There used to be some bizarre old times when Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal had a sehnsucht for direful defending; there were times when Arsene’s Arsenal had a penchant for lacking Footballing discipline; there used to be times when The Emirates Stadium had a deafening silence – a silence that had agony and pain of years behind it. While all the ignominy went the Gunners’ way, other Premier League giants chipped in with trophies, and the respect equivalent of Europe’s elite.
The memory of Arsenal’s sole dream being a 4th place finish isn’t distant by any means – in fact it sends shivers down any Gooner. Clocks tick, times change – they are changing for Wenger. The breath of air that the North Londoners are breathing is salubrious to say the least. The tag that says the 3 times Premier League champions are “Eternal Losers” is being burnt; and the fans are enjoying it. Once the pride of English Football, Arsenal are emerging as a force, and on the verge of achieving the unprecedented.
Forza Arsenal are fast becoming World-Beaters
Discipline: The Key to Arsenal’s Resurgence
The fact that Arsenal used to be dreadful in terms of defending and discipline, is only a compendious explanation. When coming up against big opposition, a doughty Wenger would often come up with a plan to fly forward and explain perfectly – the meaning of bravado. It never, however, worked as the Gunners were given brutal lessons – something that Arsenal themselves did to others back in the good-old times. It is true that to finish 4th in those years of austerity – when the club used to be impecunious, was a job well done and that not many managers would have been able to do so, but had there been more discipline shown, had “Le Professeur” come up with plans, things would have gone well.
Better late than never, the Frenchman has finally learned to come out with well-devised plans, the implementation of which has more often than not been inch-perfect. Since the 2-0 victory over Manchester City at The Etihad Stadium, the North Londoners have looked composed at the back, more importantly compact, and have been patient going forward. Of late, the realisation that ball possession is not always the key to victory has worked wonders for the Gunners boss and the result has been a flood of victories. Discipline at the back has not only made the FA Cup holders a good defending team, it has also made them more lethal.
Francis Coquelin – The Hawkshaw
Arsène Wenger has not enjoyed the same sleep as he did before Patrick Vieira left. The gigantic Vieira protected the back four as if they were his own sons, and that’s possibly the best way to define just how good he was as a defensive midfielder. A decade after, it seems another man from the very same nation has come forward to protect those four – like his children, Francis Coquelin. He returned from Charlton Athletic almost unexpectedly and his deployment as a defensive mid-fielder solved the problem that had been ever-present at Arsenal. He makes interceptions for fun, tackles the forwards just to stay healthy, and clearances are his food (metaphorically of course). A natural leader – the 23-year old is often seen berating the back four or anyone who commits a defending sin and that’s what a manager would want from his players. What he also does offer alongside in his package is a sense of security to the superstars lined-up ahead, to go forward and bludgeon defences. Physically solid on the ball, Coquelin’s addition is the major reason behind what is astounding us all: An improved Arsenal.
The SOG Effect
Wondering what SOG is? “Sánchez, Özil, Giroud”, that’s what it is. These three have become the perfect paronyms of excellence and fear. While Alexis Sánchez – The Duracell, has announced himself and his virility (both as a boy-friend and a player) with some panache, Mesut Özil and Olivier Giroud have been the ones that have left most maws wide open in utter astonishment. Prior to the season, Giroud was just another striker, and the German mid-fielder named Özil – a waste of money. However, those opinions have been prescinded now. Whereas Olivier Giroud – another Frenchman, has emerged as one of the hottest strikers (both in terms of football and looks) not just in the Premier League but Europe, Mesut Özil has come out as the driving force behind the team and has often astounded the world with his penetrative passing and the impact that he has in the middle of the park, when on his day. He has started to do for Arsenal what Cesc Fàbregas does (or was doing) for Chelsea and David Silva does (or did) for Manchester City. A Chilean, a Frenchman and a German together have started to cause fantods among defences, and are undoubtedly, the front 3 who are capable of ruling Europe. Wondering what about Santi Cazorla and Aaron Ramsey (or Theo Walcott), well they have never changed. They were geniuses before, and the view still hasn’t changed at all.
Although I’m full of admiration for Arsenal’s resurgence and emergence, and I may have sung the morceaus of their praise, there is a whole lot of room for improvement and some way to go for capturing Europe. Just as it is important to make a few signings in essential positions, it is also vital for Arsène Wenger to make his team tick on bigger occasions, that’s where the injection of confidence will come from. Come next season, there will be a lot of people in sanguine moods, the expectations will be high; and what will be demanded is the Premier League crown and a possible Champions League semi-final at least. That will be the time when this group of players will go through the real test, and the perfect occasion to rise and shine will be then. Having said all that, the Gunners certainly are on the right course and it does feel right to say that “Forza Arsenal are indeed becoming world-beaters”.