Thursday, 28 June 2012

Goal Of The Season 2011/12

In light of seeing a rather bemusing Arsenal 'goals of the season' order on YouTube the other day, I've decided to come up with my own order of Arsenal's best goals from last season. I think we scored better goals than we did in 2010/11, we scored more from outside the box and there were more 'crackers' than there were last term.

5) Mikel Arteta vs Manchester City

This strike was a great one. It was against the best team in the league, he did well to intercept the ball and then made the right decision to dribble forward and smash it home from about 25 yards. What adds to the quality is the fact that it was late on against a top team and it was the winner, which makes it even more impressive that he had the confidence to shoot from this range, rather than pass the ball to a team-mate.

4) Robin Van Persie vs Tottenham

Again, this scores extra points because of the size of the match, but everything about Van Persie's contribution to this goal was maginificent. He picked the ball up, turned past two defenders and whipped it into the far corner of the net, out of the goalkeeper's reach. It was tremendous skill and confidence and it showed what a wand that left foot of his is (not to mention the intelligence it took to pull it off).

3) Robin Van Persie vs Liverpool

This was another massive match with a special goal. Robin Van Persie managed to stay onside as Alex Song played him through with a terrific through ball, over the top of the defence, before carefully and accurately side- fotting the ball in the net at the near post with his sweet left foot. It was a fabulous goal that required excellent tehcnique, conposure and audacity and Van Persie had all of them. Song's pass was brilliant on it's own, but it was put into the shadows by Van Persie fantastic volley in stoppage at Anfield to grab a late winner against Liverpool on their own ground.

2) Mikel Arteta vs Aston Villa

This was less of a high- profile game, but that doesn't take anything away from the true quality of this goal. It was a thirty yard freekick that was struck so cleanly and sweetly into the top corner of the goal, without any deflection or goalkeeper intervention. A wonderful freekick.

1) Robin Van Persie vs Everton

How appropriate that the goal of the season came on the day the club celebrated it's 125 year anniversary, with a lot of the club's legends there to watch it. Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Ian Wright, they'd have all been extremely proud to have scored the goal Van Persie scored in this game. It is also appropriate that it was the winning goal and the only goal of the game. Alex Song collected the ball in the centre of the pitch and lofted a beautiful through ball over the top of the Everton defence to Van Persie, much like against Liverpool. Van Persie then hit it so sweetly first time on his left foot, very accurately and powerfully into the far corner of the goal, where Tim Howard stood no chance. It took tremendous skill and technique to succeed in that volley and the way it flew into the back of the net, off the post, without any deflections or mis- accuracies, was just amazing. It was an awesome goal and one worthy of winning any game for any club. It summed up Arsenal as a club on their 125 year anniversary. A brilliant pass, an excellent volley with perfect accuracy and power and a superb goal overall.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Here Endeth The Adventure

Well, after two unsuccessful demonstrations today and viewing my contract, I've decided to parts ways with Skah Ltd/ IDG/ Carico/ any other name they've bloody got. I think they've been deceitful, immoral and manipulative in the things about the job they hid from me until I found out the hard way and with what they do as a company, in terms of scamming people into giving them the opportunity to flog ridiculously priced products.

I've met some characters that give me some comical material, such as 'LSD', 'Ronaldo Man', Manny (aka 'Mr Potato Head') and 'Scottish One'. I've also made a friend in Mel from my short spell there and gained knowledge and know- how of the outside world and what to look out for in future working situations and contracts.

I've had a few 'oh yeah, remember that?' moments and it's been an experience that I will look back on fondly. 'Ronaldo Man', a colleague that coincidentally is also called Manny, makes me laugh on the basis he seems to be in love with Cristiano Roanldo, constantly raving about him and saying how mch and why's he's better than Lionel Messi in his opinion. Although I do agree with him on that. But it was the excessive lovin' that tickles me.

Peter was another person that made an impression on me... despite that impression being that he's a bit wierd and looks like Julian from 5-a- side. Manny with his annoying American accent and silly demands, as well as smoking grass all the time. (Not to mention him looking like 'Mr Potato Head' from 'Toy Story'.) Mia and Isobella, the two hot women that work there, the 'Bristol bloke' who sounds like he should have been in 'Hot Fuzz' and always says 'alright mayyyyte' in his strong Bristol tone.

It's been a bit of a laugh. I haven't even mentioned Russ and Dwayne- Russ with the dog stab vests and laughable arrogance and Dwayne with his funny teeth (or lack of, as the case may be) and laughing at his own jokes when no- one else is. 'Nate', who looks an awful lot like Phil Jones, the Manchester United player.

