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Could have been Arsenal Greats.

Over the years we have had some truly great players. The likes of Rocastle, Adams, Seaman, Merson, Wrighty, Bergkamp, Overmars, Vieira, Pires and Henry have graced us over the years.
We have also had a lot of crap.
However, there is a group of players who are somewhere in the middle but had all the ability to be great.

Wojciech Szczesny
While Almunia, Fabianski and Mannone were all keeping goal for Arsenal in the 2009/10 season, Szczesny was impressing while out on loan at Brentford. At just 20 he was showing all the ability to suggest he would get to the top of the game. Coming back, he quickly moved ahead of Mannone, while Fabianski was ahead of Almunia and it was becoming a fight between the Poles. It was a fight won by Woj, as he became the undisputed #1 in the 11/12 season. Injuries in 12/13 season let Fabianski (and Mannone) back in. In 13/14 he was back as #1, and won the Golden Gloves award - shared with his future ultimate replacement Cech. He had to sit out our FA Cup final win, as Wenger stuck with his cup keeper Fabianski.
The next season, though, was the start of the end for Woj at Arsenal. Mistakes had always been a blight on his career - partially to blame for the Birmingham League Cup winner being the biggest example - but his performance against Southampton in January 15 was just part of a bad day. He was caught smoking in the showers after the game and never made a Premier League appearance again. He did return for the FA Cup, and finally had his day in the sun, keeping a clean sheet in the 4-0 final win over Villa. It proved to be the end of his Arsenal career. He went on loan to Roma, and despite proving a sucess over 2 seasons (where he kept a certain PL champion to be out the team), he was sold to Juventus for just £10m where he has won Serie A twice.

A number of factors stopped Szczesny really reaching his potential. He was thrown into a pretty average side at a young age, there have been a lot of criticism of his coach (Gerry Peyton), his own personality (although he has been praised by Guido Nanni for his dedication in training and desire to improve), his smoking habit (he was also dropped by Roma for a repeat).

A player who should have spent over a decade as Arsenals number 1 only made 132 league appearances for the club. A real shame.

Samir Nasri
Despite being 21 when he joined us, Nasri already had over 100 league appearances for Marseille. From the start there was a lot expectation on him, and he got the fans excited by scoring on his league debut. His first season was solid, without really excelling. Some comparisons were made with Pires (who also had a slow start).
Unfortunately, his second season at the club saw him start on the sidelines, and he never really recovered. Arsenal fans were still waiting to see the best of Nasri, whose form failed to get him into the France World Cup squad.
The 2010/11 season finally saw Nasri at his best - although his great form was overshadowed by Jack Wilshere, meaning it has been largely overlooked as to how good he was.
He was Arsenals second top scorer that season, with 10 goals in the league (RvP got 18) plus another 5 in other competitions. He was named in the PFA team of the year (alongside Jack). Despite finishing 4th, there was a light beginning to shine on the squad - led by Fabregas, but including free-scoring and largely injury free RvP, young star Wilshere, Szczesny breaking through in goal, Koscielny, Arshavin...
Nasri only played one more game for Arsenal, a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool in the 11/12 seasons second game. A week after Fabregas left for Barcelona, Nasri signed for Manchester City. Just 3 seasons at Arsenal, Nasri left without really truly showing the class he clearly had. He played his part in 2 title wins for City, justifying his move from us if he needed to.

Overall Nasri's career will be looked at as unfulfilled potential (despite 2 PL medals). He only made 41 appearances for France, and only played at one major international tournament following his move to England (he made a couple of appearances at Euro 08 before then, then Euro12 he was a starter including an equaliser against England). His attitude has been blamed (Gallas particularly critical), and he has made the headlines for off the field activities too much.

