Arsenal - February Player of the Month
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February Player of the Month

February has been another super charged month for the Gunners- the high of beating Barcelona rather counter balanced by the crushing low of losing an eminently winnable cup final. In between we have accumulated an unwanted record for being the only team in Premier League history to toss away a four goal advantage, yet have made progress in the steeple chase for Manchester United, sitting as we do, four points behind them this morning with a game in hand. In short, February has been a zoo in a jungle of a season. There have been many players that have shone as Arsenal have regularly applied themselves to a fixture every three days since time immemorial. Laurent Koscielny and Johan Djourou have continued to forge a formidable partnership at centre half; whilst Gael Clichy`s form has elevated back to his 2006 status. (As evidenced by the fact that the rush to instate Gibbs in the left back slot full time have quelled).

As you come to expect, Cesc Fabregas has been his imperious self, whilst Samir Nasri has continued his fine form. Nasri and Walcott have provided the perfect ingredients in the forward line to compliment van Persie. Meanwhile, Jack Wilshere has continued to flourish with a coming of age type performance when pitted against world behemoths Xavi and Iniesta. However, for February there is only one winner and the award is tinged with some sadness in retrospect given yesterday`s prognosis. Since the turn of the year, there can scarcely have been a striker on the planet more fearsome than Robin van Persie. I think we`ve gotten so used to playing without him over the last few years that we`re still sometimes so taken aback with just how good he is in a way we are not with someone like Cesc, whose consistent domination of matches is taken as read. Since New Year`s Day, van Persie has 13 goals in 12 appearances. Those sorts of numbers alone tell you just some of the story. As the focal point of an attack, with Drogba fading and Torres floundering, I don`t see anyone better in the Premiership right now. He brings others into play with his back to goal, finds spaces for himself and others with his running into channels.

Most consider RvP, rightly, to be an artiste. But he seldom gets credit for the "battering ram" style he is equally capable of utilising. The range of goals he is scoring also appears to attract little attention from the press; headers, right foot, left foot. 2011 has seen a variety. But perhaps where his game has come on the most this season is his effectiveness from crosses. Prior to this campaign, for Arsenal to be dangerous from a cross, one would have thought that Bendtner or Chamakh would need to be deployed. But Sagna`s improved delivery, together with van Persie`s increased effectiveness have made Arsenal mobile and dangerous in the air. Looking at some of the goals van Persie has scored of late, right footed efforts from an Arshavin cross against Birmingham, a Walcott cross against Newcastle and a Fabregas cross against Wolves. He also scored a header from a Sagna cross against Newcastle and very nearly repeated the trick against Birmingham straight after Nicola Zigic`s goal. Great players are the ones that strive to improve and continue to hone their strengths and work on their weaknesses no matter their standing.

His set piece delivery has borne fruit too with Koscielny`s winning goal against Everton and Squillaci`s goal against Stoke City. Arsenal do not loo nearly as fluent without van Persie in the side. But the biggest indicator of what van Persie brings to us arrived in the Barcelona match. Unusually for Arsenal, we were without the ball for yawning chasms of the game and van Persie had little to feed on but scraps. In fact, truth be told, his shooting had been slightly wayward for the first ¾ of the match and my friends and I wondered aloud if it were worth throwing Bendtner on in his place to vary the threat. But after a rather innocuous chip down the line from Clichy, van Persie produced a piece of genius that only the top players provide- it was when we most needed it too. Valdes was completely set on his line as van Persie set himself for the shot, it wasn`t until the very last second that Valdes shifted his weight. It was a gutsy and thoughtful piece of improvisation from van Persie- the shot was not on when he took it- he bluffed the goalkeeper and gambled that he would shift at the last second. Only the very best players have a football brain capable of working so lucidly under such pressured conditions. We now know van Persie is not in the running for next month`s Player of the Month award. Let`s hope he is fit in time for consideration of April`s award.LD.

August: Tomas Rosicky
September: Jack Wilshere
October: Samir Nasri
November: Marouane Chamakh
December: Samir Nasri
January: Cesc Fabregas

Follow me on twitter @LittleDutchVA

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

The Journalist

Writer: Tim Stillman Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 3 2011

Time: 12:27PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
Bendtner is looking good for March. ;0)
Wyn Mills
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03/03/2011 12:32:00

I was thinking after RVP pulled out at Wembley that who will score us goals..but last night Bendtner and Chamakh showed that they can too..hopefully those two can prove their worth this March..COYG!!
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03/03/2011 13:04:00

What a player.
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03/03/2011 13:15:00

During his entire tenure at Arsenal, RVP has played only 47% of games. Tragic. Easily a candidate for one of the very best strikers in the game if it weren't for his injuries. On form his stats are comparable to Europe's best.
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03/03/2011 14:16:00