Ah well, onwards and upwards to the next job. The search has already started.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Be Quiet Scottish One

'Alright there quiet one' said the 30- odd year old Scottish bloke that works at IDG to me, as I ate my battered sausage and chips. 'Yeah' I said back, thinking 'fuck off you patronising twat'. He was stood there with 2 or 3 of the other salesmen and women and I was stood on my own as I don't know anyone really and it was awkward for me to go and stand with them because they were on the step, which happened to be blocking me from standing up there with them.

So I just thought 'ah well, screw 'em' and carried on eating my abnormally hot, but very nice, battered sausage and chips. So, this Scottish bloke has already got off to a bad start with me. I didn't appreciate being belittled and called 'the quiet one'.

This was all yesterday by the way. After that, I spent the whole afternoon with the very attractive Mel, the blonde girl I've referred to in one or two previous blog articles last week. We spent the afternoon in her car, just the two of us, driving round to people's houses and back trying to flog them these air and water filtration systems. We bonded a bit, but sometimes stuggled for things to talk about. It wasn't awkward, we talked a fair bit about each other and got on really well. I'd sort of decided in my head that I was going to ask her out and thought I'd do it when we're on our way back to the office for the last time before I made my jolly way over the Halifax for football that evening.
This way, if she said 'no', it wouldn't be awkward for the rest of the afternoon like it would have been if I'd have got turned down at 1pm or something.

However, on our way back from appointment number 2 at about 4.30pm, we sat in her car toegther and I thought 'right, I'm going to ask her now, I've just got to wait for the right moment'. Unfortunately, she turned the music up really loudly so we could barely hear each other. 'Unfortunate street name there' I said in an attempt to amuse her and get her to turn down the sodding music on 'Capital FM' so I could talk to her, as we passed 'Cockshott Lane'. It worked to an extent, as it made her laugh. But she turned the music back up again straight after.

So I didn't get the chance. We parted ways on Richardshaw Lane as she went back to the office and I set off for the train station to get to football. I rued my missed opportunity as I sat on the train to Halifax, thinking about Mel and my damn hesitant self.

But I thought, 'right, tomorrow I've just got to go for it, I'm just going to ask her'. So my only objective at work today was to ask Mel out. Screw selling air filters. We were in the office all morning, but I couldn't get her on her own. Then, we were in the reception area with a few other people coming in and out. I was practising my sales patter by writing it down and she was having a 'cuppa'. Then the Scottish guy came in to constantly chat her up. 'Is this guy for real?' I thought as he bragged about himself, only to be constantly turned down. 'Haha' I thought, 'serves you right you cocky jock'. He kept asking and finally got her to show interest in a party he's supposedly going to soon. 'Damn' I thought. Despite this, she still wasn't showing much interest or enthusiasm and instead was like 'alright' but they never made any proper arrangements or exchanged numbers.

Then finally, as I was about to depart for home, we got a minute- just the two of us in the reception area. I say 'the two of us', but Isobella, a woman who works there, came storming in just as I began. Spurred on by her surrender to Scottish guy's persistance, I asked her: 'do you fancy going out for a drink sometime? Tonight or next week?' 'Yeah, why not' she immediately said. 'Yes!' I thought, 'I'm in!'

I asked her for her number so we could arrange a date to go on. She's won a trip to Wales with work, so my original idea of Saturday night was off. So she wrote down her number and I kissed it as I walked down Richardshaw Lane after I left the office. She left at the same time, which probably worked in my favour as I realised I didn't have any time for hesitation.

I genuinely think she has some interest in me, just by the way she looks at me and the way she said 'yeah why not' straight away without any significant hesitation. She seemed pleased to see me back on Thursday after I'd not come in on Wednesday and just seems to like me. I might be wrong, she might not have any interest in me whatsoever as a potential boyfriend, she must just like me as a 'friend from work'. But who knows? How do you know when a girl likes you anyway, without her telling you?

So I left worked with a big, silly grin on my face, getting real egotistical satisfaction out of the fact she said 'yes' to me straight away and seemed very reluctant to socialise with Scottish guy. I thought 'be quiet Scottish one' as I took satisfaction from the karma and the irony.

Who's he kidding anyway? She's 21 and he's in his thirties. It's almost barbaric! He's too old for her and I can hardly picture them being together in the future, especially seen as he's not exatcly Tom Cruise in the looks department.

