Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Coventry City Advent Calendar - My 25 Favourite Players - Day 6 - Aron Gunnarsson

Yesterday's instalment Reda Johnson quoted his feature post on Twitter and said he can't wait for day 6, so to give the man his wish I'm continuing with another of this daily post series as we get closer and closer to Christmas Day. We may still have 19 days until the big day itself, but if there was someone who'd have the ability to make up that distance with a long throw, it's Aron Gunnarsson, when he's not hurling it as far as Willenhall that is.

That's right, between the years of 2008 and 2011 we had our very own Rory Delap with the Icelandic international in the ranks. He had contributions to a couple of my favourite goals in his spell here, the first of which was the last minute equaliser against Newcastle in the League Cup a few years ago when he launched it to the head of Scott Dann. The other was his incredible take down and half-volley against Blackburn Rovers in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup in 2009. It was an absolutely incredible strike and helped us along in the best run we've had in that competition in my lifetime.

That strike was his first career goal as well, I can't think of many players who have kicked off with a goal that good, bar maybe Wayne Rooney. In that debut 2008/09 season he made his debut for Iceland, scored his first career and league goal, as well as becoming the city supporters' Player of the Season. Not bad in the slightest, he was a mainstay this year as well as the 09/10 and 10/11 seasons, but the third of which turned out to be his last.

Even though he ideally wanted to stay, he couldn't reach an agreement for a new contract despite months of talks going on. Looking back, we should have dealt with the contract situation a lot better in 2011, losing Gunnarsson, as well as Keiren Westwood and Marlon King really did consign us to relegation. Cardiff City was the destination he ended up deciding on, and it paid off in the end as after two more years of consistent Championship football, he managed to get his shot in the Premier League, albeit his appearances weren't as frequent in the top flight.

It was just the one season that Cardiff were in the Premier League for and he stuck with the Bluebirds as they dropped back down to the second tier. In the 15/16 season however he was starting to fall out of favour in the Welsh capital, making less a lot less appearances than in the last and it looking as if that was the only way it was going to go from then on. Then of course Euro 2016 happened, you'd have though Jordan Henderson, having played with him, would be able to help out with tactics and say "Watch his throw ins". We all know what happened next and basically, it saved his Cardiff career and they were batting away high end Championship and Premier League offers, as he is now back as one of the first names on the team sheet.

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