Updates from happy and (relatively) content sounding Arsenal forward.
First up, Marouane Chamakh:
On the formation and his lack of playing time:
It would be better for me if we played with two strikers but that’s the system and the way of playing here. I respect that and it’s working very well. That’s the way it is, that’s football and if the system were to change we would need another striker. This would provide a chance for another player but that’s the way it is at the moment.
On his Arsenal experience so far:
It’s gone well overall, the first year, the first season is about settling in and adapting and there are lots of good strikers around. I haven’t played as much, what with Van Persie coming back from injury but for me, it’s been a settling in period. It’s been good to play for a club like Arsenal and getting used to the league but I’m trying to learn, enjoy it and long may it continue.
Next, is Ju-Young Park:
On why he’s had a slow start and needs time to settle:
I couldn’t train much for about two months before I moved here, I just had to do some personal training instead. Since I joined the team it has been two months and I feel like I am in my normal condition now. The coaches adjust the training depending on the games we play and it’s good.
On living in London and playing for the Arsenal:
I am settling off the pitch as well, all the Arsenal staff and everyone else have helped me. Also my wife is here so I don’t have many problems settling down. Personally I don’t like a loud and noisy atmosphere, I prefer a very quiet life. And I live in a very quiet area in London so I really like it, it’s pretty good, I don’t have any problems living here and I am not a fussy eater so I don’t have problems with the food either!
On his teammates and the manager:
To be honest, all the players are world class so it’s surprising and shocking, for me, to play with them, it makes me very happy.
Arsene Wenger has been working here as a manager for a very long time and he has the respect of everybody. He’s a really good leader and I’m happy to have this chance to work with him, it’s a great thing for me to train under this manager, he is a good leader.
And saving the best for last, it’s Robin Van Persie (speaking mostly at the release of his 100 goals DVD):
On his connection with Theo Walcott:
After every single goal, people ask me, ‘Who gave the assist?’ I just say, ‘Who do you think?’ We have that connection, I know what he is going to do, which is very important. It’s vital to have a player around me, as a striker, who knows where I move, how I move, do I want the ball into feet, do I want it behind. He knows where to find me. Stuff like that is vital.
It [his 100th goal for the club]was just a big honor and I asked Theo to celebrate with me, I had my history with Arsenal Football Club.
On Wenger’s influence on his career:
I’m so thankful for having met him because he made a big difference in the way of seeing, looking at football. I was 20 and he said, ‘Why are you not a top player yet?’ I said, ‘Because of this, this and this.’ He told me to think about it. Then, a couple of weeks later, he asked me, ‘Are you a top player?’ I said I didn’t think so and he told me to think about it.
I started to realize and then he gave me a little bit of advice about certain actions that I did. For example, I made a couple of little mistakes in a game. He told me that a top player doesn’t do those actions. I started to think about the conversation. It was a conversation that only lasted for five minutes, but it was a conversation that went on for a year because every couple of weeks he was referring back to it. He was showing me proof as well. I was taking it on and then it was up to me to find my answers. I was finding my own answers and that’s how he helped me big time.
On his current form:
For people on the outside it might look as if I’m going to score because I’ve been scoring the last couple of weeks. But for me I’m in a different vibe.
I still have to do it. I have to find the solution to score which is completely different and quite hard. But when you’re in the vibe and only need one or two chances to score, that’s the best feeling that a footballer can have.
On his first goal for the club, against Manchester City at Highbury in 2004:
I lost it a bit! It was very good, it was very memorable. I went and celebrated with the wrong fans!
On his equaliser against Barcelona in last season’s Champions League:
I’ve seen images of fans celebrating that win, it just makes me really happy to see that. There’s one picture in my mind of a fan dressed up with [an] Arsenal shirt on, a hat on and he was just screaming it out! It was like the best moment of his life. It made me so happy. You could see what it meant to him and it made me even more happy to see that. When the whole stadium is desperate for a goal, as a footballer, when you are the one who scores it, then it gives you a boost.