Tom 1-0 Scottish guy. I'm still a little concerned that he might be wearing her down into going to this party with him, but she seems to be more interested in me than him, so it's all about what I do now I think. The main thing is I achieved my objective of asking her out and she said 'yes'. Plus, we should have more time to bond with each other than she will with him, as I'd imagine we'll work together more in future weeks.

So, to conclude, I don't know if it's a date, but it probably is. It is as far as I'm concerned, but the important thing is that it's mission accomplished for today. Now I'm going to mentally rejoice in the irony of that patronising git being given the elbow by her, whilst I've got a date with her at the first time of asking. Once again, 'be quiet Scottish one'.



Sorry, a bit of football chanting came in there, it's one of the ways I celebrate victory in almost any situation! (Football can relate to anything in life, I find.)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Do you sell LSD?

I've had another 2 or 3 days of interesting endeavours at IDG and have met some peculiar characters. One being a lad a few years older than me, who has his initials tattoed on his neck. Now, if your initials spell out a rude word or abbreviation, or a drug, you wouldn't tattoo them on your body for everyone to see would you?

Well, this guy would. His initials are 'LSD' and he has the tattooed on his neck. What did he do that for? If his name was 'Andrew Simon Stephenson' or 'Norman Oliver Brosnan' would he have still tattooed his initials on his neck? I'd understand it if you had initials that spelt out nothing and were just random, like mine (TDL) or almost anyone else's, but the one person I know who has his initials tattooed on himself, is the guy whose initials spell out a class A drug. You couldn't make it up could you? Just when I thought Russ with his dog stab vests was odd...

Anyway, Russ is away this week because he's on holiday. He's probably taken his dog's to a less stab- happy country. Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting some Asian bloke a few years older than me. 'Is this seat taken?' I asked him as I arrived for our morning meeting, stood behind the affore- mentioned chair, which had a mug on the table in front of it and a handbag on the floor also next to it. He seemed to take an eternity to respond but did eventually and nodded. 'OK' I said, as I began walking towards a seat at the other side of the room before a nice girl informed me that the seat in question wasn't taken and that unknown Asian boy was being a prick. She didn't say the 'prick' part, I added that myself as he was indeed a prick. He never gave me eye contact and just talked as if I wasn't there to her, which was very rude. 'I don't get why he's sking if someone's sat there' he said to her. Well pal, there's a fucking handbag on the floor next to it and a mug of tea on the table in front of it, but no- one is sat in the chair. This implies that someone has vacated the chair but is set to return, so excuse me for having the manners to enquire as to the availability of the chair, instead of just plonking my backside on it wthout question, like some ignorant arsehole like yourself, who hasn't even got the decency to talk to me or even look at me as if I'm a human being. You can tell this idiot wound me up can't you? I wasn't this aggressive with him, as we were in an office, but I didn point out the chair and mug to him, but he didn't say anything. Judging him on my first impression of him, that was probably because he was too thick to say anything, the lifeless, ignorant dick head.

I am actually thinking of quitting. That's not because it's too hard or because I'm not good enough, it's more because I want a normal, reliable job that's easier to get to and has proper, arranged hours. I'd also like to work somewhere where my boss is more professional and organised and somewhere where I don't have to go round knocking on people's doors, conning them into having demo's with us set up so we can try flogging them air and water filtrations systems. I just want a normal, honest job. The most concerning part of this job is that I think I just get paid for the demo's I do and not the 'regging' (which is the knocking around on doors). I don't think I'm getting paid for anything I'm doing at the moment and this work takes a lot of effort and tolerance, so I don't want to stay somewhere where I'm not getting paid and where I potentially have to work ridiculous hours.

I keep going on a 'see what happens tomorrow' basis, so keep putting the decision off, but is there any point in me working a few more days and then quitting without any payment? No, of course not, it would make more sense to quit now if I'm not getting paid, but I feel obliged to stay incase I do start getting paid soon. I just don't know what to do at the moment. Any suggestions?

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Fixtures Time!

I've been so swept up in the Euro's this year that I almost forgot about the Premier League fixtures coming out tomorrow. It's a big day in the male side of the Lee family household as we eagerly anticipate the fixtures and immediately look for who Everton and Arsenal are playing on the opening day, when the derbies are, who each team is playing arounc Christmas, where our first away game will be, that sort of thing.

