Can you name one player who doesn't deserve to be in the team right now, I honestly can't.
Lou the Gunneress
It takes a brave man to say anyone but Adebayor this month but fair enough. Still, I dont see where you get this idea that Diarra was so good for us when he played. He was good in the mickey mouse cup but wasa absoloute *****e at Newcastle and Boro. He made Senderos's passing look good in those games.
Ozi Gooner
I thought Flamini's goal 'gainst Newcastle was almost a replay of Denilson's goal against him in the FA Cup. Didn't know Elano scored an almost perfect copy.
We've played 24 games and Adebayor is STILL in contention for the Golden Boot. I'm loving Flamini to death like all of you, but with 9 goals in 7 games, I'd go for Ade.
Clichy has been so tremendously consistent this season, every month and its strange that he's not been player of the month even once. Other players put in some brilliant performances some months like Ade, Flamini & Cesc, but the only player in the squad not to suffer a dip in form or fitness issues so far this season is Clichy.
Flamini did have a great month but i think that Ade deserved it more, even with his outburst.
i ve 2 say that i was a big flamini doubter,but whoever watches him this season would ve 2 say that he is one of the best DM of the world,big applaud 2 the guy
Adebayor probably deserves it for this recent goalscoring run but Flamini deserves some praise as well so fair enough if he's got the Player of the Month award.

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