WTTGT Writer: Vivek Arulnathan
Arsenal get a break of almost two weeks from Premier League action as the focus shifts to the historic FA Cup. Arsenal will play Leeds in their third round match and Wenger will use this opportunity to rest most of our first team players as they recover from a gruelling run of fixtures that saw them play four games in twelve days.
Wenger stayed away from rotating his players too much in the league as they continued their pursuit for a Champions League spot but it wasn’t enough to prevent Arsenal from joining the rest of the frontrunners in dropping points against lesser oppositions in this period. While the likes of Benayoun, Rosicky, Arshavin and Coquelin got some much needed game time, Park Chu Young and Ryo Miyaichi were conspicuous by their repeated absence from Arsenal’s first team plans.
Miyaichi’s absence is understandable as he was out injured for over four weeks and given his tender age, Wenger is clearly right to slowly introduce him into the first team. Miyaichi’s success at Feynoord last season had many fans expecting him to play a big role in the first team this year but Wenger clearly seems to have different plans for the Japanese youngster.
But the situation of Park Chu Young surprises me. The South Korean captain was signed right under the noses of Lille and I was excited that Wenger had probably picked out another gem of a player. Park’s international record is pretty impressive and his repeated absence is raising serious questions about the real motive of Arsenal signing him.
A few have suggested that he has been signed to just sell shirts in Asia and there are even theories that Park was signed by Gazidis and not by Wenger. I am not giving into these rumours though. I can’t imagine Wenger signing a player just for marketing reasons and talks of Park being a Gazidis signing are pure speculations.
His adaptation period is clearly over now that he’s been at Arsenal for six months and I am really unable to understand what is keeping him out. He’ll leave for military service once he turns 28 and he needs to be given game time to get used to the league. With Henry too coming in, Wenger has to make a choice of who is going to be Van Persie’s backup.
Henry still retains his lethal finishing and will likely be Wenger’s preferred option in place of Persie for the next two months. But Park’s international record suggests that he too has the ability to consistently find the back of the net if given a good run of fixtures. Park is also pretty strong in the air and has the ability to hold up play that will provide opportunities to the likes of Ramsey to attack the ball more.
Park Chu Young needs matches to grow into the team and I hope he gets them. He doesn’t have too long at Arsenal and we don’t want to see him in the bench forever and leave the Emirates as a flop in 2013. Miyaichi though has age on his side. He is still only 18 and we all can be confident that Wenger will slowly ease him into the first team just like he is doing with Alex Chamberlain.
One thing is for sure though, these Asian stars weren’t signed to sell shirts and there is still hope of them succeeding at Arsenal.
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