Why I love… Alex Song

AFCB editor Andrew Weber‘s first post in the “Why I love…” series focuses on Alex Song…

Alexander Dimitri Billong Song joined Arsenal on 11 September 2005 from French club Bastia. Born into a family of 28 brothers and sisters (his now deceased father must have been a busy man!) Song married his childhood sweetheart Olivia at the early age of 18 and has two sons, Nolan and Kaylian.

His career kicked off when he moved to Bastia in France as a teenager, playing a number of games with their first team before Arsene Wenger did his usual thing and plucked Song – the nephew of flamboyant ex-Liverpool defender Rigobert – from obscurity.

Family is never far from Alex Song's mind

The start to Song’s Arsenal career was not easy. He struggled to find his feet in the first two years at the club, a situation not helped by Wenger ping-ponging him between central midfield and defence, and after a difficult outing against Fulham in 2006 he was loaned out to Charlton for the rest of the season.

At the time most Arsenal supporters had thought they’d seen the last of Song, a player that appeared too slow, both in mind and body, to cut it in the fast-paced English game. But to everybody’s surprise he returned to the club for the new season and showed some signs that he had turned the corner, performing well at the back in several Carling Cup matches and featuring in a couple Premier League matches late on in the season.

Then came Song’s biggest opportunity: Mathieu Flamini, who had formed a brilliant central midfield partnership with Cesc Fabregas, left for Milan. Wenger initially filled the gap with Denilson but over the course of the season Song began to find his feet and worked his way into the starting team more consistently by the end of the season.

Song’s major attribute of bringing a defence-first mentality to an ultra-attacking Arsenal midfield eventually paid dividends as he transformed from bit-part player to vital cog over the course of last season. The perfect example of a player who flourishes when given the time, space and right environment to improve, Song’s obvious physical qualities of stamina and strength were combined with a seemingly new-found technical ability as he provided the defensive support for Fabregas and Co.

On the pitch, Song’s personality had always been one of a player who looked to others for leadership. He was often seen head down, muttering to himself to do better after conceding a foul or making a bad pass and hardly exuded confidence in possession as he shuffled across the pitch, feet barely leaving the floor. But over the course of last season he matured, imposing himself more readily on the pitch and enjoying a few moments of attacking ambition: his goal in the Champions League against Fenerbahce and the lovely clipped pass for Eduardo’s side-foot volley immediately come to mind.

This season he has continued to develop well, providing some decent attacking thrust in the brief absence of Fabregas and grabbing a couple of goals that Thierry Henry would be proud of. With Cesc back in the side he should return to his more important duty of protecting the back four but I have to admit finding some real enjoyment in seeing Wenger loosen Song’s leash.

Watching Song play and hearing him speak off the pitch, you get the distinct impression that he is one of the good guys in football. We’re blessed to have a number of them at Arsenal and when you hear him speak about his family, the manager or indeed his teammates, you hear a man who appears truly happy with his lot in life.

His outgoing new hairstyle may give the impression that he thinks he is bigger and better than he is but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Song is a player that is always giving, always encouraging and I sincerely hope he will stay and continue his development at Arsenal for years to come.

And that is why I love Alex Song.

Have your say on Alex Song by leaving a comment or purchase an ‘The Art of Song’ t-shirt or sticker at The AFCB Shop.



  1. A new found technical ability??? Did you ever watch the young Song? Did you see him win young player of the tournament at the African Nations in 2008 I thin kit was? He was a Pirlo style deep lying playmaker.

    Sigh. Its a shame everyone is allowed a blog.

  2. @Goonerjim – that’s a bit harsh!

    @brian – and I thought that love sign was just for me <3

  3. Back when Arsene used to play at CB, a lot of Africans saw him play at AFCON 2008 and he dominated the midfield in an aging Camerounian side. I knew he was a better midfielder than a defender. He has grown in leaps and bounds over just two yrs,he is now a legitimate key player in the Arsenal squad. If all our youngsters develop like him then its just a matter of time before we start raking in the trophies.

  4. he has improved a lot yes………..but he still needs to work on his passing, tracking back( he is still too slow if we are caught out on the break)…….He should also avoid unncessary fouling and picking up uncessary yellow cards and red cards. The second yellow card against Sunderland comes to mind and it cost us 2 points. The was no need for that challenge high up the field and we were not in any danger.

    He must also curb his ethusiasm to go foward and be able to pick moments to go foward. If he master all this, we might be comparing him to Viera very soon.

