In regards to the Champions League, I obvious watched Arsenal last week in a game I think we all felt frustrated by. We started excellently, should have taken the lead and then disaster struck as we had Szczesny sent off, went down to 10 men and conceded two away goals.
A massive task for us to stay in the competition but we’ll find out in a few weeks time.
Last night however, I flicked over to ITV1 HD (you’ve got to watch the football in HD right?) and to my surprise Manchester United were losing 2-0 to Olympiacos after only an hour played. This is the Manchester United that always (and I mean always) get the easier draw for the group stages and the knockout stages. A quick look online and on Twitter and I soon found that the person who scored the second goal was Joel Campbell.
And another quick look on YouTube and I soon saw that his goal was top drawer, a goal of real quality.
He coolly nutmegged Michael Carrick before curling a really beautiful shot into the bottom corner, giving David De Gea absolutely no chance.
A fantastic goal on the biggest stage, against a team of real European pedigree.
As you would expect, the Arsenal fans were going mental on Twitter, loving the fact he was on our books.
He was signed in the infamous summer of 2011 after we got battered 8-2 at Old Trafford. Because of work permit issues, he went on loan to French side Lorient and then Real Betis in Spain. This season he’s in Greece and over the last few seasons, he has been getting some valuable experience in different leagues around Europe.
But the big question was, will Joel Campbell ever play for Arsenal?
Joel Campbell is one of those signings you can never tell what is going to happen. Usually when Arsene signs a player he’s will fall into 4 different categories. Either the player is a young star with loads of potential who will slot straight into the first team squad to learn the Arsenal style (I’m thinking Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey), an experienced player who automatically commands a first team place (such as Arteta, Mertesacker, Giroud), a player that goes on loan to get experience because we think he needs to improve (Joel Campbell, Francis Coquelin, Nicklas Bendtner, Emannuel Frimpong for instance) and then we have the final category, which I like to call “Arsene’s Abyss”.
It could be argued that Joel Campbell is in either of the last 2 categories, but in the latter category in particular, Arsene has a record of signing players that leave Arsenal fans completely speechless as to why they even joined the football club in the first place.
You have players such as Carlos Vela, Nicklas Bendtner, Pascal Cygan, Johan Djourou, Sebastien Squillaci, Mikel Silvestre, Philippe Senderos, Fran Merida and Jeremie Aliadiere and Julio Baptista who didn’t make the grade at Arsenal, but you understood why they were bought. They were either young players who had a lot of potential but just didn’t see it realised at the club, even though they were given a lot of chances, or in the case of Zinedine Cygan and The Beast they were just flops.
Then you have “Arsene’s Abyss” – players who you have no idea why they were bought in the first place. And players such as Junichi Inamoto, Park Chu-Young and the infamous Amaury Bischoff are in this category.
In the case of Inamoto and Park Chu-Young, you could assume they were purchased because of their brand in Asia. Inamoto was a big star for Japan and Park Chu-Young is massive in South Korea. Unfortunately for them, although they probably sold a lot of Arsenal shirts at their time with us, their careers went downhill as Arsenal refused to even give them any kind of chance to play for us. It’s hard to believe they were bought for anything other than commercial reasons which in a way is pretty disgusting. The careers of Inamoto and Chu-Young have basically been ruined because of us.
And Amaury Bischoff? Even to this day I have no idea why he was signed. The only rational solution I can come up with is that he was Arsene Wenger’s illegitimate love child and he was blackmailed into signing him got Arsenal.
So what about Joel Campbell?
Will he be another Carlos Vela or could he be someone who could make the grade at Arsenal?
He has said on several ocassions that Arsenal is the club he has supported as a child and he chose us because he has a desire to wear the red and white of Arsenal. He has also stated that he is willing to work extremely hard to make that happen, and from the evidence of yesterday he looks like he is developing into a half decent player.
The key question is, will Arsene Wenger give him his chance?