Archive for June, 2006

Gunnerblog End of Season Awards 2006

63 comments June 21st, 2006

I’d love to say these awards were “back by popular demand“, but that would be a lie. They’re back because I felt like it. Last year brought glory for Henry and Fabregas, and shame for Almunia and Reyes. Want to see the winners and losers of the 2005/06 season? Right this way…

Player of the Season
Last season Thierry Henry walked away with this award. This year, the competition is much closer. Kolo Toure and Jens Lehmann’s work at the back has been nothing short of outstanding. In midfield, Cesc Fabregas has emerged as the star we all knew he could be, justifying his award as the Gunnerblog Young Player of the Season for 2005.

But Henry remains head and shoulders above all others. If he’s the Football Writer’s Footballer of the Year, then surely he deserves to be ours too? Top scorer in the Premiership again, he capped a fantastic season by signing a new four-year contract. He’s not a natural leader, and he doesn’t claim to be one, but he’s slowly growing into the role of Arsenal captain with real distinction. In my humble opinion, he’s the best player in the world.

Young Player of the Season
In a squad as young as Arsenal’s, there are several candidates for an award of this nature. Emmanuel Eboue has burst onto the scene as a flying full-back, whilst Philippe Senderos finally displaced Sol Campbell as first choice in many people’s eyes. Robin van Persie showed glimpses of his astonishing potential, whilst Mathieu Flamini proved himself to be more than able in a variety of positions. What’s more, Sven has proved that Theo Walcott doesn’t need to be playing games to be rewarded.

But like the Player of the Season award, last year’s winner did more than enough to retain his prize. Cesc Fabregas just keeps improving. In 2005 he managed to play like a regular experienced midfielder at the tender age of 17. Now, having just turned 19, he is regularly playing like an exceptional experienced midfielder. Having found his feet, he’s starting to find the goal too, and his passing becomes more precise with every game. His performance against Real Madrid in the Bernabeu was when he became an international star, and becoming Spain’s youngest ever World Cup participent was fitting reward for another fine season.

Worst Player of the Season
I agonised over this, but in the end I had to go for Alex Song. Whilst I was tempted to nominate Sol Campbell after his disastrous year and knack of jumping out of tackles, and, on one occasion, a match, I couldn’t get past just how bad Song has been. It’s not all his fault: at 18 he is still very raw, and we shouldn’t have been relying on him in must-win games against Portsmouth etc. But we were. And he was poo.

Game of the Season
Domestically, the 7-0 against Middlesbrough was a real treat, and the 3-2 win at Wigan a feast of attacking football. However, the real showpieces came in our incredible European run. Whilst the performance at the Bernabeu was an incredible feat, the home win against Juventus was hugely significant.

The return of Patrick Vieira to Highbury added extra spice to a tie that was seen as Juve’s old heads against Arsenal’s young legs. It was our boys that triumphed, as Turin’s Old Lady was well and truly mugged. Young Player of the Season Cesc was outstanding, totally eclipsing our former number four, and showing the way to life after Paddy.

But for me, all of this was eclipsed by the Highbury Finale: the 4 – 2 win against Wigan that clinched fourth spot and superiority over Spurs. An amazing game, and a fantastic occasion, capped by yet another superlative Henry display. A fitting way to close the old stadium.

Worst game of the Season
Although the feeling of losing against Barca probably hurt most, it was in no way the worst game, and certainly not our worst performance. That award should be kept for one of our dismal away performances in the Premiership. I choose our performance at Anfield, losing 1-0. That was the day when I knew Robert Pires was finished at Arsenal – he just didn’t seem bothered. An incredibly frustrating game, which I will fast-forward when the season review comes out.

Highlight of the Season
The final day at Highbury? Thierry breaking Ian Wright’s record? Probably not. In spite of the heart-wrenching way in which we lost, anyone who was in Paris on the 17th May will never forget the day. Street football in Paris, the joy of Sol’s goal, and the togetherness of the fans make it one of the highlight’s of my Arsenal supporting life.

Disappointment of the Season
Our domestic form. Although fourth was ultimately respectable, we’re a side used to finishing in the top two. Away from home we simply weren’t good enough, and next season we need to show much more resilience if we’re even to stay in the Champions League places.


So there we are. It was a funny one last season. Lots of highs and lots of lows: what being a supporter is really all about. It’s quite unusual for Arsenal to finish trophyless, but going to Paris really felt like winning something.

Next season is all about improving domestically, hopefully with the help of a sprinkling of summer signings.

We’re waiting, Arsene…

Gunners in Germany: Part 3 + FREE Wallpaper

863 comments June 20th, 2006

It’s some time since my last World Cup update, what with the excitement of the new kit being unveiled. (Of course, I realise that the blurry image we’ve all gawped at is not in the least exciting. However, the World Cup starves us of club news. Thus, that fuzzy picture becomes about as exciting as Arsenal announcing that Arsene Wenger is, contrary to popular belief, a womble).

When I last updated on our boys in Germany, England were expected to comfortably beat Trinidad and Tobago. Heady days. As it happened, Ashley Cole played 90 mins as England stumbled to a 2-0 victory, both goals coming in the last ten minutes. Sweden were equally reliant on a late goal, with Fredrik Ljungberg‘s 88th minute header granting them victory over Paraguay.

On Friday, we bid Auf Weidersehn to Kolo and Manu‘s Ivory Coast, who lost 2-1 to an impressive Holland side, for whom Robin van Persie blasted in a brilliant first. Robin also completed a vital clearance off the line in an excellent performance. Ivory Coast now face Serbia & Montenegro with nothing to play for except pride, of which they ought to have plenty.