I'll be scouring the internet, including, for rumours tonight as there are usually some correct rumours as to who Arsenal have got on the opening day of the season. Although how they know is beyond me. Funnily enough though, the most exciting thing for me on fixture release day isn't Arsenal's fixtures, it's Everton's, because I go to the majority of their games and look forward to when they play the likes of Liverpool and Man Utd at home.

My Dad says wherever Everton are playing on the opening day of the season, we'll go. Even if it means a mega treck down to Southampton. So I'm personally hoping for that sort of fixture, because it'll be like a bonus game to go to. If they get a home game or an away game at somewhere like Wigan, we'll be going to that anyway, so I'd like one we wouldn't normally go to.

We have the fortune of being in the '6+ away games and season ticket holders' category in the ticketing system at Everton so can go to any game we want pretty much. The only thing I ask is that it's not Arsenal v Everton or Everton v Arsenal on the opening day. (Although last time that happened in 2009, Arsenal won 6-1 at Goodison Park... ah good times.)

So, it's exciting and the fixtures I'll be looking for first will be the opening day games for Everton and Arsenal, when Everton are playing Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham at home and who they play around Christmas. Bring it on!

My predictions for the opening day are:

Arsenal v Aston Villa (new manager sydrome danger)
Everton v West Ham

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Stab Vests For Dogs

Over the last 8 days, I've had a job interview, a second interview and been invited to join the company's training course in preparation for working for them. So long story short, I've got a job. It's a pretty good one as well. I'll supposedly get £1200 a month if I attend the appointments they set for me, and will get more if I manage to make bonus sales through voluntary sales.

Basically, the job is selling air a water filtration systems, presenting them to customers to do so. I'll be given places to go by my employers, IDG/ Carico/ Skah Ltd and will attend those appointments and show those customers, in their homes apparently (but I imagine I'll be selling them to businesses as well), the products.

I won't be a Del Boy, but I will be teaching them about the products and why they should buy them. My wage isn't dependant on me making sales, which is good as it means there's less pressure, but I'm quite daunted by the prospect of telling strangers about the products and why they should purchase them off me after listening to me yak on about boring stuff like air and water.

But that's next week's problem. I've been on the second day of my training course today. It's been pretty enjoyable, everybody there is friendly and welcoming. It's quite layed back and informal there too, which I like.

There are one or two odd characters there. Most of them have provided me with private amusement, one being 'Russ' who's a 40 or 50- odd year bloke from Brighton who likes to think he's in the know about everything and 'speaks for the people'. He's got a confident southern accent and is basically a bit annoying. He's a really nice bloke to be fair, he just yammers on a bit too much for my liking. He's got dogs too, he was telling us, and he has apparently bought hem 'dog stab vests'.

Now, I'm sure when you read the title of my article, and the above sentence, you thought 'eh, what's he on about?' And that's exactly what I, and everyone else in the room thought when he informed us about this fact of his life. How the subject came up I don't know, but he says these 'dog stab vests' exist. 'Well, people can stab your dog' he says. Who? Who is going to stab a dog? And why would they stab a dog?

I don't know where he lives, but where I come from, dog stabbing lunatics aren't too much of a worry for me. We've got two dogs and I love them to bits, but I've never thought of them as being in danger of being stabbed.

The whole thing seemed pretty bizarre. Infact, I'll google them now... bloody hell, he wasn't bullshitting us, it is a real thing! They cost around £110 and you can buy them online. Well, I never. Well, you learn something every day don't you? (Apart from the days you don't.)

Anyway, elsewhere there's another slightly irritating bloke who looks like a cross between th bigger half of 'Penn and Teller' and Johnny Vegas. Yeah... a right ugly git that looks like he could swallow you whole. Again, he's a lovely bloke so I feel a bit bad picking on him here, but I'm going to anyway.

He's one of thos people who laughs at his own jokes, or 'jokes'. He'll say something, usually not very amusing, and then laugh as if he's just told a side splitter. Plus, when he laughs, he opens his mouth wide and shows us his ugly, mishapen, half- missing teeth. I made the mistake of sitting opposite him yesterday.

On a more positive note, there's a young, blonde girl there about my age called Melissa. She's from Middlesborough and is very pretty, so I'm hoping I see more often. After 5 minutes of being there today, I'd married her and become a fireman. The bloke running the training course used us as his role- play married couple when he was showing us how to sell the product and asked me what job I did (my character). I said a fireman, because I thought it was a cool- ish job and was a much better option than the other thing that popped into my head when he suddenly asked me- a planner (my Dad's job, sort of). Not exactly an exciting title is it?

