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January Player of the Month

January Player of the Month

January Player of the Month is probably the most difficult award I can ever recall assigning. It has been a very pleasing month indeed for Arsenal, even games in which we have underperformed against lower league opposition has seen us, eventually, negotiate victories. The draw with Manchester "pimp my bus" City was the only slight blemish on an otherwise untroubled collection of league points, leaving us right in the mix for the title race. As such, there have been a plethora of pleasing performers. One of the notable things that has taken shape with Arsenal over the last six weeks or so would be that partnerships are beginning to form all over the pitch. The triumvirate of Song-Wilshere-Fabregas appears to be the perfect interchanging blend in midfield. All three players possess all of the qualities desirable in a modern day midfielder, rather than each prescribing to little boxes marked "defensive midfield, attacking midfield" etc. Arsenal have conceded only four goals in their nine game January marathon (interestingly, all of which were conceded to lower league sides). One can attribute this to a number of factors, but the blossoming understanding between Koscielny and Djourou has to be a considerable contributory factor. Maybe it`s no coincidence that Clichy and Sagna have really come into some eye catching form around this axis of stability too?

The Gunners also appear to have found the formula going forward too- the front three of Nasri, Walcott and van Persie has become a unit of chemical precision, another ideal blend of variable qualities. Arsenal haven`t looked nearly as imposing going forwards without that axis. But in the nine games this month, Arsenal have registered on the score sheet seventeen times. Robin van Persie has taken a while to find his sharpness, but now he has, Premiership defences are noticing it alright! His decision making in the penalty area is beyond reproach- even if he does seem to be continuing his love affair with the woodwork. For January, I think Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Samir Nasri, Robin van Persie, Alex Song, Gael Clichy (has won more tackles than any other Premiership player this season) and Jack Wilshere would all have made good cases for Player of the Month in more fallow periods. Indeed, if any of you were to make cases for any of those players in the comments section below, you`d find little resistance from me.

But I simply cannot over look the skipper for January Player of the Month. I`ve spoken a lot about the chemistry of the side and for the first time in a few years, I think the manager can reel of his favoured eleven. But Fabregas is the man that knits it altogether. I know it`s not the most interesting choice and, in essence, I`ve given myself a harder task with this article because it`s difficult to know what to say about Cesc that hasn`t been said a million times before. I`ve picked him far more than any other player and I don`t know how to keep any analysis of his game fresh or varied. We know what his qualities are. But what continues to amaze is how ruthlessly consistent he is, for all the talent one can possess, that is the quality that marks out those that hit the zenith of their sport. Fabregas is in the Jordan-Schumacher mould, you simply know what you`re going to get from him every single match without fail. I would go as far to say as he is now the best player I have ever seen in an Arsenal shirt. True, you may think this is to forget the genius of Pires, Henry and Bergkamp. But Fabregas plays in central midfield, where there is no hiding place, yet he dominates around 90% of the games he plays in for every single minute of the 90. Henry or DB10 would have been allowed 15-20 minute cooling off periods of not doing much at all, before releasing a burst of genius. Cesc doesn`t have this luxury; he is at the hub of the game constantly. His makes his consistency all the more remarkable.

Fabregas has formed so many devastating partnerships in an Arsenal shirt- all of which I have written about before. Now he seems to be developing an understanding with Wilshere and Song. But most impressive is the axis he is forming with Nasri, who rather use one another as sounding boards in our attacks. Roger Johnson`s own goal in the game at St. Andrews on New Year`s Day put me in mind of the days of Henry and Pires playing as if they had their own ball. What puts Cesc a cut above in January is that, whilst Arsene has fielded shadow sides for the cup games, Cesc is the linking factor that has looked to save the day when things were looking bleak. He instantly transformed otherwise uninspiring performances against Leeds and Huddersfield. The second he stepped onto the pitch yesterday, the team was transformed, the player`s running was suddenly full of vigour and purpose with the awareness that Cesc could find them with a cutting pass. A small demonstration of what I am talking about was probably at Portman Road. That was one of Cesc`s worst games I have seen in an Arsenal shirt. He still put Arshavin and Walcott through one on one with the keeper with eye of the needle passes. Even in an incredibly rare bad game, he had the quality to make the difference. Given the flirtation with Barca in the summer, Arsenal supporters have been absolutely desperate ever since to look for the slightest chink in Cesc`s armour, so aching are they to reel out the "his head is in Barcelona" line. I have barely heard it since he came back from his last hamstring injury. Enjoy this young apotheosis of a footballer for every day he is here Gooners, because you`ll notice when he`s not there.LD.

August- Tomas Rosicky
September- Jack Wilshere
October- Samir Nasri
November- Marouane Chamakh
December- Samir Nasri

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

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

Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Monday January 31 2011
Time: 1:06PM


Any idea what the hell is up with Chamakh? He looks a shadow of the player we saw at the start of the season... I have to agree on Cesc, although RVP comes mighty close. The difference at Huddersfield was truly remarkable. Suddenly the team were making runs all over the pitch. Diaby is a fine foil for Cesc but he can't be expected to play that role.
31/01/2011 13:28:00
Koscielny january player of the month, he was ever present at the back the attained successive clean sheets, and even scored a clinching goal
31/01/2011 15:29:00
Chamakh's not getting the necessary games and also I think fatigue has kicked in. It's only his first season and spells like this should be expected. He should get back to his best and he is certainly still capable of playing centre forward in case RvP or Bendtner or both get injured.
31/01/2011 16:49:00
£35m for Andy Carroll... It's official: the world has truly gone mad...
31/01/2011 17:03:00
£35m is ridiculous but let's not turn this into a waste of money thread. You can't argue against Cesc getting the player of the month award because he performs better than any other player 9 out of 10 times he plays. Even when RVP got the hattrick he was still miles ahead of him in terms of influencing the game. But if I would have to give my vote I would give it to either Sagna or Koscielny. Very good to see consistency from our defenders.
31/01/2011 17:36:00
Cesc has been brilliant, yes.. But for me, its RVP all day long.. We never struggle for goals when he plays, have you all noticed? Gooners follow me on the twit '@shadyjohn77' i'll follow back. Cheers
shady gunna
31/01/2011 20:12:00
Cesc has pretty much been our player of the last 3 or 4 seasons. He brings an assurance and maturity to our play that no other player in the team is capable of. I have no idea what we'll do if he gets injured or leaves at the end of the season.
Wyn Mills
31/01/2011 20:26:00
Cesc deserves this award month in month out. His greatest asset is that he makes everyone plays better and he often forces the player receiving the ball to choose a certain action. His passes are always telling. He almost never plays a pass that will put his man in trouble. The problem i have is that he's become so fundamental to our style of play that when he's absent, we tend to become very ordinary, too ordinary. We'll get the usual Cesc to Barca headline this summer and for the next 5 summers but I don't think he will go just yet. Maybe when Xavi reaches 34 or 35. Xavi is great but you can't have 2 playmakers in a team and Cesc's play is the playmaker of all playmakers.
31/01/2011 21:24:00
Re Chamakh, when he was playing well he was playing with the likes of an in form Nasri, Walcott etc, lately he's had to play with the second string and we've already seen how many of them are not up to scratch (for whatever reason)
31/01/2011 21:27:00
Eboue=GOD - Chamakh in case RVP or Bedtner get injured or both'd play Bedtner of Chamakh?
01/02/2011 01:54:00
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