Park Chu-young comes on for Arsenal [update 3]

Game still in progress, 5 minutes left, Arsenal down 2-0 against Chelsea in a League Cup match. Several touches, all passes accurate thus far…

Ok just finished putting my 4 year old to bed: back to the Tavern -we’re still reacting to Arsene Wenger installing Park Chu-Young today for a 9 minute+ appearance in Arsenal’s 2-0 loss to Chelsea in the 4th round of the League Cup. While Arsenal is knocked out of this tournament, Park is still on the roster for their FA Cup ties and for Premiership games, but is not listed in the Champions League roster.

Some quick notes – we will definitely update with more info later – this is Park’s first appearance for the North London side since early 2012. Surprised with the selection – conventional reports were that Park was on the outs with Arsenal for some time now. One could argue the substitution was made in the face of an inevitable defeat in what many consider a 2nd fiddle tournament compared to the FA Cup. However, this wasn’t a game that Arsene was playing to lose. For one, it was at home to Emirates Stadium with Chelsea – Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea. Secondly, his other substitutions seemed textbook – Ozil replaced Ryo Miyaichi in the 61st minute, Giroud for Bendtner in the 67th minute. So with the 3rd and final substitution, Arsenal 2 goals behind, Park came on for Aaron Ramsey in the 81st minute.

How’d he do? By my count (and I have to go back to see a replay) Park was 100% accurate on his touches. He was deceptively fast, though you wouldn’t have known it when he first entered the game. He linked up well, seemed to be decently positioned. His teammates weren’t afraid to pass to him. But with 9 minutes, unfortunately no opportunities emerged for Park to score.  Nevertheless, he played cooly / calmly / competently and he seemed to at least hold his own for the few minutes out there against Chelsea’s first team squad. Interestingly, in replacing Ramsey, it appeared Park absorbed Ramsey’s midfield position rather than Bendtner’s earlier forward role. Side note, Park supporters know that Mourinho’s actually familiar with the ex South Korean captain, having faced his Celta Vigo side several times as manager for Real Madrid last season. While Park didn’t score against Real Madrid, he came extremely close in each of the matches he played against them – in one game he hit the crossbar on a header, and had another header almost get by Iker Castillas, with only a brilliant split-second reaction from Castillas preventing the ball from going to the back of the net.

Jae jumping in here. Just watched the 2nd half of Arsenal vs Chelsea to see Park. Ummm, he was . . . okay. I’m afraid I can’t quite share some of the excitement and enthusiasm going around the Tavern. While it’s certainly positive to see Park on the pitch, and to hear a (small) compliment about Park from Wenger, his performance doesn’t inspire a whole lot of confidence (in me) that he’ll be able to push on from this cameo into FA Cup matches and league matches. His passes were accurate, but they were almost all sideways or backwards into lots of space. The thing that actually stuck out to me the most was a defensive thing. I can’t remember which Chelsea player it was, but they had the ball, and Park was the closest Arsenal player to him, and he just kind of stood there. No pressure, no urgency, nothing. I realize that at 2-0 down and only 5 minutes or so left that there isn’t any real reason to do it, but Park hasn’t played in a long time, and I would think that in a short cameo appearance he should show a ton of effort and energy and DESIRE. And I just didn’t see it. It reminds me of something that Paco Herrera, his coach at Celta Vigo said, and that was that he would ask Park for more. More everything. More effort, more movement, more energy, and he never got it. Park’s performance tonight reflected that. It just keeps me wondering, does Park have the necessary motivation to succeed in Europe at this point?

Want to know Wenger’s thoughts post match on the decision to play Park?

He was selected because he did well in training recently. Wigan were interested and I would have done it but in the end it wasn’t realised because we didn’t find an agreement with Wigan.


That was from Arsenal’s official website from the post match interview…which answers another hanging noodle that the Tavern was awaiting news on – whatever happened with the Wigan emergency loan deal?  Closure I guess, straight from Arsene.


