Three Arsenal players that deserve more recognition

Who are the underrated stars in this Arsenal side? by SV

After almost all recent games, fans have been clamouring about how underrated Alex Song is. They say that his terrific performances in front of our defence (and often further up the pitch) deserve great recognition. And I agree, Songinho’s performances have been almost as important to us as Van Persie’s goals. However, I think that it should be realised that all Arsenal fans do now realise this, and that Song is no longer underrated.

But there are other players in our squad who don’t get the recognition that they deserve. Today, I want to look at three players who I think have been very valuable during this campaign and, yet, haven’t got quite the same praise as some of their peers.

1) Wojciech Szczesny: Earlier in the season, everyone was heaping the praise upon our young Pole. This was perhaps due to the fact that our defence was so dire at the time, that Sczcesny was getting a chance to showcase his talent far too often. Since then, the rest of our team has improved greatly and so focus has shifted onto some of them. But Sczcesny’s performance levels have not dropped since then. He has a consistent exemplary level of play. The confidence he brings to the back line cannot be underestimated; our back four will feel very comfortable in the knowledge that they have a commanding, talented and confident keeper to mop up should they slip. In fact, throughout season, I can think of only one game (Fulham away) in which I have been disappointed with the lad.

2) Kieran Gibbs: This young Englishman has actually come under some considerable criticism recently. Many believe that he does not make the standard for us. I beg to disagree. We all know that Kieran has been plagued by injuries; but I think that, since he has come back, he has been putting in pretty consistent shifts. He is a great athlete and, contrary to what seems popular belief, is a strong tackler. Yes, he bolts down to help the attack, but I think that he does actually track back and fulfil his defensive responsibilities too. In addition, he seems to have decent technical ability and his crosses, though not quite like Sagna’s, are of a good quality.

3) Yossi Benayoun: This is the big one for me. Yossi gets very little game time, but when he does play, he is exemplary. He is often chosen for the big games (such as Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester City) as he brings a huge injection of guile. Him and Walcott provide totally different weapons and so complement each other well. If Walcott (and, similarly, Chamberlain) is a hammer to break down the enemies’ armour, then Benayoun is the stiletto to slip between the enemies’ armour plates. The Israeli captain also has a terrific work rate and work ethic, and you will always see him tracking back to help out his full back. I, for one, will be very sad to see him go back to Chelsea, which unfortunately looks like a likely course of action.

It’s difficult to keep a list of unsung heroes to just three as there are so many who have played with 100% commitment to the Arsenal cause this year. The truth is that football is a team sport and, this season at least, almost every player deserves the praise which we, as fans, only give to a choice few.

Till tomorrow.

If you liked this article, follow me on Twitter at @SVGunner

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81 thoughts on “Three Arsenal players that deserve more recognition

  1. Adam

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  2. RaUlGooner

    “I, for one, will be very sad to see him go back to Chelsea”
    make it 2 SV. I will be very disappointed if his brilliant work on the pitch when given a chance would go unnoticed by AW. Hope he would remain 2 b a gunner.
    Gooner till I die

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 4

  3. Gooner fresh

    Glad you mentioned that Song is no longer underrated but I still have arguments today with other teams supporters who say he isn’t top class. I believe he could walk into any first team in the PL. Gibbs Deserves more credit for the collective step up that the defense has taken this year. Still kinda hope we can get yossi on the cheap. He does so much to contribute to theo’s play and he tracks back diligently. Gun down Wigan

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  4. manorhouse

    Cheers for giving these lads ups. They are justified & in szczneys case long overdue. At 19 he is surely our man at the back for years to come. Big big ups gooners

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  5. king's of Arsenal Malaysia

    I wish that benayoun could stay at Emirates…. he too can assists us in motivation the youth and used his knowledge in UEFA Champion League xperience…

    Top Gooner!. Agree or not?: Thumb up 34 Thumb down 8

  6. sKeeza

    I’ve always said rosicky had the tools in his locker to do a job for us and of late he is showing his worth, his cool switching and turning on the ball always commands tempo and direction of our attacks.

    I’ve always said this about rosicky and stood him.