So anyway, uncomfortable role- play, annoying yacking from Russ and eyesore teeth aside, it's been an enjoyable couple of days so far. Nah, I'm only kidding, I enjoyed all that stuff as well. It gave me a few giggles and a bit of entertainment. It's a lot better than being in a room with a load of dull, miserable people that don't speak.

I've got my final day of training tomorrow and then I've got to go practising over the weekend. Wish me luck! (I want to be able to afford a couple of those dog stab vests very soon.)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Why I'd rather be Arsenal than Man City

I realise I shouldn't fall to his pathetically low and immature level, but I feel compelled to write an article in response to Samir Nasri. We, as Gooners, must have got to him because he can't help but constantly criticise the club and it's terrific fans whenever he's faced with anyone with a microphone.

This time he's spoken of how Man City are 'much more competitive' and has implied they have better players than Arsenal. This is probably true, but you know what Samir? I'd much rather be an Arsenal fan or player than a Man City fan or player. Arsenal is a proud club, the third biggest in England and one of the biggest clubs in the world. It has a massive fanbase, only 2 or 3 clubs are supported better worldwide, it has tradition, history and a soul.

And that's the crucial word: 'soul'. Arsenal football club has a soul, Man City don't. Man City have repeatedly failed miserably for a few decades whilst Arsenal have been winning trophies and achieving success since the late 1920's- early 1930's. The only way Man City have been able to gain success is through buying it. In fact, it's taken them too long to win the league and the FA Cup, they should have done that earlier with the resources they've had for the last 5 seasons.

They've splashed £100's of millions, maybe even billions. And that's the only way they've managed to become successful. In 10 or 20 years time, Arsenal are highly likely to be still around, Man City could be cash- strapped and floundering in the lower leagues because the businessmen they are so dependant on decide they've got bored.

Arsenal have achieved their success, on the pitch and off it, through hard work, good coaching and management and investment in young players. And that's why I'd rather be Arsenal, because it's a club I can be proud of, not a club that buys success. Who's proud of that? I'm not saying Arsenal haven't spent any money, because they have, but they've only spent a pittence compared to Man City. In fact, most of the money Arsenal spend on transfers is through selling players as well.

So Samir, I would rather be at Arsenal, where the club still has a soul, actual fans (not fans that have turned up in the last 2 years) and a proud history. Of course, the priority is the future and achieving success in the here and now. But Arsenal have a chance of that, and we also have our heart still here. As opposed to the heartless, corporate, money machine that is Manchester City football club.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Euro 2012 Preview

I'm very excited about the Euro's starting tomorrow. Although I'm not too crazy about the opening games, as Group A looks amazingly mondain compared to the other groups, espcially the one that includes Germany, Holland and Portugal. How on Earth can they all be drawn together in the same group and then there be another group like group A? The seeding system needs looking at it.

But anyway, it is very exciting. In a way it's better than the World Cup because you get more interesting games, especially in the group stages. Rather than watching games like Tunisia vs Costa Rica, you're watching games like Spain v Italy, Holland v Germany and France v England. There are some mouth- watering fixtures and there are going to be two games a day for the next week and a half.

In terms of who I think will win it, my bet is Germany. I think it'll be between them, Holland and Spain. I think Spain are a bit weaker this year, Torres isn't the player he was during the last European Championships, David Villa's out injured, as is Carles Puyol.

A few of Germany's players will be on the rebound from their agonising Champions League final defeat so will be determined to make up for it with a major European trophy. They've got plenty of goals in them and plenty of attacking talent; Mario Gomez, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Mueller, Miroslav Klose (a legend of international football) and Lukas Podolski are just a few of them. The only worry for them is their defence. Are they solid enough? I don't know to be honest, it's just speculation, but Per Mertesacker is one of their first choice centre backs and he's pretty dodgy at times.

I'm looking forward to seeing the Arsenal players there; Van Persie (for now!), Walcott, Oxlade- Chamberlain, Rosicky, Szczesny et al.

Overall, it should be a good tournament and there are a few contenders for winning it. It's quite open and there are some pretty good teams around at the moment; Spain, Holland, Germany, France, England, Portugal etc.

I think Poland may spring a surprise and get to the quarter finals, England will get to the semi's, knocking out Spain in the process, and it will be a Germany v Holland final with Germany winning. The big early departures I think will be Portugal and Italy, with Croatia qualifying from group C at the expense of the 2006 World Cup winners.

