Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bye Bye Bobby

The worst kept secret of the close season was confirmed today when Robert Pires left Arsenal to join Villareal on a two year contract.

It seems quite a simple one in one out transaction with Rosicky coming in to take up that creative role in the team.

Pires has always been one of my favourite Arsenal players of the last half decade. Whilst he is the most steroetypically French of the muskateers, can you imagine how much the press would have loved him if he were English?! A left sided goal scoring creative metronome that kept the side ticking and can have an impact from the bench! The fact he is French and made one dive that resulted in a penalty against journo favourite Harry Redknapp meant he was never going to be a media darling.

Being French was never a problem for me, but these idiot writers never wrote about the good parts of his game.
The 19 goals in the unbeaten run, the fact he was consistently in the top scorer charts as a midfielder, his amazing form before he did his knee in during the 2002 Double season. Put simply, he did what Paul Scholes had done in the 1990's but being French, the press wouldn't take to it. Imagine if Lampard was French; they wouldn't give him half the coverage and praise he gets and Frank the Tank has only done what the influential Pires has done for under half the amount of time!!

I had a conversation once with a mate of mine about Overmars leaving. He was gutted but when I heard Pires was coming, I thought there was potential for a better player there. Whilst Overmars was great, he was very much a 'match winner in 1 game, disappeared for the next 2' type of player. Pires however, had as much influence as a central player, even though he was out on the wing. And if he hadn't scored, you could be damn sure he's played a part in the build up.

He has been an integral part of the Arsenal teams of the last 6 years and will be sorely missed. Personally I think it may take more than Rosicky, in his adapting debut season to replace Pires. Even if the new boy becomes the new 'oil in the machine' - as Wenger once described Pires - how do we get 15-20 goals a season with Ljungberg forgetting to shoot and Hleb being scared to do so?
Replacing Pires is going to take more than one player and I think thats about the biggest compliment you can pay one individual footballer.

For his amazing double season where he won player of the year 2002 despite being out since March,
For his countless goals against Spurs,
For his infinite through balls to Henry that always produced goals,
For his partnership with Ash on the left hand side,
For his even more goals against Spurs,
For his amazing goal against Aston Villa,
For his sheer French-ness that annoyed everyone else so much and
For his jaw-dropping munching of PV4 in the Champions League.

So here's to Robert Pires, the Premierships most consistent and influential goal scoring midfielder of the twenty first Century and a true an Arsenal Legend.


At 12:33 pm, Blogger The Gun said...

I've actually got a lump in my throat at the news, I was seriously hoping Thierry's new contract would persuade him to stay. I loved Bobby for everything he's done for Arsenal, for all the assists, goals, sulks and Frenchness. He will be sorely missed and we have a huge experience gap to fill now that he and Dennis have both gone, likely to be followed by Sol and maybe Ash.

At 1:30 pm, Blogger Unknown said...

Bobby is a big reason why I chose to support Arsenal, when I started to follow the Premier League from Australia. Being of french background, I obviously loved everything about him that was French, but beyond all, it was the swashbuckling runs, the crossfield passes, the vision, the beautiful (Aston Vila) and not-so-beautiful goals.

Our left offensive triangle is no more: you need 3 corners to make a triangle. Henry-Pires-Cole will remain one of the fastest, most lethal combinations ever seen on a football pitch anywhere.


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