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In Defence of Reyes

From Arsenal-Mania.com:

José Antonio, José Antonio ...

That chant, so prominent at the beginning of Arsenal's blistering opening to the 2004/05 title defence, hasn't been heard for some time at Highbury as the team's fortunes of late have mirrored the young spaniard's.

José's llegada in London was greeted with genuine warmth by the Highbury faithful. Here was a man, we knew, who could change the emphasis of the team, put an end to the perceptions of a good Arsenal side being made great by the genius of a certain T. Henry of Hampstead. Here was guy who could turn Arsenal from perennial European also rans to genuine contenders. Here was a man, in short, who could make a difference. The difference.

Only it hasn't quite happened like that. The man Reyes was bought into ease the burden from completed 37 from 38 last term, whilst he's played in every Premiership game this season. Reyes, unable to dislodge the Dutch master from the support striker spot, has had to fight Robért Píres for a spot on the left wing. To this end, whilst Reyes made 21 appearances last term, 9 of them came from the bench. In 12 Arsenal starts, Reyes notched 5 times. Three of those came against Chelsea, including the memorable first goal of his Arsenal career in the FA Cup, the other two, in the league came at Fulham and Portsmouth.

This season, following the settling in time of last season's run in, Reyes has proportionately gathered more starts - 24 in all competitions with 6 cameos from the bench. Reyes has notched 8 goals and provided some dazzling assists this season. Incidentally, Ronaldo fans might like to note that in 23 league appearances this term, he has managed the amazing sum of 4 goals (two of which, painfully giftwrapped a week ago) and 4 assists. Compared to Reyes' record of 6 league goals and 5 assists from 21 appearances (16 +5), still prefer the ugly one? Okay, your call.

In addition to this Reyes' ability to go past players like they aren't there and his eye for a defence splitting ball means that he is capable of contributing in all aspects of Arsenal's game. And he tackles back too!

So, why the complaints? Well, Reyes has not settled in as well as we might have hoped. It's no secret that this youngster has extremely close ties to his family in Spain and has, according to boss Wenger, had some difficulties of late. It doesn't surprise me, when I was 21, I went to Bilbao to study for a year and found the displacement unbearable. It took me a good few months to settle in, and this was something I'd prepared for for months, I was educated. It should have been a doddle. It wasn't. But in time, I settled. So, I believe will Reyes, as he increasingly finds his feet in what must seem like a million miles an hour London society and becomes more confident in his life, he will become more confident on the pitch.

Remember that this is no ordinary Arsenal side he's come into, the history making team of last season, this is a side whose fans routinely decry the German #2 as not good enough, used as we are to the skills of David Seaman. But has Reyes looked genuinely out of place? I don't think so. But his integration into the side has not been helped by the controversy surrounding Spanish coach's Luis Aragones remarks about Thierry Henry.

This has led fans to closely examine the relationship between the sorcerer and the apprentice on the pitch, coming to the conclusion that Reyes and Henry don't get on. This contrasts directly with Reyes' assertion that Thierry is his best mate off the pith. So what gives? Are we overreacting? Possibly.

I wonder if this would even be an issue had it not been for Manchester United's systematic brutalising of José Antonio on Oct 24th. How they were allowed to get away with it must have perplexed Reyes, because the dazzling Spaniard was replaced by a limp lettuce who looked a bit like Reyes for a few months.

However, I think the signs were there that Saturday might see the rebirth of this matador. The boy has vision, some of his long passes have been delightful, Henry against Boro', Vieira this weekend. His short passing can be as incisive and surprising as Dennis, a lovely ball to Ashley Cole on Tuesday might have made a difference on another night. But he has also shown it with assists like the one for Freddie Ljungberg against Panathinaikos.

And nobody who was at the Millennium Stadium will have forgotten how his powerful running destroyed Manchester United in the curtain raiser (how have we lost two games to them this season?) Some composure would have seen him notch an early contender for goal of the season.

To sum up, the guy has the talents, the tools to be an Ashburton Grove legend, I think we just need to give him the time to show it.

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I agree entirely, and personally I think all this paper talk about him wanting to go back to Spain and us ready to swap him for Owen is complete rubbish.
 

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sometimes i forget hes only 21, he looks 24-25, the question is where does the boss se him playing?
 