Park Chu-Young vs Chelsea. Photo: David Price
Park Chu-Young vs Chelsea. Photo: David Price

Again, these were quick impressions I got from today’s game- I’ll have more to talk about on the Tavern soon. Believe it or not, I literally got home from work, turned on the TV, and saw from the corner of my eye a #30 jersey walk up to the bottom of the screen…

UPDATE PART 3: check this out, a video composite of his touches. It’s a bit grainy, still you can make out his best performance starting at 1:28 – Wilshere passes to Park and in traffic with Chelsea players converging, Park passes to Carzola in the nick of time (which sounded like Emirates Stadium cheered in appreciation of his deft maneuver) – followed by a quick run up the middle. Take a look:

To be fair, the video doesn’t show Park’s entire time out in pitch. Some of what Jae was referring to isn’t shown. From my vantage point, I was wondering why Park spend some valuable time standing around in the area – no opportunity to get released as Chelsea was parking the bus in those moments. Could he have done more – or was that the positioning he was told explicitly to maintain? It’s debatable.

His 100% passing accuracy rate was right on. Turns out it was 8 out of 8 passes. Glass half empty: not a lot of passes. Glass half full: he was only out there for 9 minutes for buddha’s sake. and 100% is still 100%.

Overall I thought his movement was fairly decent – enough to be in a dangerous position around 2:14 in the video. And like I said earlier – he linked up well with his teammates – and contributed to the team maintaining possession and spending the majority of the time in Chelsea’s half while Park was on the pitch. I don’t know, call me biased, but he looks like a player that could contribute for Arsenal. Will we see him on the bench next Saturday against Liverpool? Odds are he will be over Bendtner. Start the countdown.

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  1. Match ends. Based on what I saw, Park played fine during the time he played. I think he is a way better option than Bendtner and possibly Ryo Miyaichi for Arsenal.

    • Didn’t see it, but I would urge caution for now. 9 minutes in the league cup (when you’re losing 2-0) isn’t much. Hopefully Park will see some more minutes in the future (if he doesn’t go on loan). Then I think we can be a bit more optimistic. I do think he’s better for Arsenal than Bendtner, and I’ve always considered Miyaichi more of a wide player.

      • “He was selected because he did well in training recently. Wigan was interested and I would have done the deal but in the end it wasn’t realised because the club didn’t find an agreement with Wigan.” a quote from Arsene Wenger.

          • Instead of harshly criticizing Park’s lack of effort in the field, I think you should think in his perspective. How frustrating would it be when after a year and a few months you finally get to play a match for your big team but only get to play for a little bit more than 10 minutes? Like Roy said, he was 100% accurate on his touches. He was deceptively fast, though you wouldn’t have known it when he first entered the game. He linked up well, seemed to be decently positioned. His teammates weren’t afraid to pass to him. Like Wenger said, Park is doing good and trying hard in training. But the game is 2-0 down and losing while added as a late sub when the game is almost over. I don’t think you should lose confidence in Park just yet.

          • I agree with RedDevilsStrike. Park played the way Wenger told him to play. Park didn’t want to lose the ball so instead of passing it to an area where the ball is most likely to be stolen away, he passed to open players to link up the attack. Right after he passes he always runs forward for an attack. Is this low effort? Park was going toward the ball when a Chelsea player was in front of him but the Chelsea player passed the ball before Park came close. Park even almost opened up a counter attack and the crowd started cheering when he did this (when he passed to Cazlorla) it’s just that Jenkinson crossed horribly which broke up the attack. Is this low desire and effort from Park?

          • All good – Jae and I might have different take on Park’s performance, but I am super appreciative of Jae’s perspective on PCY on the Tavern – it’s sobering but grounded. Me- I’m more optimistic on Park and his potential. I’m always hoping PCY gets a comeback -always looking for signposts – I guess b/c it fits my narrative to have this down-on-his-luck player come back, overcome obstacles kung-fu movie style to kick ass in the end. Oddly enough, when googling for Park today – I came across a random news report from S Korean captain PCY’s 2 goals scored against Poland in fall of 2011. Back then there was such an air of anticipation as he had just joined Arsenal while captaining and clicking on multiple gears for the national team- seemingly scoring at will. Those were the days…

            But good points made all around – I agree with some points reddevilstrike and 이순신 made about PCY. Nevertheless, without overanalyzing Park’s League cup appearance, everyone will agree – if Wenger starts installing him in premiership games (quite an ‘if’), there will be no doubt as to Park’s progress in Europe. I suspect however, if Park gets any more minutes –major changes will be afoot–maybe Wenger is trying to reinvent Park as an attacking mid?

      • PCY as attacking mid? I seriously doubt it. Yes, he did take Ramsey’s position once he entered the game but that was mainly during defense.

