Thursday, August 26, 2010

On Arshavin and Ben Arfa

"I want to win the Champions League. [When I retire] I want to be remembered as a small Russian guy who did some magic things where people did not understand how he did it."

- Andrei Arshavin, a magician

Andrei Arshavin wants a lot of things. He wants to be a magician. He wants to be remembered as a small Russian guy. And he also wants to win the Champions League. The first is plausible. The second is probable. And the third? If he achieves that with the Arsenal, he'll definitely be remembered as a small Russian guy who does magic things.

It's difficult for Arshavin because he's being played out of position. We should really play him as a withdrawn striker behind the centre-forward, and make him the focal point of our attack. We should keep Cesc level with Song, and give Cesc the Xavi role. We should play van Persie and Walcott on the flanks, and we should have Chamkah as our centre-forward. As for Nasri, Diaby, Denilson, Rosicky, Wilshere and Eboue, we should bench them and only give them games when they show that they can (a) keep fit, and (b) work like hell during matches.

Arshavin has aspirations to do magic. Let's give him the stage to pull rabbits out of his hat.

As a aside, The First Post is linking us with Hatem Ben Arfa, with a bid of £12m being mooted. It's a signing that would kill Jack Wilshere, but I've got to admit that it's a bit tasty. I have a soft spot for fragile, attacking French play-makers. There's a certain je ne sais quoi about them. Like Nasri, who has bundles of talent but no consistency. Or Diaby, who has all the physical attributes of a great midfielder, but none of the application. These guys frustrate with their potential, but they've got so much potential that they hook you in and make you keep faith with them.

My favourite Championship Manager side has a five-man midfield of Ben Arfa, Wilshere, Fabregas and Nasri as the four inter-changing, creative attacking players, and Sankhare as the defensive anchor. It was amazing - my side played like Barcelona, but with French players in Arsenal colours. At times, it was as beautiful as watching youTube highlights from our Invincible season. And if we sign Ben Arfa, we're going to field 80% of my Championship Manager midfield. That side won over ten leagues and ten Champions Leagues in a row, was unbeaten for three years, and made a profit from transfer signings every year. Is it possible that with 80% of my CM midfield, we'll have 80% of my CM success?

I hope so.

Then again, it'll be a weird transfer if it happens. I'm not sure where we could play Ben Arfa. He's a winger / withdrawn striker type of player. He'll be competing with Cesc, Nasri, Rosicky and Arshavin for the same position. If we're buying him as cover for Frimpong, it'll be a strange, strange deal. Unless we're buying him so we can convert him into a goalkeeper....

So on the 243rd last day of my 20s, I went to work, had my hair styled, had dinner with a friend and got a couch and a bedside table. I've got a spiky, twisted kind of hair style at the moment, held together with a combination of wax and gel. It's quite a feat of engineering. I'm not sure about it. The friend who did it for me is quite impressed by her handiwork, but other people shrug their shoulders and say it's alright, but it was alright before as well. I thinking I should think less about my hair.

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