  5. For sure,Alex is and will playing an importnat role for Arsenal in terms of physical presence and midfilied control and covering our back four.
    What suprised me this season is the quality his developed of scoring goals;attacking the keeper during the corner kicks and his determination of neutralising the rival creating midfilieders.This is a crucial issue for the club and for him because is becoming a superstar for the gunners.
    I still want from him to develop the ability of shooting from veru far and to enjoy that winning mentality like the other Paul Schools or our Legend Patrick Viera.
    Other wise I’am expecting alot suprises from his technical skills of football and his leadership and his commitment to the club.
    Byconclusion he need to more faster as his and to shoot.shoot into the net like he did at Man City Stadium!
    I live you Alex!

  6. I have had various disagreements with my friends on the issue of Song being a better player ahead of Denilson but thank God my argument has come to stay.

  7. @ Goonerjim – Of course he has always been technically astute – otherwise he would never have been signed. But in the last season or so he has developed so well, his touch has become confident and to me, it is a new-found technical ability. He has taken it up another notch.

    To everyone, thanks for the comments, and I hope you enjoyed the post.

  8. Great post.

    I remember seeing him when he joined us on loan and thinking he wouldn’t last. Now I can’t imagine him out of our first eleven. Vastly improved. I didnt even mind my wife kissing him on the cheek after the Newcastle away game the season before last as I believe that was the turning point for him…

  9. he sign for arsenal through special talent from bastia..so tecnically he’s good and that why arsene wenger sign him

  10. Nice to see articles like this recognizing his contribution. he’s developed massively; probably the most developed arsenal player and a leader and fighter.
    he’ll continue to get better, his skills and positioning is ever-improving. and he’s slowly but surely eliminating the mistakes he is sometimes prone to.

  11. Fairly nice piece.

    However, people need to know a few other things about him.

    When he played in the reserves (before the Charlton loan and before the fans disgraceful behaviour at Fulham) he was our most creative player in that team.

    The vast majority of goal scoring moves in the reserves were instigated by him.

    Now we have the same “fans” who were calling him “not Arsenal quality” not too long ago, claiming he is purely a defensive mid and doesn’t have the skill to be an attacking player!

    Honestly, the mind just boggles!

    His first touch is simply sublime. Just watch some of the passes hit at him with more than just a little “fizz” – he kills them stone dead or turns with them right on his foot.

    I like this piece because it’s bringing a bit more about the players to the fans, but some other blogs really need to stfu until they actually learn a bit more.

  12. Can we put in requests?

    A bit on Denilson would be good because he’s (yet) another player we have a whole batch of stupid fans who know squat about football having a go at.

    You’d think some of these clowns would learn, but apparently not.

  13. Mike SA well said. The shortsightedness of some logs is unbelievable….you really think they would have learned to not be so quick to ‘judge’ any more. But no, over the summer it was all about our ‘poor signings’ and how little money Arsenal had spent. 3mths in and I wouldn’t swap our summer spending with anyone. Off the top of my head, only Van Der Fart has made any real impact.

    Author. Great write up, agree with every word. Especially loved the points about his personality and outlook on life. Well played.

    I’ll go stroll thru your archives now….

  14. Just a couple of seasons ago I thought he wasn’t good enough. Now he’s the fist name on my team sheet. Then Fabregas. Well done, Song. Well done, Mr Wenger.

  15. now I know why……………..
    I can’t watch it anymore, could they crack the coconut? ❓

  16. I always defended Alex. I hate those, who say they are gooners and hate Song. He proved his worth today as well. God bless Alex. He’s one of my (many) favourites.

  17. Maybe Andrew has some magical powers… can you write a piece on why you love Arshavin? he will then score? or why you love Walcott? heck write a piece on every Arsenal Player, they might all end up scoring?

  18. I believe that young alex song needs our surpport to grow to a full lenght
    player.He has already shown some good works at arsenal and the indomitable
    Lions of Cameroon.He is still young and has good surprises for fans in the future.
    Alex should be called back to the indomtable lions.He is one the best the world can
    produce in soccermen of today.Thanks to Arsene wenger for building to football maestro.
    While waiting to see song perform his magic in the indomitable lions mid field,I am wishing him
    the best season 2010/2011,and the rest of his football career. Good small brother Papa Alex. Song