    Another is Sagna, since his return he has been solid at the back and linking up with Walcott has helped walcott find confidence once more.

    We are on the verge of becoming a formidable force once more just as long as we don’t loose anyone.

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  7. sKeeza

    Also szczneys has shown what we have been missing in Alumina and fabianskis calamity time.
    He is that far ahead and young he will no doubt be a great in years to come.
    What concerns me if he gets injured, and he will, we will be vulnerable at the back once more just as it seems their getting it together, Jaskelienen on the cheap would be a great no 2

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4

  8. DCC


    What are you on about …. Song is not underated, quite the contrary he is actually overrated. You say he protects our back 4, since when has he done this effectively. Now don’t get me wrong I like song and he does beef up our midfield, but he lacks discipline and unfortunately he is to cavalier to be pigeon holed as a holding midfield player.

    As for Gibbs, well with an injury free run he may well be the heir apparent to the left back birth.

    As for Yossi, well for a journeyman as he has become, I would like it thank him for his efforts and professionalism..

    Big Scezeny, has been a revelation this season and I truly hope he continues his development as he has the ability to wear the crown left by Seaman….

    But, if you want to look at a player who has shaped the Arsenal resurgence, look no further than Arteta. While RVP has been banging them in Arteta has been quietly going about his work, protecting the back 4 and setting the rythem of so many games this season…

    They also say you don’t know what you’ve got until its gone …. Well Sagna since his return from injury has proved to me just how much we have missed him…

    So let’s finish this season in third…. Shift the deadwood (we all know who they are) …

    Refresh the squad with 3 or 4 quality players (we all know who they are)

    And look forward with hope in our hearts ….

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 24 Thumb down 38

  9. 10ten

    Well i never believed song was underrated.. he had always been great .. as a defensive midfielder and aswel as helping the attack..!!
    Szczneys is not underrated aswel..!! he is one of the best goal keepers in premier league =D
    well about GIBBS.. he is good but is injury prone, but like van persie he might as well get the best out of him if he doesnt get injured for a whole season and is consistant..and since wenger brought him in the first team.. sure he has that something needed for arsenal =D
    and i never liked yossi before.. bt now.. it will be really sad for me if he leaves arsenal.. he is such a great player =(

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  10. The font

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  11. Raghav

    Benayoun has been great loan signing. He has turned up at most of the big games and delivered. But having said that, I hope Arsenal dont sign him permanently.

    Opinions divided. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 20

  12. lifezone

    DCC i disagree with u in two aspect,firstly song is not over rated as u me one arsenal player that is a cover to the defence apart from arteta and acts as a guard to our defence and a link man to our attack.
    secondly Gibbs is a weaklink in our defence,he gives the fullback double work,defending from the center and from the flanks.most time gibbs looses concerntration,our young tony adams- jekinson is more focused.

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  13. Kimani matheri

    Arteta is the most underrated,he has being doing a lot of mop up and has been always fighting,am happy finishing third with Arteta than forth with fabregas ho most claims is better than arteta,song not underated just think how much he will go for if we put a sellimg clause for him

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  14. Kimani matheri

    Arteta is the most underrated,he has being doing a lot of mop up and has been always fighting,am happy finishing third with Arteta than forth with fabregas ho most claims is better than arteta,song not underated just think how much he will go for if we put a selling clause for him

    Rate this comment: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  15. fanofvela

    how could everyone forget koscielny? he was a beast in the defence.

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  16. Karthik

    Bacary Sagna!
    Best RB in the league, noone ever mentions him!

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  17. NigerianGun

    Its stupid for any body to underrate the “POLE CAT”. Certainly not me!

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  18. Craig2500

    Id say Koscielny, He wasnt cheap and for a moment it looked like the Senderos replacement was as bad as the original. Both him and Vermaelen have become our version of Rio and Vidic leaving us wondering if new defenders are even needed. Its the first time in years that im not worrying about the defence as with Szczesny i think Wenger has finally cracked it and created the defence he inherited in 1996.