        I expect Park was instructed to drop deep & help out defensively while crashing the box on offense. He was involved in build up but for majority of his 10 mins, he ran directly towards the box and positioned near Giroud. With Giroud on the field, PCY was never going to be CF/target forward …..

        • On Arsenal tweets and all that, I see so many posts against Bendtner and some on Ryo so maybe Park will get a position as central forward in FA Cup and possibly on some other matches.

        • Ramsey was actually, I believe, a deep midfielder next to Wilshere, and Rosicky, Ozil, and Cazorla were the three attacking mids when Park came on. So, your thoughts on Park’s instructions would match up with that. Deeper on defense, but then make these bursting runs into the box. Unfortunately, with Chelsea sitting deep, and Arsenal’s build up much too slow, those runs were largely pointless.

  2. Okay, so I’ll clarify my Park position a bit. I’m a fan, really. I want him to make a comeback and be the player he was in 2011 like everyone else. But, I’m also a realist, and while it’s great he got on the pitch, it was 10 minutes and his performance wasn’t exactly eye catching. From my perspective, if I’m a player who is trying to break into a 1st team/earn a move to a decent team AND trying to make a World Cup squad, I’m going to bust my f**king ass whenever I have the chance to prove that I deserve that.

    Now, some may disagree with this (and obviously some do), and if Wenger gave Park specific tactical directions not to lose the ball, keep calm, keep possession, etc. then so be it. Good job Park. But 10 minutes left, down by 2, elimination to a city rival (and managerial rival)? I can’t imagine a manager telling a center forward that. I actually suspect that Park got very little in the way of instructions.

    So, his performance was okay. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either. And at this point, given the past two years, I’m not going to go crazy with excitement over it. If he appears in one of the league games coming up, against Liverpool, United, or Southampton, and plays well then I’ll start getting my hopes up. But not yet.

    • I read some of the tweets after the game and people were pretty hard on bendtner so that might give Park a chance. Hopefully Park continues to do well in practice.

      • Yeah, the general consensus seems to be that Bendtner and Ryo were rubbish, which does bode well for Park, particularly the Bendtner one. On the Sky Sports website Park got a 4 from the voters and a 3 from the “experts” Bendtner got 3’s from both (I think) and Ryo got 4’s, I think. Unfortunately, the League Cup is over for Arsenal, the FA Cup won’t start (for them) until January, and thus far Bendtner has played all of 15 minutes in league games. Also Park is not on the CL roster. So even if Wenger decides Park is better than Bendtner (which he is), opportunities seem to be few and far between, barring an injury to Giroud.

        • Oh my that’s really degrading. Let’s just hope that Park gets placed in the subs of league matches instead of Bendtner.

    • I agree with you on your main points but I am a little bit more optimistic on Park and his potential like Roy. Also, yeah a manager wouldn’t tell a striker to keep calm, keep possession while losing to a huge rival. BUT, you should know that Park was added as an attacking MIDFIELDER not striker so there are less chances of Park actually scoring than being in a striker position. You are talking as if Park was playing in a striker position. It wouldn’t be acceptable for a striker to play defensively while losing but Park was a midfielder so I don’t think you should criticize Park for not being very attacky when he was a midfielder. He was 100% accurate on his touches. He was deceptively fast, though you wouldn’t have known it when he first entered the game. He linked up well, seemed to be decently positioned. His teammates weren’t afraid to pass to him. Park wasn’t bad and he was ok but I hope Park continues to good in training so that Wenger will play Park in a few league games and hopefully starts in the starting line up in FA CUP matches.

  3. Jae Chee, thank you for being realistic and having your eyes open. It’s the only way for fans to put things in perspective. I agree with you 100%

    • Are you suggesting I don’t have my eyes open? I’m the type of person who is more critical of players than to praise players. Lee dong gook and kim shin wook were absolutely very piss poor during the world cup qualifiers. KSY is doing good in K league right now but I still have yet to have some confidence for KSY in the national team.

  4. Wow, sensitive..
    I’m not saying your eyes aren’t open. I’m just saying that seeing people on this message board get overly excited by literally 9 minutes of back passes is doing every Korean player a disservice . I support PCY, but only when there is something being done to support. When he played for Monaco, I was a believer. When he did well for the KNT, I was a believer. He just hasn’t shown anything club-wise to support since moving to Arsenal. If he starts playing and playing well (like Kim Bo Kyung or Lee Chung Yong), I will happily eat my words. I WANT to eat my words. But it hasn’t happened yet, sorry to say..

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