Some of life’s greatest mysteries often go unsolved and I’m sure that Arsenal are responsible for around 75% of them.
Forget the unknown identity of Jack the Ripper; whether the Bermuda Triangle is actually real; or whether aliens exist.
What I’m more concerned about is: why was Wojciech Szczesny smoking in the showers after the Southampton loss? Is Mikel Arteta’s hair even real? Is Nacho Monreal secretly related to Peter Crouch?
Here are some of the greatest unsolved mysteries surrounding our team.
Will Abou Diaby ever return?
Originally hailed as the next Patrick Vieira, Abou Diaby joined Arsenal in 2006 from French club Auxerre.
‘Exciting’ is an understatement when it comes to watching Diaby play. I remember once describing him to friends as “gazelle-like” and I stand by that comparison. When he is fit and on the pitch, there are few players as graceful, despite his height and gangly frame.
However, an horrific tackle courtesy of Sunderland’s Dan Smith the same year Diaby joined put an end to that.
The challenge resulted in a fractured and dislocated ankle. Little did anyone know the repercussions the injury would have on the rest of Diaby’s footballing career.
The main frustration, other than the sheer tragedy of having a young footballer’s dreams dashed after they’ve barely made it over the first hurdle, is the flashes of brilliance we saw when Diaby was fit.
When he played at Anfield in September 2012, in what ended as a 2-0 win to us, he twisted and turned circles around the Liverpool midfield in what was an emphatic win.
Many of us, somewhat naively, began to believe his time had finally come, that his perseverance and professionalism off the field were finally coming to fruition on it.
Alas, after just a few games he picked up a thigh strain, followed by a cruciate ligament rupture.
Diaby has spent most of his nine-year career with the Gunners on the treatment table and, with his contract set to expire at the end of June, it’s unlikely that we’ll re-sign the midfielder.
I feel a sadness over Diaby that I don’t feel over many players. He’s a prime example of a player who can deserve success and work so hard for it, but in the end, never reach it because of a split-second, reckless decision made by someone else.
The good news is that Diaby, along with Jack Wilshere, Arteta and Mathieu Debuchy, is back in training and just played a full half against Brentford.
Why did we sell Robin Van Persie to Manchester United?
A question that still makes my blood boil.
I know the official narrative, as reported by the Evening Standard in 2013, is that Robin van Persie wanted out and that the only destination he deemed acceptable was one of our oldest rivals (something about a little boy inside of him?), but I’m still unsure as to why we a) let him have his way after he blind-sided us and b) how Arsene Wenger let this happen at all.
Anyone who knows me knows that I will stand by most decisions Wenger makes. I have immense respect and fondness for the man, and ultimately, I concede that he knows better than any of us. Certainly better than me, anyway.
However, this is one of the few decisions made by him over the years that I’ve honestly questioned.
I realise that he may not have felt as if he had a choice. I realise that he was far from solely responsible for the decision. I also realise that the only other teams who were seriously interested in signing him were Manchester City and Juventus, the latter of which wasn’t prepared to pay more than the Italian equivalent of a snickers bar and a Panda Pop for the striker.
Mr van Persie wanted neither of these clubs.
However, the sadistic – or bitter – part of me wanted us to keep him. Let him sit there on the bench being miserable. Let him regret his condescending website statement. Let him realise that he actually had it pretty good before he started his incessant whining and undermining of the manager – the man who stood by him.
I would’ve rather we sold him to Juventus where he could gallivant around to his heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that he wasn’t where he wanted to be: with our rivals.
Selling him to Manchester United to help affectively win them the league and weaken us considerably was a strange move. One I still don’t fully understand.
Why did we buy Park Chu-Young?
Park Chu-Young. The mysterious one.
The Zayn Malik of Arsenal Football Club.
We bought Park from Monaco at a crucial time. It was 2011 and Van Persie was pretty much running our attack, netting goals all over the shop. However, we all knew the Dutchman was as injury-prone as he was lethal in front of goal; attacking reinforcements needed to be made and soon.
Therefore, when we signed a 26-year-old from South Korea whom no-one had heard of, we were a little confused.
Park went on to appear for just 75 minutes for Arsenal that season before being first loaned out to Celta Vigo and then Watford, where he played even less. What had turned into one of the strangest transfers in recent history was made even more bizarre when Park seemingly went MIA.
Thankfully, we found him. The 29-year-old has headed home in a bid to resurrect his career and we wish him all the best.
However, reports that he’s about to release him his first solo record since leaving have not yet been confirmed.
Why don’t people rate Mesut Ozil?
To the majority of Arsenal fans, Mesut Ozil is nothing short of a footballing genius.
His vision, ability to pick a pass through the eye of the needle, and hard work have made him a shining beacon of light, even in the darkest times.
However, pundits, opposition fans and commentators alike seem to completely ignore this and often speak about the German as if they’re watching a completely different player.
They talk about him being lazy, despite the statistics actually showing he’s one of the least lazy in the whole team, and chastise him for apparently not being worth his £42m price tag.
This bizarre mentality towards him has left many of us perplexed, bemused and decidedly perturbed considering, in the majority of Gooner’s opinions, he’s been nothing short of astonishing since he returned from injury.
Are we seeing something others aren’t? Is everyone else just bitter? Is he even real?
The saga continues…
Where is Ryo Miyaichi?
In 2010, we signed another ‘next big thing’. The Japanese Theo Walcott – or something.
With bags of pace and agility, the now 22-year-old midfielder was predicted to take the Premier League by storm. However, once he got on the pitch, although his skill was plain to see, his strength was not. The kid was constantly getting out-muscled and pushed from pillar to post, and this didn’t improve.
Loan spells at both Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic while they were in the Premier League proved fruitless with him making no starts at all for the latter.
To add insult to – literal – injury, the young man has already had his short career plagued by them, which resulted in him eventually having to have ankle ligament surgery.
At the moment, Miyaichi is out on loan to FC Twente, a spell which could prove positive for the talented youngster. He’s currently playing full matches and holding off injury; hopefully this means he can bounce back from his unfortunate start and go from strength-to-strength although the Dutch side won’t be extending his deal beyond the end of the season.
What happens then?