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  19. Lumix

    song is magnificent, benayoun i love the way he switches i mean his fakes in the midfield. these are two players with brains to beat any defense, without them the walcotss would look ordinary.

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  20. Stu

    Nice article but I just do not understand some people who call themselves Arsenal fans – why is Ramsey getting it so hard at the moment? Aklright so he has had 2 games where he has not been at his bnest, have people forgotten the injury time winner V’s Marseille?????? He has the desire we need and bags of potential. He will be a super player – trust me. People getting on his back really are showing a lack of class as well as a lack of intelligence.

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    i beg to disagree on Gibbs and Benayun. The most underrated player, who is most significant is ARTETA. Blessed is the date you signed for arsenal

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  22. Bradster

    My accolades go out to Kos and Arteta as the underrated. Especially how it looked after the Carling cup final.
    Sczc needs to gym a bit to get those kicks further up the pitch but still great.
    I don’t think Song is underrated as I’m sure Juve was looking for his signature at the end of the season. However, I do feel Song does not perform the DM consistently and tends to leave that space open at times. I’ve seen Arteta covering for him at times so perhaps that is Wenger’s instructions.
    He succeeded with his killer balls but not every ball can be one and he needs to see the opportunity of a simple or pressure releasing pass too.

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  23. notorious Gunner

    u forgot koscielny. He has been the best de whole year except ManU game but still 30:1 game

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  24. Johnno

    I don’t rate Gibbs. He may prove me wrong in the coming years, but at this stage I don’t rate him as a defender. Yossi has been good. Good, experienced cover.

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  25. Alex jackson

    Yes!yes!! Ramsy is my man n he we turnout 2 great midfielder in yrs to come i wonder hw pple gorge player like ramsy who as got life treat injur b/4 bt trusth me he is comin up u will see n i wonder if u pple know more dan wengar. Koscheni very fantansic defender n one of d best in d world he n sagna ar our main key in defence belive me n go n watch all d big match we as played dis season den u will know wat am sayin,as 4 song he is a fantansic player

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  26. Wenger is not a joke

    None of those players are underrated. Everyone already acknowledges there good!

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  27. MarianAFC

    I don`t agree with you on Gibbs.For me, he is more like a Championship player.As Johnno said he may become a very good player in a few years but I don`t think he is of Arsenal`s caliber at the moment.As for Benayoun and Szczesny, no doubt about them .

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  28. k

    I don’t hate Ramsey and he has potential, no doubt about that. But don’t you guys who are saying give Ramsey a chance think that its a bit late in the season for that? We have to finish top 4 and we are in a good position for 3rd meaning automatic champions league qualification. We cant take chances giving players who aren’t in form playing time. If were 2-0 at half time, by all means bring him on and give him 45mins. But for now we have to stick with a team of players who have 9/10 games and can get us across the finishing line in 3rd.

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  29. lee

    Arsenals resurgence in 2012 has been down to Tomas Rosicky. His sheer determination to get back to his best and force his way back into the first team when it seemed like his days were numbered is inspirational. Not only does he drive forward and provide support to RVP but also shows great fighting spirit when tracking back. Hes always 2 steps ahead of everyone else and provides that spark in midfield that no one else can bar maybe wilshere. Also gotta give huge credit to Koscielny who has been outstanding all season and is fast becoming a world class defender

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  30. Chris

    The inherited defence is not d best its kolo and campbell.remember dey were unbeating and also created d champions league record of not concedin in 10 straight matches.i think kolcieny and arteta re d most underratedThe inherited defence is not d best its kolo and campbell.remember dey were unbeating and also created d champions league record of not concedin in 10 straight matches.i think kolcieny and arteta re d most underrated

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  31. Aaron

    Szczesny also had a shocker of a game against Milan where we lost 4-0, he really should have saved a couple of the shots that when in like Robinho’s goal when Vermealen slipped. Other than a few performances he has been the second best goalkeeper in the league apart from Joe Hart. Another good thing about him is that he organises the defence and has a big mouth (in a good way!)

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  32. calum

    I disaree with gibbs hes good but not quite our hero. I think you forgot walcott as he hardly ever gets praised aswell as arteta signing of the season. but still our whole team are heros gooners for life!!!!

