My Perfect Player #4
The latest ‘My Perfect Player’ is courtesy of Tony Le. Tony is, like myself, a young Arsenal fan, and here he takes his turn to write – rather eloquently – about the components of his ultimate footballer. If you hate reading praise of Arsenal players, look away now!
First and foremost, this is the first ever piece I’ve ever written for anyone’s blog, so you may have to excuse me if it’s not as good as the material Sam usually posts! I’m a sixteen year old Gooner, thus I haven’t been watching football for as long as some of you may have and that’s why all of the players I include are fairly modern, and mostly from Arsenal.
Brain – Cesc Fabregas
Having seen him thrust himself into the spotlight at Arsenal amidst Patrick Vieira’s inevitable exit to Juventus, to say the very least Cesc has been my favourite Arsenal player since Thierry Henry left. At his best, he seemingly controls the midfield despite not holding the qualities a typical English central midfielder might have – strength, tenacity, and an incomparable work ethic. That said, Cesc in my opinion is a shrewd tactician, picking out passes I wouldn’t dream of fulfilling on FIFA, instinctively weighing them to perfection, and curling them with finesse into the feet of the recipient. He also seems to have a God-given knowledge of when to make a certain type of pass, his decision making and composure in the final third has been for many years the pathway to goals at Arsenal. Whilst it is easy to criticise him for his ridiculous back-heel assist to Messi at the Nou Camp last season, what is certain is that we will miss his decisiveness in our free flowing style of football.
Head – John Terry
Despite not being the fastest, agile or flamboyant centre back (after all, you’d have to be an Arsenal defender to have those qualities), John Terry is without doubt a player who always puts their body on the line for their team, and quite literally. Sometimes you must think what goes on in his head, when you see him almost dolphin dive (sorry for yet another gaming pun) head first right into the epicentre of a powerful shot, but you must admire his ability to not only throw his head where others wouldn’t stick their foot, but also his capability in clearing the ball out of danger. He’s the type of defender Arsenal desperately need, one who will not succumb to constant aerial bombardments in the penalty box, a player who will not only willingly go for every ball but also acknowledge when he should leave it to a team-mate and communicate accordingly. For me, disregarding his lack of technical ability, I’d love to have a player like Terry in our back four.
Eyes – Dennis Bergkamp
I never saw that much of Bergkamp, and what an utter shame that is. Nevertheless, what little I did see, was enough to convince me that Bergkamp was an absolute delight of a player. He wasn’t as prolific as Henry, but he made up for this through his ingenious playmaking and cheeky finishes. I always used to think “blimey, where’s that pass going” only to find it almost magically find its way into the feet of another player, Bergkamp made it look all too easy and for a player of his standard, hell it probably was.
Mouth – Patrick Vieira
Whenever something needed to be said, with Paddy in the team you could be well assured it would. He was a leader on and off the pitch, putting players both team-mates and opponents alike in place, and as far as our bitter rivals were concerned Vieira used to put the bite into those matches. In recent years, Arsenal vs Manchester United fixtures have appeared to somewhat lose that spark they used to have about them. We used to share a fierce rivalry equal to our North London counterparts, with 22-man brawls in abundance. Who will ever forget the clash between Vieira and Keane in the tunnel?
Lungs – Michael Essien
Every team needs that midfield powerhouse, the player who covers every blade of grass and quite frankly gets on with it and enjoy working tirelessly for their team. Work rate can make an average player look undeservingly good, and whilst players like Jay Spearing and Lee Cattermole may fit in that bracket, Essien brings the best of both – he’s quite simply an outstanding midfielder who also happens to do the dirty work too. Tenacious, assertive and nothing short of a fighter, he’s an example for some of the more sedentary central midfielders (particularlu at Arsenal, unfortunately) and it is certainly a positive note that Emmanuel Frimpong happens to be a compatriot, as Essien can only have a productive influence on his career.
Left Foot – Robin van Persie
Unsurprisingly, this was a difficult choice what with Roberto Carlos’ utterly outrageous history of putting fear into the walls of teams across the globe, but Robin pips him to the line for me simply because I’ve seen more of him and to be quite frank I’d always pick an Arsenal player over a Real Madrid one. My first memory of van Persie was his last minute equaliser at Highbury against Southampton. It depicts everything that is amazing about his left foot – his dribbling ability, agile manoeuvring and above all the sweetest of shooting I’ve ever seen in the red and white. Of course, he bettered that goal the next season with another beauty against Blackburn and let’s not forget his acrobatic volley against Charlton in the same season. I could go on and list another ten wonderful goals but in the interest of my reluctance at unearthing more YouTube clips, I’ll conclude by saying that not only does Robin have an exquisite left foot, he has such an expansive versatility in striking the ball. He’s got (or had) a knack for launching rockets into the net from set pieces, sending penalties into the corner even when the ‘keeper dives the right way, but above all his clinical finishing (particularly the latter half of this season) is testament to Robin’s truly immaculate left foot.
Right Foot – David Beckham
When I was younger, despite being an Arsenal fan I always admired Beckham despite his Manchester allegiance, and to be honest he was somewhat of a role model for me. He was the player that I’d always try to be in the school playground, being a midfielder myself I persisted with attempting curving the ball around players and sorry for the cliché but ‘Bend it like Beckham’. As far as striking the ball is concerned, he had it all. He was a pass-master, over short distances and long, and further to this he popped up with the long range screamer now and again. His set pieces were in my opinion the best in the world, his eagle-like vision and precision from these situations made him one of the finest dead ball experts to have ever graced the game.