Morning all, today may later herald some good news on the transfer front, you never know but it is likely to be late afternoon if true. So whilst waiting in hope, and seeing as I have not been able to find sufficient images of the week to mount the feature today, I have decided to feature videos. That is not to say that there was a dearth of inspiration for Images of the week. For instance, the news of the Michael Owen glossy brochure which was sent around certain clubs in an effort to secure his transfer away from relegated Newcastle United, made me think of what might happen if the clubs went about tapping up players in this manner. Perhaps it might go something like this.
“Wanted cute and cuddly fit midfielder with passion for warm gloves for lots of fun and games. Must be able to dance, dive and join in the wave of imaginary cards.”
Or for Robin van Persie from a club up north, it might go something like this…
“Wanted an intelligent left footed dutchman to replace the best player in the world. Must be fiery and prone to being sent off like a scouser we have in our squad, because this club is based on passion!”
No perhaps not…
So this Friday I have decided to entertain you with my “Videos of the week” At the beginning of this week a certain Thomas Hitzlsperger was being linked with Arsenal. I have no idea if this speculation is true but I’d like you to watch these videos, featuring Thomas “The Hammer” Hitzlsperger from Stuttgart. Why is he nicknamed the hammer? Well this player has certainly improved since his time at Aston Villa. He has now perfected a vicious shot off his left foot and his set pieces would add something to our rather limited repertoire. Enjoy!
I would like to introduce another potential new contributor to you all. Steve Jones is a keen writer and here is a sample of his work!
GUEST BLOGGER – STEVE JONES
The Future Is Bright – At Left Back.
There can be little doubt that Arsčne Wenger is one of the best managers in the game for developing youth, but he is not alone. Alex Ferguson eased his “Golden Generation” through the Theatre of Dreams to great success and perhaps standing as much of an equal alongside Wenger as anyone is Louis Van Gaal: Kluivert, the De Boers, Davids and Seedorf are just a few of the youngsters that he brought through the Ajax ranks.
With Wenger standing in the company of such greats, it is no wonder that every season our attention is drawn to the youth ranks at Arsenal. As both F.A. Premier Academy League and F.A. Youth Cup Winners last season, there will be pressure on this current crop of youngsters to make the step up to the first team. I want to focus on two top young prospects that are closer than most to making this step up: Kieran Gibbs and Armand Traoré.
Much has been written of Gibbs’ progress this season and I have read just as much about Traoré having no future at Arsenal in light of Gibbs’ progress. It seems a little perspective is required. It’s worth noting that Traoré is younger than Gibbs, although not by much as both are 19. Certainly Gibbs has made great progress this season. Benefiting from an injury to Gaël Clichy, he had exposure to both Premier and Champions League football and although this proved something of a baptism of fire, Gibbs has come through it very well. Traoré sought Premier League exposure through a loan move to Portsmouth. The turbulent season that Pompey endured no doubt hampered his opportunities but Traoré also showed moments of class.
With Clichy only turning 24 this summer, both will struggle for first team opportunities if Clichy remains fit. Therefore it will be extremely interesting to see who gets the nod in the absences of Clichy, in the Cup competitions and even in the Reserves. Traoré and Gibbs are comfortable at Left Midfield so they could potentially be accommodated in the same team as Clichy or each other. Gibbs also seems quite comfortable at Central Midfield and at 6’1” (2 inches taller than Gibbs) Traoré has been touted as an option at Centre Back. Gooners may hold Gibbs in higher regard because he is English but the average Gooner is also a football Francophile so it’s extremely close. Eventually it could come down to who has more patience and who best seizes their opportunities.
It is clear that Wenger has an archetypal model of a Left Back. Usually converted Left Midfielders they are comfortable on the ball, hard working and lightning fast. Ashley Cole, Clichy, Traoré and Gibbs are all so similar that they seem to be the products of a cloning experiment and Pedro Botelho and Rene Steer look set to continue the trend.
“Cloning” is an interesting topic in discussing Arsenal players. Comparisons are drawn between the likes of Theo Walcott and Thierry Henry; Robin Van Persie and Dennis Bergkamp; Denilson and Gilberto and Abou Diaby and Patick Vieira. The list is endless but arguably we are most consistent in producing Left Backs. Personally I just wish we had Tony Adams’ genetic make-up on file.
I want to know what other Gooners think: If you could clone an Arsenal player past or present who would it be? What do you think of the “clones”? Does Van Persie have the ability to outshine Bergkamp? Is Fran Merida the new Cesc Fabregas? Why did we bother to clone Pascal Cygan to produce Philippe Senderos? Please let me have your thoughts.