  19. On your side Fillipo Dan, I beleive that all of us has been always here (Inclu: Andy), have all seen this coming since last year. We ve all hated him 2 or 3 years ago but since the mid of the 2008-2009 season ( Feb- march 2009) he is been fantastic, that was the time that he started to show more quality and consistancy on the pitch, I still remember many of us here including myself criticising Song and Deni badly as they were just chilling out there on the pitch, slow moving……etc… but his performance now isnt a surprise for all long time and real Arsenal supporters.We ve all made mistakes on criticising our new comer boys but we all now see the result after few seasons. Diaby is still to come,( who has been also HEAVILY criiticised in the past!!!) with his fantastic dribble and slalom body move.
    I really hail AW on the way he chooses his players ( except for the fact that they are often either french speaking or french themselves…..).
    Lets just take this result as a lesson for all of us Arsenal fans for the future.Next time, lets just not criticise AW and our rookies boys, lets encourage our rookies when they come on the pitch cos we all know now that a player isnt placed in the Arsenal team by AW for no reason , so lets not criticise so early and be patient.

  20. I love Alex Song. I am proud of him as an african. In 5 years to come he would become an arsenal legend. Thank u God and Arsene for making Song an arsenal player nd nt spus.

  21. Andy, brilliant stuff, thank you for that.
    Song for me was brilliant yesterday, when all around him were panicking and losing possession he stayed focused on his own game, at one stage making a great forward run and cleverly winning a corner off the defender, thats what we need, when the chips are down a guy who WANTS to make something happen and shows the drive and initiative to succeed because we were heading toward another inept performance at home when we needed to show up and win…Im really liking what Im seeing from him this season, hes a leader…..still a foul merchant, which is dangerous for him as he flirts with expulsion when hes on a yellow, but I think we need a foul merchant, and if your going to have a foul merchant in an Arsenal team why not have one who can play great football aswel…top man.
    I followed him closely at charlton and thought we may be on to something then he came back, and Il be honest here, he didnt look the same player at all and I asked myself was he just better than the mediocrity surrounding him at charlton, but he really has become one of my favourite players now, hes got great character and like Andy said hes one of the good guys the game has to offer. The moment Song went from a player I liked to a player I love was post Adebayour celebration last season when he spoke about the club and fans and how he would never behave like that to something that had given him a chance and means so much to him, the fact that he also said he wanted to clatter Adebayour even though their close friend also helped!
    Just a quick mention bout Arsha. Theres something lacking there at the moment and I think he may need a break, hes completely out of sync with everybody else and thats ok if your a gritty player who will fight back when you lose possession but when your a guy not interested in defending your not much good to the side…..now I freakin love the guy but fair is fair, Nasri and Theo are hot right now and shoudnt be overlooked…..I dont like alot of the Arsha bashing but I will say this; I have never seen a player dispossed and give up immediately the way he does,he makes it look like the ball is on the other side of the field or something when its less than five yards away…..the shoulders just slump, the legs slow to a trot and its like; ‘ well that didnt work, win that back the Laurant and Il try again in a sec’……its a bad habit and example to other players when you see the selfless workrate of song.
    Lastly, I still have a bit of beef with Deni….for a DM I think hes too easily passed and isnt strong enough in the air or the tackle…I thought he was very dodgy vs Newcastle and again yesterday having been very good in recent weeks, especially against City, hopefully it was just a blip but I

  22. Damn, I wasnt finished, just wanna put it out there again to all the lads who scoffed at my summer wishlist of buys which had Scott Parker at the top ; the best individual performance on any visiting team in a long long time….forget about Rooney, Ronaldo and Drogba taking us apart in recent seasons, that yesterday was a serious performance from a guy who wasnt gonna shrug the issue or be overawed by the bigger side…..probably in the top 5 premiership players so far this season….just wanted to put it out there that I know my shizzy is all….peace out my homees

  23. This boy is really brilliant-especially his diving header that saved us on saturday, Be blessed by the Lord Jesus Christ Song and you are on song.


    Alex is my favourite Arsenal player. What a great, consistant footballer. Also he seems like he is Arsenal through and through which is reassuring. I would love to see him in the team for years and years to come.

  25. je vais essayer de m’exprimer en anglais
    bonnnnn alexandre song for me your are the best in our national team just because you play with your heart tu a tout hérité du grand son ta passion ton amour ta volonté surtout ton courage et sa se voie juste quand tu entre au stade when your are not there i dont have peace
    langlais me depasse deja je prend le bassa
    a san baye ou ngé imblé ndé wai tama ou yé gouye gouoobassona a san
    wouack ban sal manian oung yi bolll tous le pays est derrière toi tu a un très grand coeur je te soutien autant que ta belle petite famille,ta belle epouse et tes magnifique enfants doivent etre fiere de tw meme ds mille ans on ne vous oublira pas
    ta plus grande fans du camp sonel essos
    je ne tremble pas en técrivant encor cette fois

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