Tomas Rosicky failed to recreate his opening game heroics as the Czech side crashed 2-0 to a Ghanian team led by the fantastic Stephen Appiah. More embarrassment for Arsenal stars as, despite scoring France’s first World Cup goal for eight years, Thierry Henry missed a great chance to double his team’s lead before South Korea grabbed a shock equaliser.

Gilberto Silva made a brief cameo as an unimpressive Brazil side-stepped former Korea coach Guus Hiddink’s Australia, whilst yesterday’s Togo – Switzerland saw Emmanuel Adebayor come up against Philippe Senderos. Whilst the former was probably the more impressive of the pair, it was the Swiss who came through to win 2-0, putting Togo out of the tournament. Adebayor’s plight was only made worse by the fact that his sandwich became invisible.
Last but certainly not least, Cesc Fabregas, who came on at half-time and almost single-handedly swung a game into Spain’s hands. Trailing 1-0 to Tunisia, the teenage tyro set up two goals and nearly grabbed one himself as Spain ended up 3-1 winners. A 45-minute master-class in the art of simplicity that should see Cesc start against Saudi Arabia.

Attached today is a fantastic Thierry Henry wallpaper, produced by Tres Rapide, the site’s resident clever person. Feel free to adorn your desktop with Thierry’s stylised but still impressive form. Here you go.

And have a good day.

First Pictures of New Kit Unveiled

29 comments June 19th, 2006

Well ladies and gentlemen, here it is: Arsenal’s home kit for the 2006/07 season. It’s a bit of a blurry image, but you get the jist. It’s good to see the lads in red and white again, and on this first look, I really like the new design.

With the new kit to come, I have it on good authority that some of our first team players will be changing their squad numbers this season, so don’t rush out and get your shirts printed straight away.

Later today I’m going to be doing a World Cup round-up, but I thought I’d wait for the various Swiss, Togolese, and Spanish members of our squad to get their days work out of the way. Though it seems the Togolese aren’t particularly keen to do very much. Thank God Ron Atkinson no longer works for ITV – he’d have plenty to say about that. Fans of Ron/racism, however, can tune into UKG2, where he commentates on their football coverage. It’s a good partnership really: his views are about as out-of-date as their programmes.

As far as genuine club news goes, transfer rumours etc., there isn’t any. Once the group stages are over, I’m sure some stuff will filter through. Until then, keep enjoying the World Cup.

Like I said, I’ll be back later for a whizz round the Gunners in Germany.

Gunners in Germany: Part 2

5 comments June 15th, 2006

Another couple of days, another six matches, and yet more involvement from Arsenal players. In the big battle between Thierry Henry and Philippe Senderos, it was Big Phil who won out, keeping Titi quiet as his Swiss side secured a valuable 0-0 draw. Johan Djourou even came on for around 15 minutes to help Phil see through the clean sheet.

Earlier in the day, Emmanuel Adebayor‘s ten-men Togo had lost 2-1 to South Korea. Ade didn’t look in the best of form: easily his countries most talented player, he is chronically misused. A combination of a lack of creative talent in the team and an overestimation of Adebayor’s own ability meant he ended up playing off the striker in a playmaker role. The results were dreadful. My advice to Togo: play Manu as a central battering ram, or you’ll go home with no points.

Gilberto sat on the bench in a drab 1-0 win for Brazil, whilst Jens Lehamnn was involved in a rather more exciting 1-0, as Germany grabbed a last minute goal against neighbours Poland.

Congratulations too for Cesc Fabregas, who became Spain’s youngest ever World Cup player during their 4-0 demolition of Ukraine. They have been the best performers of the World Cup so far, with Fernando Torres in particular showing some sparkling form.

England today. Wonder if Theo Walcott will explode onto the scene against T & T…

Gunners in Germany: Part 1

3 comments June 13th, 2006

I haven’t really written anything, because I’ve been gorging myself on the feast of football that is the World Cup. However, I’ve now thought of a cunning way to incorporate this into the site. Clever, eh?

Tomas Rosicky has been Arsenal’s star so far. When one considers the game he had yesterday, it’s lucky we secured his signature before the tournament began. His two fantastic goals would certainly have raised his value by a couple of million quid.

But for the most part, Arsenal players have done OK. Despite conceding two goals on opening day, Jens Lehmann‘s Germany marched to a 4-2 victory: the only downside for the ‘keeper being that he picked up an injury that may still keep him out of the upcoming game against Poland.

Saturday wasn’t a great day for the Gooners on Tour. England pair Cole and Campbell played as England stumbled to victory over Paraguay; Fredrik Ljungberg‘s Sweden failed to break down Trinidad & Tobago; and gutsy Arsenal pair Eboue and Toure were unlucky to lose to a strong Argentina side. Arsenal targets Didier Zokora and Yaya Toure both held their own in an exciting midfield battle.

Robin van Persie was the surprise inclusion for the Dutch as they beat Serbia & Montenegro 1-0, providing the assist for Arjen Robben. The young star has managed to oust Dirk Kuyt in the battle for the first-team places, and is now operating in a wide-right role.

Today sees plenty of Arsenal interest: Emmanual Adebayor‘s Togo take on South Korea, before Thierry‘s France face Phil and Johan‘s Switzerland. Finally, Gilberto is expected to be on the bench for Brazil as they take on Croatia.

Watch Franck Ribery in the France match: rumours suggest Marseille are very unwilling to sell him to a French team, and would rather he went to us or Man Utd.

Next Posts Previous Posts

Search Gunnerblog

Get your Gunnerblog t-shirts now!

get regular updates from GS with twitter

Top Gunn

Cesc Fabregas
The man in form.

    Retro Arsenal T-Shirts from - Bringing Back The Good Old Days!: Click Here!

Latest Posts

Sponsored Links


June 2006
« May   Jul »

Posts by Month

Most Recent Posts

Posts by Category


Powered By

eXTReMe Tracker