To think, a few weeks back some people were actually thinking of cashing in on him. Egg on their faces.
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03/03/2011 14:25:00

Speking of Clichy's improvement, has anyone been noticing his long ball abilities. His ability to produce raking diagonal balls across the park or right up to the main striker has vastly improved.
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03/03/2011 14:31:00

Still very sad about him getting injured again. Not only is he prolific, be he scores amazing goals too. We, and the wider world, are and have been deprived of seeing one of the world's great talents in full. I just don't think we can rely on him in the future anymore and personally think we need to buy another striker.
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03/03/2011 14:57:00

Easily in the top three best players in the world.
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03/03/2011 16:37:00

The lad is made of glass. Pity, as he's an exceptional player. Condolences, yet again.
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03/03/2011 16:41:00

We threw away a four goal lead at Newcastle? I'd forgotten about that after beating Barcelona and then getting to within a point of United (well almost), it's amazing what a few results can do. Win the next two games (or a win then a draw) and that cup final will be erazed from memory for ever. PS - Great choice, great player. Get well soon you glass backed ********! lol
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03/03/2011 16:44:00

OT, this. As the Brazilian National team comes to the Emirates for their friendly against Scotland with a strong squad, I thought it would have been a good touch to pick Denilson for a Cameo before his fans. But then, what do I know?
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03/03/2011 17:31:00

Naija, if Denilson had been playing regularly this season I'd say Mano should give him a try (always thought Dunga should've tried him out too). But he hasn't. That said, it's not like all of Mano's choices have made any sense. He's actually called up a very good squad to play against Scotland but about 3 or 4 of the players he's called up you just wonder huh??? Even having not played very much this season Denilson would still be better than Elias, Henrique or Renato Augusto.
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03/03/2011 17:48:00

If only we had a striker of his quality, we'd be in the title race for sure. RvP has scored 13 times as many goals this month than Defoe has all season
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03/03/2011 18:38:00

Somebody please watch this video....I cant believe how they are idolizing him him holland. others are ball watching. Pay attention to the 3rd game. he made a guy eat the grass.
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03/03/2011 19:20:00

*him in holland. Also sorry for change of topic
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03/03/2011 19:22:00

Jaelle, guess you are right about Denilson's lack of playing time this season; it doesn't remove from the quality he does possess and he should just fit in well into the Brazilian way of moving the ball around. I also thought he must, surely, be as good as (if not better than) some of the names picked and you just confirmed my fears with the names you listed. It could affect his morale to come watch his Country play on his ground, only as a spectator.
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03/03/2011 21:28:00

Well we know RVP won't be the March player of the month :(
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03/03/2011 22:16:00

I love Robin but he can frustrate me no end through no fault of his own. He would be up there with Ronaldo if only he wasnt so fragile. The only difference is Ronaldo does all the acrobatics and hardly gets injured. As soon as RvP hits the ground, makes a special move, takes a shot too hard, gets tackled i fear for him. Even when he celebrates he can get injured. He is just injury-prone and his injuries are never small niggles. Wenger says a minimum of 3 weeks for this one, but i am not holding my breath. If Robin was fit, we'd win this title. Lets see if Bendtner can justify his own overconfident self.
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04/03/2011 08:36:00

He says his right leg's made of chocolate. I doubt that. I think his whole body is made of chocolate. It just melts down at the application of a little stress.
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04/03/2011 09:25:00

So...never one to bury my head in the the f*** are we gonna get past Barca?
Wyn Mills
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04/03/2011 15:21:00

We have B52 Bomber! We deploy him... :-)
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04/03/2011 18:13:00

We'll probably need a squadron of B52s! But an aerial approach using the B52 might actually work for us. I think we only need to score 1 goal to put them under huge pressure. Watched the last Barcelona la liga match recently and Valencia kept them well contained until the 70th minute by keeping close and denying space. Its not our natural game but I think we'll have a chance if we can keep it very tight and harry, harry, harry.
Wyn Mills
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04/03/2011 18:49:00

Wyn I thought you had already made a mental provision for our loss!
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04/03/2011 18:50:00

Now I think about it... Guardiola has been kidding us all along. Its not Walcott's pace Barca are scared of, its the flying B52. ;0)
Wyn Mills
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04/03/2011 18:54:00

DF, where there's a glimmer of hope...
Wyn Mills
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04/03/2011 18:55:00

Easier to go into this game with a nothing-to-lose attitude.....that's how Brum played in that final. In any case, we do have the small matter of Sunderland tomorrow. That should be the focus for now.
Report Abuse
04/03/2011 21:54:00

Sunderland first then Barca, that's the attitude required I agree Naija. No Song, no Koscielny, no RvP. Our B52 has a whole lot of strafing to do today. It'll have to "bring the rain" with it.
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05/03/2011 12:20:00


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