UK time is: 00:07:37
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

April Player of the Month

April has not been a kind month to Arsenal, whilst March brought a geyser of hope in an oasis of title glory since 2004 with some gutsy displays; April has seen our season unravel like a ball of yarn. Despite the numerous showings of courage in adversity from Arsenal this season, they are going to have to again stand court with the accusation that when it comes to the crunch, they have a limp wristed punch. April yielded a solitary victory, with Nicklas Bendtner`s injury time winner at home to Wolves in the first game of the month. Since then, the resounding defeat to Barcelona, the wounding reverse at White Hart Lane and the unfathomable capitulation at Wigan- probably the most infuriating defeat in Arsene`s reign, followed by a drab, end of season 0-0 with City have removed the wind from the sails of the good ship optimism. Already supporters` minds are turning to the summer transfer window as people carve fantasy wish lists onto their arms via the new You Tube sensation from the Mexican Premier League. (Because of course those that draw up these fantasy lists are avid viewers of obscure overseas leagues).

But what of the current squad? Whilst the team performed far from admirably in April (Wenger`s post match quote on Saturday was telling, "When you lose two games back to back in April, you don`t win the title.") which individuals excelled? Indeed, a more pertinent question when discussing the current team is who stayed fit for long enough to impress? April`s player of the month award is a strictly two horse affair and there is little more than a rizla paper between the two main contenders, both at differing spectrums in their careers. On the one hand, Nicklas Bendtner has been Arsenal`s great light of 2010, his last twelve appearances have returned nine goals and five assists. He has shown adeptness as a penalty box striker, following in rebounds and contesting crosses with a vigour unseen in N5 since Ian Wright`s departure. But his assists also show his awareness and intelligence have improved. Whilst in the red corner we have the born again Sol Campbell, shedding his autumn leaves and making one last tilt towards sunlight before he is consigned to the chipper of the Match of the Day sofa or Talkshite radio to mumble mealy mouthed platitudes to a zombiefied audience.

It`s a flip of a coin style contest, both players deserving the accolade, neither deserving to miss out. I suppose the fact that Bendtner amassed the less important arsenal.com official player of the month for March might just tip the scales in favour of Sol Campbell for Vital Arsenal`s April award. (Who needs a Mercury Music Prize when you can have an Ivor Novello, eh Sol? The surprise signing of Campbell in January has proved to be something of an eccentric master stroke, a bit like when Jarvis Cocker invaded the stage for Michael Jackson`s 1995 Brit Awards performance and waggled his bum at the audience. I think Campbell has demonstratably brought a closeness to the squad. For the first time in a good few years, Campbell`s head seems clear when he speaks. He knows he is not going to play every week, he knows his limbs probably aren`t able. But he also knows that he has other qualities to bring to the squad and he has been intelligent and altruistic enough to bring them with vigour and gusto. Even in his prime, Campbell was a warrior and a winner, now he has the experience to ally to that desire and he has relished a sort of advisory role to Arsenal`s young squad.

Whenever Arsenal score, have a look to see who is first on the scene to celebrate. (His goal celebration for Bendtner`s injury time winner against Wolves an absolute classic). In the pre match high fives in the centre circle, look whose fists pump the hardest and whose face is contorted with desire. There are times when administering the pre match high fives when you feel a little sorry for the recipient, so imposing is Sol`s frame. Campbell has been forced into action more times than he or Wenger will have bargained for back in January, but injuries are par of the course at Arsenal and Campbell has become a regular name on the team sheet. But not only has he been asked to play, his responsibilities have been even greater. He has been asked to augment the loss of Gallas, one of the team`s great leaders and winners. Arsenal have also lost Fabregas, Vermaelen and Arshavin, so even more has been asked of him as a leader. It is a test he has responded to faultlessly. Questions have been abound surrounding Campbell`s mobility, but those questions have been raised due to his age, witness Campbell out sprinting Gareth Bale in the 92nd minute at White Hart Lane. Carlos Tevez, a nippy player himself, did not find a way around Campbell once on Saturday. (Though it could be countered that you`d need a taxi to get around Sol Campbell).