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reyes needs no defense
 

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Yes, it's unfair to compare Reyes to Pires. He is only 21 years old, for God sake. If I'm not mistaken, Pires became Arsenal player near his 'golden age' and it still took him about a year and so to become a real experienced player. Reyes probably lacked of experiences, but he doesn't lack the skill. Like someone said, performance is temporary but class is permanent.

He can't be blamed for his defend to Aragones' statement. While he could have asked sorry to Henry, he would be out of the Spanish NT if he dares to speak against the coach.
 

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that coach should have been sacked, and its a shame hes still there, he didnt even pick reyes, even with vicente injured, who is a better winger than those 2 in spain?, he should have been picked.
 

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It seems like that incident will never die. He can win the WC with Spain, the CL with Arsenal and everyone will still remember him for that.....bull$hit...
 

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Did someone say a swap, Owen - Reyes? I would love Reyes to come to Real Madrid!
 

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Aw rates reyes VERY highly, thats why he had to happen, so i think we havent seen anything yet of reyes.
and i dont think owen will ever play at arsenal
 

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Mendieta,

Read this article:

http://www.as.com/articulo.html?xref=20050209dasdaiftb_12&anchor=dasftb&type=Tes&d_date=20050209

If feel comfortable reading this thread. Comfortable in that aspect that fans still have trust in Reyes. Well all know what he can do with the ball on the pitch when he has his moments, but in his age (21) he has his ups and downs. And when you read this article (for those who can spanish) it also saying that Reyes has some "family problem", what on earth it could be we´ll don´t know, but we can take for certain that it is something that disturbs his footballing these days.

And how on hell can you take the fact that he was not on the startinglist against Man Utd as a fact for that of his trouble? Remember Oct 24? The day when the Devils where on "Operation: Reyes-hunt"
 

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Discussion Starter #10
IlPrincipe said:
And when you read this article (for those who can spanish) it also saying that Reyes has some "family problem", what on earth it could be we´ll don´t know, but we can take for certain that it is something that disturbs his footballing these days.
It was an illness of his grandmother IIRC. He went back to Spain over Christmas to be with them but since he's come back he's been playing a lot better. He just needs a goal.
 

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basically ever since manure went on project reyes hunt... reyes has not been the same player....
 

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He's coming back. During Villa match he was the most hardworking playa. Chasing after everything possible. As Khimik said, he just needs a goal..
 

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And by the way, i also think it was a shame that he didn´t were in Spains squad for the San Marino game. Luque better then Reyes? Well he has some flair moments this season (as well as downs since it is Deportivo) but Reyes in his days! As well as he is the man who´ll Spain will put our trusts on in the World Cup when/if we´ll be there.

I think we will se a sparkling Reyes in Germany. I am pretty much sure of it.

Thanks for the info about Reyes grandmother, didn´t know that!
 

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IlPrincipe said:
Mendieta,

Read this article:

http://www.as.com/articulo.html?xref=20050209dasdaiftb_12&anchor=dasftb&type=Tes&d_date=20050209

If feel comfortable reading this thread. Comfortable in that aspect that fans still have trust in Reyes. Well all know what he can do with the ball on the pitch when he has his moments, but in his age (21) he has his ups and downs. And when you read this article (for those who can spanish) it also saying that Reyes has some "family problem", what on earth it could be we´ll don´t know, but we can take for certain that it is something that disturbs his footballing these days.

And how on hell can you take the fact that he was not on the startinglist against Man Utd as a fact for that of his trouble? Remember Oct 24? The day when the Devils where on "Operation: Reyes-hunt"
Wow! I hope it's more than just a rumour. No offence to Owen. I kind of like the kid. He's got a great attitude. However, I'd like to see more Spanish players in Madrid, especially like Reyes.
 

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khimik said:
And nobody who was at the Millennium Stadium will have forgotten how his powerful running destroyed Manchester United in the curtain raiser (how have we lost two games to them this season?)
You have lost 2 games because you were tactically out-thought in both games - you were sore losers after the first game. We even beat you with 10 men.
 

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Good article, think it summed up what most of us were/are thinking.
 

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romours of reyes to real now on soccernet.com
 

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Juanele1973 said:
I certainly hope not. I've followed Reyes almost his whole career but I wouldn't be able to stand him going to Madrid.
Why do you feel like that Juanelle? Is it just because you dislike Madrid or are their other reasons. I would like to see him at Real Madrid, but only if he gets to play and is used properly. If they buy him just to have him on the bench, then he should stay at Arsenal.
 

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I heard he likes jalapenos on his pizza.
 
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