By Scott C. Mossman
Halloween is almost upon us and there are plenty of reasons for Arsenal opponents to be scared. I’ll go ahead and name them all. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini, Santi Cazorla, Thomas Rosicky, and Theo Walcott. That’s right, it’s the Arsenal midfield which may be the best in-form group in the world. Just like it was difficult to put a finger on the real antagonists of the last couple of seasons, it’s hard to pinpoint the exact reasons for the rise in form of this one.
Did the signing of Mesut Ozil really propel our team belief and confidence this much? It’s true Arsene Wenger has always put together a good side of footballers with flair and it’s also true we ended last season on a consistent run, but when fans talk of the similarities between goals from the weekend and the ones scored by ‘invincibles’ something must be quite different. Let’s take a step by step look at how our midfield turned into the pride of the premier league.
1. Finishing last season – The Gunners took 35 points out of a possible 42 in the last 14 matches of last season. If you’re wondering how we gained such team belief going into this season you need only that stat. Add the style and flair of an Arsene Wenger team and you’ve got a recipe for success already.
2. The signing of Mesut Ozil (with honorable mention going to Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid) – Yes, this signing gave us a lift in belief, but the wizard really is that good on the pitch. He’s not just a big signing showing positive intent. He’s the European assist leader and a player who can turn a game in one superb moment of brilliance.
3. The signing and second coming of Mathieu Flamini – Okay, we had a pretty good set of attacking midfielders before the arrival of Ozil, but we seriously lacked the spine to get us through nine months still standing without a limp in our step. I’ve thought it quite correct when I’ve heard Gooners say “We’ve missed a player with the pedigree of a Mathieu Flamini ever since we lost Mathieu Flamini”.
4. The progress of Olivier Giroud – This might be as important as any ingredient. The way he has improved his technical abilities has helped him link up with our attacking players in beautiful, fluent fashion. Our midfield has a striker they can trust to help open up attacking movements and move the ball quickly and positively. He knows how to flick a cross into the back of the net with consistency, too.
5. Team goals – Finally, we score as a team. It’s funny to think, but I’m not sure RVP would even be the best striker for the team we’ve now assembled. Two seasons ago we had nine field players trying to set up the most lethal scorer in the league. The way we pass and move, now, suggests a ploy to de-pants defenses as much as win football matches. Our midfield passes with purpose and with confidence in the ability of fellow team mates.
I'm sure you're all waiting for me to list Aaron Ramsey, but I think what is happening with Rambo is the product of the five on the list along with the fact that he was already a class player who just happened to have had his leg broken. I think what we're seeing with Aaron is something we'll see in the progression of Jack as well. Class builds upon class and Aaron is certainly playing at the highest level we've ever seen from him. Again, without the injury, a level in which he may have attained sooner.
Of course, there are many contributors to the success of the team so far, but our midfield is truly looking like something special. We chase the ball when we lose possession and don’t hesitate to look for forward movement. We’re also attacking with conviction and decisiveness, things I felt we missed with the likes of Denilson or Gervinho. Having said all of that, Arsene Wenger may simply be showing us that only stadium debts can stop his genius. With his vision and a bit of money we may be headed, again, for glory. COYG!
The SG Blog
Gooners from Oklahoma share their views and insights about Arsenal Football Club!