Arsenal player profiles – 2013/14

110

Keepers

Wojciech Szczesny

Nickname: Szczizzle Kicks

Pros: A keeper in the Jens Lehmann mould, he’s fearless, passionate and all kinds of bat-shit crazy. A fine shot stopper and an even better piano player.

Cons: Needs to improve his concentration. Has a dad that keeps keying Arsene’s Mercedes.

Little known fact: Recently became involved in an online row with pop starlet Justine Bieber which saw her army of fans flood him with death threats.

Lukasz Fabianski

Nickname: Hans Goalman

Pros: Looked like the real deal when called upon at the tail end of wast season, visibly more confident and vocal.

Cons: His sad eyes suggest he sometimes spends entire nights watching YouTube replays of his performance against Porto a few years back. Some parts of his body are glued together with Pritt-Stick.

Little known fact: His father invented the Hula-Hoop. You know, for kids.

Emiliano Viviano

Nickname: Italiano Almuniano

Pros: He already speaks a bit of English and once kept a clean sheet for Italy against the Faroe Islands.

Cons: Yet to score a goal during his career, possibly too many vowels in his name. Uncanny facial resemblance to you know who …

Little known fact: Can fit 3 full sized lemons, or 2 limes and a small pomegranate, in his mouth at the one time.

Defence

Carl Jenkinson

Nickname: The Total Eclipse

Pros: 100% Gooner, will run through walls for the shirt, decent cross, improving defensively.

Cons: Still a bit raw, sounding more and more like David Beckham when he talks.

Little known fact: No matter how many times it is explained to him, he cannot grasp the concept of ‘foam’.

Bacary Sagna

Nickname: Bah-kar-ee Sag-nar

Pros: Experienced, consistent, high quality right back who can also do a job at centre-half.

Cons: In the final year of his contract, sort it out Arsenal!

Little known fact: Once stopped a bank robbery by standing in front of the armed thieves and saying ‘Non’, just once. They gave themselves up.

Per Mertesacker

Nickname: Der Ent

Pros: Unflappable centre-half, great on the ball, positioning and reading of the game unrivaled. Funny guy too.

Cons: Not likely to win a sprint against Usain Bolt. Or Usain Murphy, the one-legged sheep farmer from Ballyhaunis, but still.

Little known fact: Until he was 14 he was a below average sized child, but put on a huge growth spurt after adding more kale to his diet.

Laurent Koscielny

Nickname: Le Bart Jeune

Pros: Quick, aggressive defender who gets a few goals. Has formed a fantastic partnership with Der Ent.

Cons: Picks up a few too many red cards, appears to have quite a crackable skull.

Little known fact: Had ambitions to become an actor and, as a teenager, starred as a chain smoking hoodlum in a Canal+ drama entitled ‘Les Cousins Dangereux’.

Thomas Vermaelen

Nickname: The Shafted Walloon

Pros: Hammer of a left foot, fast, aggressive. The cold dead eyes of a contract killer.

Cons: Somewhat injury prone and, when fit, not that convincing at the whole defending thing.

Little known fact: Once punched a bear straight in the face for wandering into a campsite and scaring his mother.

Kieran Gibbs

Nickname: No BeeGee

Pros: Developing into a very solid left-back who can get forward, provide attacking threat and score goals.

Cons: His injury record hangs over him still but it has been much better of late.

Little known fact: Recently set-up his own hip-hop/farmer jazz record label which he’s called ‘Beet beats’

Nacho Monreal

Nickname: El Agacharito

Pros: Experienced defender, more adapted now to English football

Cons: Language was an issue last season, let’s hope he’s been reading some Jeffrey Archer books during the summer to improve.

Little known fact: Due to an ancient familial custom, is officially at war with Burkina Faso.

Midfield:

Mikel Arteta

Nickname: The Mop

Pros: The Premier League’s most reliable passer last season, the Spaniard is as metronomic as he is disciplined. Not bad from the penalty spot.

