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February Player of the Month

February Player of the Month

One feels that after a week of arguing until we are blue in the face, that it is time to move on. Due to work commitments I haven`t really had the chance to pen my full reaction to the Ramsey reaction, as it were, but have just about had my fill of fighting ignorance with regards to that incident. England is a country that is terminally in the Dark Ages- after all, it is more than likely that this summer the voting public will show their dissatisfaction with the Labour party by voting in the party they`ve been copying for sixteen years. But I am also satisfied that others on this site have covered points I intended to cover with eloquence and great detail. Though a retrospective article cannot necessarily be classed as moving forwards, a break in subject matter is welcome. Which brings me onto February`s Player of the Month.

February has been a rather erratic month, the defeat to Chelsea at the outset of the month saw Arsenal manoeuvred out of the title race. The victory over Stoke at the end of the month dragged us back into it kicking (or kicked?) and screaming. Morale boosting victories over Liverpool, Sunderland and Stoke have been offset by a draining defeat at Stamford Bridge and a farcical match in Portugal. As is the modus operandi at Arsenal nowadays, injuries have disrupted team selection to the point that it is difficult to find contenders who have completed enough minutes for consideration. The likes of Abou Diaby and William Gallas started the month with towering displays but had their rhythm enervated by injury. Cesc Fabregas` captain`s performance in the aftermath of Ramsey`s injury very nearly won him the award for this month. Indeed Ramsey himself has been impressive enough to dislodge Denilson for a slot in Arsenal`s midfield three, whilst Emmanuel Eboue too continues to build on his reputation, from terrace villain to ironic cult figure to genuine fan favourite. It can be done Mr. Adebayor. My player of the month for this month however is probably long overdue this award for his spellbinding performances. He gets it this month largely for being as reliable as he is has been all season, but the circumstances I feel are particularly worthy of commendation this month.

Thomas Vermaelen is flesh and bone proof that if the manager sees quality; he`s prepared to pay for it. The partnership he has struck up with William Gallas might just be the most crucial improvement for Arsenal compared to last season- surely the season`s most misleading statistic, it would have to be Arsenal`s goals conceded column as a reflection on our centre half pairing, who have been universally lauded as outstanding. In fact, I`m not sure I can ever remember a time when a centre half pairing have been considered the most blameless party in such a scenario! Vermaelen has presided over clean sheets against Liverpool and Sunderland without so much as a fuss and continued his scoring feats in injury time against Stoke City. Vermaelen has been the picture of solidity at centre half as he has been since August.

I think what marks Vermaelen out for particular praise this month comprise of two main factors. Firstly, for the first time this season, he has been asked to play without Gallas, who is the organiser and the brains at the back. Until now, we have been unable to view Vermaelen`s qualities without his insurance policy, his water wings if you will in Gallas, who is surely one of Europe`s finest and most attuned centre halves. Though you could argue that in having Campbell alongside him, that experience and organisation is replicated, yet Campbell`s mobility is not what Gallas` is and Vermaelen has had to retune to a different partner. He has done so without blemish. Against Sunderland Vermaelen was partnered by Silvestre, which meant moving to the right hand side of the centre half axis, a movement he again made without undue kafuffle. But perhaps Tommy V`s biggest obstacle has been the pain in which he has played. Against Aston Villa on January 27th, he was substituted with a suspected broken leg. Four days later he was back in the starting line up with a badly bruised bone in his leg. That would also have affected his own mobility, which has made the ease with which he has slotted in alongside a less agile partner all the more impressive. The Verminator image has been consolidated. You`d be hard pushed to find an Arsenal fan with a bad word to say about Vermaelen, but it is perhaps fitting that it was he who used the word "mettle" when describing the victory over Stoke, he has had to show plenty of it himself in February. He has not been found wanting.LD.

Previous winners
August: Alexandre Song
September: Robin van Persie
October: Robin van Persie
November: Cesc Fabregas
December: William Gallas
January: Cesc Fabregas

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Thursday March 4 2010
Time: 6:01PM


u guys know of any news on van persie???? im a spurs fan and even i miss the guy
04/03/2010 20:24:00
Good call LD. I think Cesc ran him close last month, but the Verm has been solid all season, and the whole team had to adjust to a new formation, so there was bound to be a few more goals conceded initially. Some of the defensive short comings have arisen more to due the lack of tracking back from the mid fielders, although I would prefer it if the Verm didnt attack when we were 1-0 up (he's done that a couple of times, which makes me really anxious). He and Gallas have struck up a really good understanding, and he looks comfortable with Sol also.
04/03/2010 20:59:00
Great choice, love the guy... hope Sol is fit for saturday
04/03/2010 22:07:00
I think Cesc has been underpar personally, I'd give it to Vermaelen or Eboue, good choice, great signing
Ozi Gooner
04/03/2010 22:58:00
Never ceases to amaze me how Arsene just finds these guys no one's ever heard of and they come to play in a top class league from a totally different, lesser league--and in very little time just slot right in as if they've always played in one of the sport's top leagues in one of the world's biggest clubs. On top of that, the Verminator talks and thinks and acts like a true gunner, as if he's been part of the club since birth. Great choice.
05/03/2010 15:21:00
up gunners guys were still d best
05/03/2010 15:45:00
Ozi Gooner'd give it to Eboue? For one average and very over-rated game? ...Wow. Vermaelen is a great footballer and he has been the second best player of the season so far. Cesc has just been spectaculer. I have to agree with Ozi Gonner then for a couple of games (liverpool, porto, sunderland) Cesc was underpar, but on the whole his season has been ******** outstanding. If you combine assists and goals this season he is above Drogba and Rooney for being responsible for goals. But Verm is solid as all hell and has the raw passion for the win that drives every world class player.
05/03/2010 15:49:00
I think that's being harsh on Eboue, he was our most dangerous player when he came on at Stamford Bridge (damning him with feint praise but there you go), was very good against Liverpool, excellent against Sunderland and had a solid game at Stoke.
Little Dutch
05/03/2010 15:52:00
Great choice and possibly even a bit overdue, as he ran close on a few occasions. Sorry to repeat - Signing of the Season.
05/03/2010 16:45:00
Cannot agree more with this choice; plus, he scored, crucially, to seal the win at Stoke and is the top scoring defender in the League, so far, this season. What a signing!
05/03/2010 22:01:00
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