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  33. thorny

    I think sagna deserves more. He is just awesome and look at our turn around with him back. Shez aswell agreed. And yossi……hy dont we keep him? Hes great!

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  34. Galen

    The balance in midfield is perfect, we are not one dimentional anymore where everything goes via Cesc. There is nothing wrong with song attacking as arteta defends and when arteta goes forward song stays back . Is perfect as opponents don’t know who to mark anymore. Those complaint abt song not bn a dm hv not bn watching arsenal play in the last 2 months. They to our revival has bn how fluid our midfield trio has bn not even manshitty cld keep up with us. We play with no dm. Sometimes rosicky or Ramsey is the one infant of the back four n song and arteta are up the pitch. Am loving this tactics. The days of man marking Cesc are gone. We interchange mown that’s perfect. More over songs does the job. The chip to Rvp vs manshitty was magical. Shame it hit the post. M loving this team. Is just great tactical masterclass from wenger. Bravo boss.

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  36. arsenalfan

    Good article, fully agree. Koscielny, Sagna and Arteta are all also underrated and deserve more recognition. And FFS stop with the Ramsey hate, he’ll come good.

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  37. Goal

    Johnno, Marian and you lot. We all know for a fact that Gibbsy is comparatively better and reliant a defender than Santos the goofball.

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  38. goonerswagg

    @manorhouse … Szczesny is 21 (nearly 22), not 19. Either way, he’s still got a looooong future with us.

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  39. budgie

    Szczesny shows us how important a good goalkeeper is to a title challenge, its a pity Arsene didnt realise this five years ago, still, better late than never,Benayoun added a welcome bit of experience to the team, I think the jury is still out on Gibbs,with a proper pre season we will get a better idea of whether he is going to be good enough to be in a team thats challenging for the title!

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  40. imi

    @ADAM the first person to comment,

    lol is that adam kemp? sounds a lot like him …
    Ramsey is quality… he’s going through a rough patch he’ll get over it … he carried the midfield well when rosicky was injured … then he had time off cos injured etc … he’ll get back in it… it’s his first full season… This sounds just as stupid as writing off wilshere… wilshere isn’t back yet when he comes back who told you it’s not going to take him time to adjust?

    Fact is the only reason why people keep nagging on about Ramsey is because he didn’t play that 1 magical game like Wilshere … Where he man handled barcelonas midfield.

    So just wait Ramsey and wilshere are the future of our midfield. They are both still very young… Arteta and Rosicky eventually will become too old and once they do In comes ramsey and wilshere to offer the same if not better flare.

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  41. 86thgunner

    the most overated of all is ADAM KEMP, any1 seen him of late? heard he was seen smwea in sp*ds blogs

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  42. IliyaSkin

    Koscielny all d way. Not only underated but should be given arsenal player of d year.

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  43. Abu

    Recognition to the whole team, if you select few out of thirty thats the beginning to make them grow bad attitude. First eleven can not practice on their own, they need others plus the ones in medicare. So everyone is important in the team. Its good to give recognition of individual but for this article is for a team of three forgetting much effort from the remainning eight plus technical bench. No one should assume that without him we can not win. Thats what Nassir thought that he was a one man team. Today he is not in AFC how many matches had we won? not forgetting that he contributed a lot to our loss in the first few matches of the season by being not loyal to the team.

    Mombasa, Kenya.

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  44. DCC

    Life zone :

    Sorry mate but Song while a good player is not a defensive midfielder … He lacks discipline and therefore over rated….

    As for Jenkinson …. Please have a word with yourself … He hasn’t had a decent game for us yet !

    In fact he has been a liability making many mistakes …. This doesn’t mean he won’t come through and be a quality signing … But how dare you compare him with Tony Adams …. It just goes to show that u don’t know what u r talking about !!!

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  45. Robert

    Wenger should give the Isreali a 2yr deal. Look at man u with Giggs and Scholes they give a certain dimension to the team when the going gets tough because of experience. such old players should not be discarded besides we could get him on the cheap.You may not start them often but they give you a lot of options depending on the opposition

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  46. imi

    @ DCC are you seriouse?