Cons: Could it be that his hair is too thick and lustrous?

Little known fact: While at Everton Tim Cahill’s mum had to pay Mikel to be friends with her son.

Aaron Ramsey

Nickname: The Crispy Pancake

Pros: Improved beyond recognition in the last year, he’s tenacious in the tackle, loves a dribble and has an engine bigger than a Hummer.

Cons: Sometimes tries to do too much when a simple pass will suffice. His shooting could also do with improving.

Little known fact: What people think are tattoos on his leg are actually unfortunate scar tissue growth following his leg break. If viewed under a microscope they look like hundreds of little Shawcrosses being eaten by thousands of tiny rodent Coldplay fans.

Jack Wilshere

Nickname: Exclamation Mark!

Pros: The best homegrown player to come out of the Arsenal Academy since Liam Brady, he’s tenacious, driven, tidy on the ball and has the vision of a cat wearing night vision goggles.

Cons: Still trying to find his best form following a two year battle trying to overcome a niggly ankle injury. Has guts, just bad ones when it’s the North London derby.

Little known fact: Was 17 years of age before he realised that cat eating alien ALF was not real.

Tomas Rosicky

Nickname: Tom Strum

Pros: Dynamic and direct on the ball he’s capable of picking up the pace of a game in the blink of an eye.

Cons: Despite his football age being 21, he’s getting on a bit and in the twilight of his career.

Little known fact: Was actually elected Prime Minister of the Czech Republic during his two years on the sidelines pushing through some much-admired health care reforms.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Nickname: Alexander Mark David Oxlade-Chamberlain (to his mates)

Pros: Young, gifted and capable of scoring stunning volleys in the Maracanã. Has a huge future ahead of him.

Cons: Needs to find some consistency after catching a bout of second season syndrome last term.

Little known fact: Refuses to use pencils in solidarity with the people who are forced to work in lead mines.

Mesut Özil

Nickname: Nemö

Pros: On paper he’s the most complete footballer Arsene Wenger has ever signed. An assist master with an eye for goal, he’s won titles, played at the highest level and is now, quite miraculously, a Gooner.

Cons: Cost a bit…enough in fact to have Arsene develop an addiction to sleeping pills.

Little known fact: Well loved by Jose Mourinho, Arsenal’s newest signing often did Karaoke with the Portuguese in Madrid bars. Their favoured anthem: Hue and Cry’s ‘Labour of Love’.

Emmanuel Frimpong

Nickname: Dr Screech

Pros: Hates Samir Na$ri as much as he loves Arsenal.

Cons: A pair of dodgy knees and needs to grow up and realise that a catchphrase does not a footballer make.

Little known fact: Once went an entire day without shrieking like a window-licking banshee.

Mathieu Flamini

Nickname: The nosey mole

Pros: Looks like a respectable chap, but once he crosses the white line he’s like a Duracell Bunny on coke. The best all-action, loud-mouthed, finger-pointing, tackler we’ve had since err …well him.

Cons: Left a sour taste in the mouth when he ran down his contract in 2008 and moved on a free.

Little known fact: He, Philippe Senderos and Ronaldinho waited tables at Silvio Berlusconi’s Bunga Bunga parties for six whole months during his spell in Milan.

Abou Diaby

Nickname: Bob Balsa

Pros: Tall, powerful, great awareness, terrific dribbler and the closest Arsenal have come to replacing Patrick Vieira’s qualities.

Cons: Grew up breaking mirrors, walking under ladders, spilling salt shakers, opening umbrellas indoors and inviting black cats to walk across his path.

Little known fact: He is both a devout muslim and a devotee of muslin, the world’s favourite loosely woven cotton fabric.

Santi Cazorla

Nickname: Mighty Mouse

Pros: The Harry Houdini of Arsenal’s tricky midfield, he has the ability to wriggle out of danger, the vision to spray raking passes to teammates and an eye for goal which is deadly in and around the box.

