Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday November 3 2008
Perhaps not the best time to be celebrating player achievements. Especially this particular player! But nevertheless, one cannot be overly fickle and must perform ones duties. It is the mark of a frustrating season thus far that, for the third consecutive month, I find it difficult to find a player worthy of the player of the month award. Almunia would have been an outstanding candidate but for a nightmare of a performance against Tottenham Hotspur. Several others have struggled for consistency, whilst the likes of Sagna and Nasri have endured spells on the sidelines. The usually impeccable Gael Clichy suffered his worst performance in an Arsenal shirt out in Turkey, whilst his mistake against Spurs arguably cost us the game.
Therefore, I have decided to plump for Robin van Persie as October Player of the Month. I had an awful lot of criticism for the man in the month of September, lambasting his individual approach and to all intents and purposes, I`ve a feeling the manager might have had similar words for him. He has become notably more altruistic in his play, as evidenced by the burgeoning of his assists record in October. (Though he hardly corrected my doubts surrounding his temperament on Saturday!) His altruism was instantly tested when he was asked to play on the left wing in the month`s opening encounter at Sunderland; by and large he did so professionally. Though one had the feeling he would have been better deployed upfront that day. He should have scored the opening goal too, when Walcott smuggled his way to the by line and pulled the ball back to the onrushing van Persie to smash home. Unfortunately, an over officious linesman incorrectly ruled the goal out. He was then, somewhat predictably, injured on international duty. Most Gooners feared the worst but he returned unscathed for the home match against Everton. It was just as well for us that he did, another fine display was capped with the goal that put us 2-1 ahead. When Fabregas` shot was parried by Howard, Robin was on hand with a stooping header in the thick of the six yard box melee.
Van Persie did not actually play any part in the match in Turkey against Fenerbahce (Like I said, it was difficult to think of another outstanding candidate). But he was back for the trip to West Ham, where he provided our most persistent threat. Firstly, with a delightful chest trap in the first half to present Walcott with a glaring opportunity. In the second period, he moved out to the right where he continued to wreak havoc, firstly with a deflected effort from outside the box which Green was lucky to save. Latterly with a thunderous free kick that thumped the post. His trickery and awareness on the edge of the Irons` box was instrumental in allowing Adebayor to bring about Arsenal`s breakthrough goal. His performance against Spurs that Wednesday was close to virtuoso. Devilish set pieces were benefited from by Silvestre and Gallas respectively. Then a sumptuous through ball for Nasri helped Adebayor to score, before he rounded off his performance with a thunderous right foot strike of his own to make it 4-2. Luckily for him, he was off the pitch when the two goal aberration happened in the final minutes. So there you have it, van Persie is my player of the month for October, more by default than anything. Let`s hope that November sees a couple of really deserving contenders.LD.
Date:Monday November 3 2008
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