    You’re telling me song lacks discipline? and is not a defensive midfielder? lol dude come back and comment when you have seen 1 or 2 of this seasons arsenal games.

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  47. skilful nnanna orjiogbu, nigeria rivers state

    All players wit the red and white are magnificient so dnt underate any gunner bcos if u give them dat chance u wil see wat they are made of, i remember koscielny wen he cums they said hes too light weight bt now hes important as vermaelen if not better, kudos to bilong song, kieran gibbs, mikel arteta, yossi benayoun, wozseck szczeny and all d gunners nice work rate kip it up

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  48. dave

    does anyone else want thomas sorensen as a back up keeper should fabianski leave?

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  49. dave

    what has happpened to the lewis holtby rumour. can a writer on just arsenal answer that for me please?

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  50. KidKnockout

    I’m sorry but I believe that Koscienly is our most underrated player. He has the most tackles for a CB this season and has been more consistent than Vermaelen this season. Seriously if Koscienly isn’t in the premier league team of the year, then the FA is corrupt.

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  51. Gunnersince15

    That idiot (Adam) who wrote a stupid and quite unwarranted article about Ramsey, should, before ever trying to write anything again without his Mum’s help, (a)Learn how to spell and put a sentence together.(b)Learn how to spell Ramsey’s name correctly before being such an imbecile.(He’ll need to look up imbecile, thinking it to be a compliment. I have always highly rated Song, who is the engine at the heart of the team. A wonderful hard working player, who also possesses vision and great skill.

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    MAN U

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  53. Arsenger

    World Class players: Szczesny, Sagna, TV5, Kos, Arteta, Song, TW and RVP. TW has grown much better with double digit goals. Gibbs needs more track records to be recognised more. Don’t overrate too early. Remember how TW pass and cross early this season … quite poor; but he’s much better now.
    Even Ox needs to prove himself more; still yet to be consistently star performance (good, but not spectacular consistently). Certainly he has great potential.
    As for Ramsey, sometimes we’ll get impatient with slow growth especially on his finishing in front of goals. No need to argue on this. The last 2 performances are the proof. If he doesn’t grow fast enough, shouldn’t the opportunities be given to Ox or better potential? For me, I would give more to Ox as he shows growth faster than Ramsey. Put it this way, given the same length of time to play and prove, who will perform better next season? For me, I choose Ox as First Team and Ramsey as Subs.

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  54. Craig2500

    @ Chris, how can you say his inherited was not the best. Tony Adams has a statue outside the ground to prove you wrong, Kolo and Cambell as good as they were dont.

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  55. dave

    admin can u write an article Possible free transfer options for arsenal?

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  56. Emery

    agree with everything apart from this songINHO?? he doesnt do that much skill why does he warrent that name? :L good article but sounds like a bit of a stupid nickname, something like the midfield general would suit better aha COME ON YOU GOONERS!

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  57. Ash

    Pretty straightforward..this season Sagna,koscielny and arteta have undoubtedly exceeded fans judgements..Sagna is in top 5 rb in the world no coincidence that our form got better when he returned,koscielny held us together at the back during the crisis period and came out stronger for it when others would have crumbled he is strong quick good on the ball and never gives up and arteta has given so much balance he is deceptively strong and aggressive in a controlled way and keeps midfield ‘ticking over’ as they say…these

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  58. Ash

    3 are comftably the hidden reason we,ve come back from a crisis to show championship winning form..if these 3 stay fit for next year they will all finally be recognised for there abilities

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  59. gunner20019

    This proves that Szczesny is better than De Gea! take a look

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  60. Charlie

    I’ve always said Alex Song was the best in the World in the role he plays. Box to box midfielder with the contrivance to be a deep lying ball winner.

    Now everyone is saying it..

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  61. Seun

    You are very right about benayoun.his work rate is very high. If he is given more playing time i really belive he would improve immensely.wenger should make an exception nd sign him permanently

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  62. DCC


    I spend more time at the Emirates than my missus appreciates….