Campbell`s performance at White Hart Lane was one the best individual displays by an Arsenal player this season. From the first minute once could see the motivation permeate him. In the warm up, he jogged from touchline to touchline, fearlessly fronting the hatred at close quarters. Arsenal won a free kick inside thirty seconds, Campbell stepped up, even though he had no intention of taking it, he wanted to hear the first flurry of disapproval to kick him on. Throughout the game he was a picture of heart, guts and fight, refusing to surrender the ball, fighting tooth and nail with any Tottenham player with the temerity to try and take possession within his personal space. He nearly came away from White Hart Lane with a goal too but for Huerelho Gomes` heroics. Sol was Arsenal`s least deserving loser on the night, his manager tellingly transmitting a message to his younger players by way of implication in his fulsome post match praise, "He was ready to die on the pitch to win tonight and that`s what you want from your squad. He has shown that again by example and he is a big influence, on the pitch and in the dressing room as well."

In the next match at Wigan Campbell was given the ceremonial arm band but the truth is, he had been captaining the team prior to having the cloth fastened to his arm. His performances have bought universal praise; with most of us in agreement that he has earned another year with Arsenal as a back up centre half. I would also contend that England could do a lot worse than take him to South Africa, if Ferdinand or Terry are suspended or injured for a World Cup Quarter Final, you could bank on Sol to put in a performance. With Beckham out of contention, the role of "been there, done that elder statesman" is a tantalising niche for Capello. That`s a long way from the confused individual that walked out on Notts County in September. This is Sol`s swan song and he`s playing like a man who knows it. It`s been a pleasure to see the best years of his career in an Arsenal shirt, I just don`t think any of us expected those years to stretch out as far as 2010.LD.

Previous winners.
August: Alexandre Song
September: Robin van Persie
October: Robin van Persie
November: Cesc Fabregas
December: William Gallas
January: Cesc Fabregas
February: Thomas Vermaelen
March: Gael Clichy




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!