I think England will do OK. They'll be quite dull with 'Woy' in charge and I think Walcott and Oxlade- Chamberlain will get at least some deserved game time. I've gone for Walcott to be England's top goalscorer with 3, but it remains to be seen whether he'll start the majority of the games or not. I actually think Danny Welbeck might be England's dark horse. *Finger taps nose*

Here's to three weeks of wall to wall footy!

Season Ratings: Attackers

Yossi Benayoun

7/10. Another player that has seduced me into becoming a big admirer of him after the club purchased him last summer. Like Arteta, he impresses me with the way his works so hard, shows a lot of responsibility and his attitude is great. He's notched quite a lot of goals too, to say he wasn't a regular starter in the team. He creates a nice balance between the midfield and attack during games and I would like us to sign him permanently from Chelsea.


6/10. Impressed me at first, but his shortage of determination and goals has often made me quite frustrated at him. He drifts in and out of games, but has talent and he just needs to up his determination and confidence levels and he'll become a much better player I think.

Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain

7/10. He would have probably been an 8 out of 10 (not cats) if he'd have played more. He tore Man Utd apart at the Emirates, only to be taken off for Arshavin, who allowed Man Utd to grab the winner. He's scored some good goals, Shrewsbury and Olympiakos for instance. He's been very influential most of the time he's played, which makes me wonder why he hasn't played more. He ran AC Milan ragged at the Emirates until getting a knock. He's just going to be a big star by the looks of it. Hopefully we can keep him for a very long time. I hope to see him playing in centre midfield more next season, and just more generally.

Theo Walcott

8/10. He just scrapes an 8. He has had to take on a much more senior role this season after the departures of Fabregas and Nasri, and the injury to Wilshere. So he has had that to deal with, as well as playing with irregular right backs, such as having to help out Carl Jenkinson and Francis Coquelin. He got better as the season went on and shone in particular against Tottenham and Blackburn at the Emirates, as well as scoring very crucial goals in both legs against Udinese. (That seems forever ago!) And let's not forget his terrific goal at Chelsea in the 5-3 win. I don't, however, think it's been his best season, I thought that was 2010/11 when he made more runs inside and in behind the defence, and probably scored more. But I think this has been a close second.

The other thing with Walcott is that he's assisted loads of goals this season, especially for Van Persie, so he has been a crucial part of Arsenal's season, a season of transition and, often, difficulty. And that's why he gets an 8.

Andrey Arshavin

4/10. Where do I start? His laziness? His poor attitude? His poor performances? Or maybe his defensive sluggishness? He's been pathetically poor and was one of the players who should have been looking to take on a more senior role after Fabregas and Nasri left, he was one of the players who had the experience to be able to handle such responsibility. But did he do that? No, of course he didn't.

Robin Van Persie

9.5/10. He scores when he wants you know. (I was at the game when that song was born.) Anyway, what can I say about him that hasn't already been said? I think calling Arsenal 'a one man team' is very harsh and not true, but he has carried us at times over the last year. He scored 37 goals during the 2011/12 season and assisted a fair few too. He's lead by example and scored in big games, such as his hat- trick at Chelsea and his goals against Liverpool away, Tottenham at home and Man Utd. He even looked good at AC Milan when the rest of the team were awful. He's been an absolute magician who's single- handedly won us games and scored top class goals to do so, such as his volley winners against Everton and Liverpool.

Marouane Chamakh

4/10. He has almost always disappointed when played and would have got a 5 if it wasn't for his woeful attitude on the pitch and his poor behaviour off it. Hardly scored and hardly tried. A really poor season for someone who should have been helping out Van Persie more than he did by taking some of the weight off his shoulders with a bit more effort and a few more goals. It's the poor attitude that winds me up about him.

Ju Young Park

5/10. Hardly played, whether that's his fault for not impressing in training or in games, or just not getting in because of Van Persie's fitness and form, I don't know. He doesn't look good enough for Arsenal, but he does gain points for his delightful winner against Bolton in the Carling Cup, as well as having a good, positive, hard working attitude when on the pitch. Something the affore- mentioned Chamakh hasn't shown of late.

Overall, it's been a rollercoaster of a season with many ups and downs, some great moments and some really bad ones. I think it's been a season where the squad has become more 'together', as well as being one where Arsenal football club has become more of a unit. The players, manager, fans and everybody at the club just seems more 'together' and in harmony. Hopefully we can keep hold of Van Persie and move on from this season of transition and seriously challenge for trophies next season... and maybe even win one or two.