    Now what you need to do is differentiate between a ball winner and a defensive midfielder …

    I would not argue against Song being a decent ball winner, but he is not a DM and never will be … He actually falls between several stools … Not quite a DM, not quite a box to box player and not quite an attacking midfielder …. My argument is that without Arteta – Song is not the player we would like him to be…..

    You may wish to read exactly what I wrote dude !!!!

    Then with some understanding of the game, you may actually realise that it makes sense …. Why do you think that our beloved Arsenal are constantly linked with DMs … It’s because we don’t have one in the club in the mould of Makele or Senna….

    That is why we have at times this season looked extremely unbalanced and vulnerable…. But the truth is Song does not have the discipline to play as an out and out DM, which is surprising as he started as a centre half …..

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  63. Seb

    I have to agree wit Stu. I am utterly baffled by all those Ramsey haters! There was a time, not so long ago when he was the only standout player for me. He’s never lost his work ethic and is simply a player recovering from that horrific injury! Why the impatience? Trust me he’ll be up there next season and what’s more, wenger knows it! In the words of Mr Barlow, we “need a little patience”

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  64. Gary

    is Ramsey good enough to play for Arsenal regularly? Maybe

    Is there a role for Ramsey in the current tactics and team set up? Not really

    despite the obvious potential he has he is a player who often slows the game down far more than is needed with the tactics we play.

    I personally think Ramsey will have a good career although he is short of the final bit of a class needed to be an arsenal regular and I don’t see him fitting into the team although with a change of tactics who knows.

    The most important thing is that Ramsey is currently not up to the standard we should be aiming for, in fact almost every player should be aiming to improve and take their game to a higher standard. The invincibles seasons showed what happened when players developed and improved and formed a unit which was truly amazing.

    As Arsenal fans that should be our aim, the players aim and the managers aim. Anything else is not good enough. The moment we accept that 3rd is a good result we accept we will never improve

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  65. Gooner Cape Town

    Enough of the bull! Gunners for 3rd place and next year….!! Just watch us. Some decent signings thanks to AW- Podolski, Vetonghen and Ericksen… just watch the GUNNERS go…..!!!
    COYG. My son was in crowd at man Shitty game and said the support was amazing!! We have to keep this going and next season we willbe there!!
    All the way from Cape Town South Africa.
    Gooner always and for Life!

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  66. Galen

    Totally agree with Galen, we are fluid in midfield hence need no dm. The midfield trio rotates all the time as they can all attack n defend.those of us complaining abt song lack of decline have not bn watching arsenal. Song has cover in arteta n arteta has cover in song. It’s call Roaming. Oppositions can’t mark our midfielders like the way they use to mark Cesc. More over song has given key assist, what abt the passes to Rvp in the Qpr n shitty game. We complain as if he is useless offensively. He defends very well with good engine up and down the pitch. Even city could not handle our midfield, well done to our manager. Let’s support all our players , I said if song cld become this good, so those Ramsey. Give him time

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  67. DenialeeeGoon

    Problem with Gibbs.. he injures every 5 games…. so potentially he will always play less than half of a season. Can it be fixed? I don’t know.

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  68. Craig2500

    Gibbs is like Samuel Jackson in that movie Unbreakable ‘They call me Mr Glass”

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  69. Naole

    It is an interesting article but i do not agree with kieran gibbs for now he may be a good player for next season but if he avoids that nasty injury songo and sezicny not underated
    The 3 players that are underated:-
    1. Laurent Koscieleny the Number 6 (kosh)
    he is the most consistent Arsenal player this season he have a real center back quality his tackling is good and strong in the air no fear for any striker Ibra Messi or anyone else good combination with TV5 keep up the good work Kosh Bravo
    2.Tomas Rosicky the Number 7 (little mozart) what a player he reminds me his carer before injury now he got his best a neat passing, good dribbling and high team moral oh thank god Rosy is back again
    3. Mikael Arteta the Number 8 (midfield maestro) he have a good work rate all over the pitch attacks defends scores crucial goals out of the box with his long range shooting ability he is the perfect transer wealth of premier league experiance
    and mentioning my honour to Theo Walcott great player

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