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

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 26 2010

Time: 9:39AM

Your Comments

Is this the same Sol who was overlooked in favour of Silvestre against Barcelona?
refereesfavourbig4
Probably a bit much to ask a 36 year old to play a third game in a week against Messi and Pedro. That's the sort of pragmatism Sol has accepted and he has played the role he has been bought for and an awful lot more since he came.
Little Dutch
Deserved winner. I would definitely take 1 of Sol or King to South Africa when you look at the other contenders after Ferdinand and Captain amorous the options are limited. An unfit Lescott? an out of his depth Upson? Dawson? do me a favour.
iceman10
It's true, I think where England are concerned they should take one of King or Campbell. Neither is capable of playing every game, but both are good enough and wily enough to perform at that level if called upon. If England were in a quarter final against Spain, would you want King or Upson trying to shackle Villa and Torres?
Little Dutch
My other wondering at this stage would be, had Campbell have been pitted against Didier Drogba, would we have been raped quite so badly by Chelsea on both the occasions we played them?
Little Dutch
I think Drogba can do that to most teams when he is in the mood. I do think the Vermaelen Gallas partnership was found out against the bigger teams, it would have been interesting to have seen a Gallas Campbell partnership at some stage of the season. Vermaelen has had a great debut season though and deserved his place in the PFA team of the year award, hope he kicks on from here.
iceman10
Fair play to Sol, a worthy winner in my book. Held us together at WHL, was overworked and under protected at Wigan, and was calm and assured against Citeh. Well done Sol and thank you.
Cockney Rich
Absolute legend!
gronedrone
Iscariot!
Glenns Return
An absolute fighter and a deserving winner. Can't forget that he also had the first snipe at the Spuds goal, at WHL, but for Asuekoto's goal line block. A masterstroke of a signing, given our injury problems.
Naijagunner
None deserved it more.
Sajit
He was only expected to play a couple of games, but more than coped with the extra work load. He's still got a turn of pace, his reading of the game is second to none, he's big and powerful, had been in some meaty challenges. 8 years on and he's every bit as good as the first time we "bought" him. Sign him up & take him to the world cup.
Rocky7
What I find incredible is how long it's taken AW to realize the value of age and experience in his ridiculously unbalanced squad.
jaelle
yuck
Tony Rocky Horror
Excellent signing from Wenger, and some excellent performances from Sol all through, and not just this month. A deserving winner.
prits
Yes Jaelle. Imagine if we still would have had Gilberto and maybe some of the others from that team still sprinkling the squad.
Gooner_Vin
Couldn't agree more Jaelle.
hughied
Jaelle, nail on head. nuff said.
supersof
Like jaelle said, hopefully, it will convince Wenger of the value of experience to this squad. However, given the Gallas situation, I dont think he's learning that all too quickly.
prits
For me it is all about ABILITY. If it was just down to experience, then Silvestre would play week in, week out. Sol still has the ability which is why he is selected, his experience is a big help to the others, as well as himself.
Cockney Rich
Has really been immense in the last few games, even if the rest of the team let him down. Was a true lionheart at WHL despite the crap he was getting from the Lilywhites. I hope he sticks around for another season and if he decides to stay in football after he calls it a day, I hope Arsenal offer him some sort of coaching role. Well done Sol!!
True-Gooner-Blood
nikolaijns
Clap clap clap!
GoonerLou
Cheers for that nikolaijns! Brilliant! Sol showed what a True Legend he is, Hats Off to the Guy! He totally should be Player of the Month for April.
hackneyval
 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Arsenal Articles

Arsenal Games Switched For TV (Friday December 19 2014)

Bellerin To Play With More Freedom Now (Friday December 19 2014)

Wenger - Monaco Completes The Circle (Friday December 19 2014)

Liverpool v Arsenal Match Preview (Friday December 19 2014)

The Ox: Don't Blame Wenger, Blame Us (Thursday December 18 2014)

Ozil Slightly Ahead Of Schedule (Thursday December 18 2014)

Archived Arsenal Articles

List All Vital Arsenal Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. Amos. 64
2. Naijagunner 47
3. paul_ownz 25
4. Galway Gooner 22
5. Little Dutch 12
6. shewore 12
7. luckys_10 11
8. Nwankwo25 11
9. alwaysgunner 10
10. Wyn Mills 10

League Results (view all)

Latest Results
Arsenal 4 - 1 Newcastle
Stoke 3 - 2 Arsenal
Arsenal 1 - 0 Southampton
WBA 0 - 1 Arsenal
Arsenal 1 - 2 Man Utd
Swansea 2 - 1 Arsenal

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
3. Man Utd 16 9 4 3 12 31
4. West Ham 16 8 4 4 8 28
5. Southampton 16 8 2 6 12 26
6. Arsenal 16 7 5 4 9 26
7. Spurs 16 7 3 6 -2 24
8. Newcastle 16 6 5 5 -4 23
9. Swansea 16 6 4 6 2 22

Breaking League News

Team News: City v Crystal Palace
Man City : 19/12/2014 19:57:00
Pellegrini Confident Milner Will Stay
Man City : 19/12/2014 19:54:00
Team News: Hull v Swansea
Hull City : 19/12/2014 19:37:00
Dawson Out For Five-Weeks
Hull City : 19/12/2014 19:36:00
More Than Arfa Chance Hatem Will Leave
Hull City : 19/12/2014 19:35:00

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Wenger's sure Henry will return - in what role?
Suggested By:  Site Staff
Coach 67%
Manager 33%
Director 0%
Like Wenger, not sure but know he will return.... 0%