Nicolas Anelka
The man whose sale got us Thierry Henry and a massive upgrade to our training facilities.
As a 17 year old at PSG (before they were super rich), Anelka was one of the hottest properties in world football, and Wenger beat a host of clubs to bring him to Arsenal.
Anelka made a few cameo appearances in the 96/97 season, including his full debut on the final day of the season. It was the 97/98 season, though, that really saw him begin to shine. With Ian Wright showing signs of his age, Anelka was knocking on the door. He got his first chance to start in a shocking 3-0 defeat to Derby. The great Manchester United was the next game, and Anelka scored his first Arsenal goal in a 3-2 win that perhaps didn't seem as important at the time as it turned out to be. He got an assist in the return match at Old Trafford - a game that seemed very significant at the time. In the end, he started 15 PL games and scored 6 times. He also played twice in the FA Cup, including a goalscoring final appearance.
The 98/99 season saw Anelka firmly established as Bergkamps strike partner, and he responded by scoring 17 league goals in 34 starts. Although the season didn't bring the rewards of the previous one, he was the PFA Young Player of the year and made the team of the year. Now, though, he was on the radar of the football giants Real Madrid. Not many people say no to them, and Anelka, and his brothers, were no exception.
What followed was one of the weirdest careers. Pretty much flopped at Real, but won the Champions League. Was part of the 2000 European Championship winning French squad. A return to PSG, a loan to Liverpool, a move to Manchester City (before they were a top club). Then onto Fenerbache and a league title. Back to England with Bolton! On to Chelsea for a second PL title, after missing the crucial CL final penalty, then to China, to Juventus in a title winning season, back to the PL with WBA before ending his career in India.

His move to Real was perhaps too early, when he could have really established himself in the PL with Arsenal. He could have been Thierry Henry, he certainly had the ability. Another one whose mentality could be questioned. But it is hard to criticise someone for having their head turned by Real, and it undoubtably turned out well for us.


Others would be Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby (both succumbing to bad injuries early in their careers), Rosicky and Cazorla (could have been so much better for us if their injuries didn't step in the way), Adebayor (that one season!), possibly RvP (injuries then departure when he finally stepped up), Vermaelen (was his first season overhyped, or is he another injury victim?). Many are victims of the time, joining Arsenal when we couldn't compete at the top.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

comment by D'Jeezus Mackaroni (U1137)
posted 5 hours, 11 minutes ago
Reyes wasnt helped by his racist national manager.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
? Before my time, but I don't know what you're referring to, there.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

I think he means aragones, though I could be wrong

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Yeah, Aragones told Reyes "Tell that black shiiit that you are better than him." (in reference to Henry).

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Did think of Reyes, but he never really pushed on to be a top player after leaving arsenal, despite playing at good clubs

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

comment by D'Jeezus Mackaroni (U1137)
posted 11 minutes ago
Yeah, Aragones told Reyes "Tell that black shiiit that you are better than him." (in reference to Henry).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Christ. Why did he do that? Did Reyes take it on board?

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

comment by Giröulski Alt-153 and Alt-160 forever (U14971)
posted 4 seconds ago
comment by D'Jeezus Mackaroni (U1137)
posted 11 minutes ago
Yeah, Aragones told Reyes "Tell that black shiiit that you are better than him." (in reference to Henry).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Christ. Why did he do that? Did Reyes take it on board?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Trying to motivate him I think. Once it hit the headlines it became a thing, i think.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Reyes came from a small village. People forget that Arogones also used to abuse him by calling him a gypsy. (its derogatory in Spain for being backward). Didn't bother him.

I think as with a lot of players, they never really adjusted mentally at Arsenal. Talent wasn't really in question. Reyes and Anelka both won trophies at Arsenal. So you could say they had the potential to be great had they continued their development. Others meh. Anelka had a terrific career. One that got away.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

comment by D'Jeezus Mackaroni (U1137)
posted 24 minutes ago
comment by Giröulski Alt-153 and Alt-160 forever (U14971)
posted 4 seconds ago
comment by D'Jeezus Mackaroni (U1137)
posted 11 minutes ago
Yeah, Aragones told Reyes "Tell that black shiiit that you are better than him." (in reference to Henry).
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Christ. Why did he do that? Did Reyes take it on board?
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Trying to motivate him I think. Once it hit the headlines it became a thing, i think.


----------------------------------------------------------------------
Incredibly stupid thing to say, even leaving the morality out of it. Henry was arguably the best player in the world at that time and demonstrably several levels above. The absurdity of it alone means it would be ineffective.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

comment by Tu Meke - He'sGotRedHair! (U3732)
posted 22 minutes ago
Did think of Reyes, but he never really pushed on to be a top player after leaving arsenal, despite playing at good clubs
----------------------------------------------------------------------

That's true, but is exactly why I feel he could have been so much more had he settled with us. As Lex said, he was so exciting on his day, rocket of a left peg and for me was a first real introduction to 'spanish flair'.

Should have kicked on during his 20's but seemed poorly motivated/advised.

posted 3 weeks, 1 day ago

Dj what do you consider as middling? Winning a minor trophy?

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