Cons: Genuinely can’t think of anything. Even being short works for him.

Little known fact: His favourite meal is the Andalusian delicacy of otter cutlets rolled in breadcrumbs and deep fried in oil cultivated from the rump of angry badgers.

Gedion Zelalem

Nickname: Zelalembryo

Pros: The little Prince of through-balls, the ‘Ethiogermerican’ teenager not only has amazing technical quality but a calming presence which belies his tender years.

Cons: Eats only Rusks, needs a nap in the afternoon and might miss European trips because he’s got to get his homework finished. Bit skinny.

Little known fact: Impressed scout Danny Karbassiyoon with his footballing skills but also by the fact he can complete a Rubik’s cube blindfolded in less than 60 seconds.

Forwards

Lukas Podolski

Nickname: The LOL KAISER

Pros: A left foot that could smash a ball up Superman’s arse, great delivery and quality finishing. Hilarious japester. Loves it at the Arsenal.

Cons: Fitness has been an issue since he joined, could do with being more fit.

Little known fact: There is literally nothing he cannot find amusing. Even the most heinous crimes leave him giggling like a schoolgirl. He is undergoing therapy for this terrible, yet hilarious, affliction.

Theo Walcott

Nickname: The Timid Whippet

Pros: Fast as lightning, finishing, control and movement improving regularly. Does scare defences.

Cons: Seems to live in his own special world at times, on and off the pitch. Set-pieces need big improvement.

Little known fact: Auditioned for, and won, a part on Game of Thrones but was let go before shooting for insisting his character’s name be changed to Theodore Montreal Lannister.

Olivier Giroud

Nickname: The False Depardieu

Pros: A strong, handsome striker who looks like he’ll kick on in his 2nd Premier League season. Finishing has improved. Is handsome.

Cons: Still needs to improve chance completion ratio. Has little back up so the pressure to perform is high.

Little known fact: Once made love to identical twins at the exact same time, even though one of them was in another room.

Yaya Sanogo

Nickname: Haulin’ Oats

Pros: Tall, young, seems quite nimble, name is good for rhyming and stuff.

Cons: Hugely inexperienced, looks lightweight and miles away from being ready for first team football. Get him on the creatine pies at once!

Little known fact: He is a keen American civil war enthusiast and often cites Senator. John J. Crittenden, author of the Crittenden Compromise bill of 1860, as his hero.

Ryo Miyaichi

Nickname: Porcelain Boy

Pros: Very fast indeed, has lustrous hair, easy switch from Theo’s chant to his, has the most remarkably smooth skin.

Cons: As raw as steak tartare, will he get enough playing time to improve?

Little known fact: Is a major proponent of string theory but after a dressing room discussion which saw Frimpong bang his head repeatedly off a wall in frustration and bewilderment, Arsene Wenger has banned all talk of particle physics.

Serge Gnabry

Nickname: Gainsbourg

Pros: A Teutonic Walcott/Ox hybrid he’s young, tricky on the ball and loves a pot shot from distance..

Cons: Lacks first team experience. Needs more end product and less fancy step-overs.

Little known fact: Serge has the neatest handwriting in the Arsenal squad and often pens autographs for fans with a calligraphy quill which he carries in a specially designed bum-bag.

Nicklas Bendtner

Nickname: Drunky pantsdown poopy head ninny face

Pros: The Greatest Striker That Ever Lived.

Cons: In opposite world.

Little known fact: If you were to take his intestines, untangle them and stretch them out lengthways … he’d be dead.

Ju-Young Park

Nickname: Who?

Pros: Appears to have four fully functional limbs and no communicable diseases

Cons: Not especially good at the whole football thing, which is something of a drawback.

Little known fact: After his single goal for Arsenal, in a Carling Cup clash, he was named public enemy number 1 by North Korea who took his airplane celebration as a declaration of military intent.

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