Awards: The Arsenal Player Of The Season (and Runners Up)

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There’s only one man that can own Arsenal’s Player of the Season. He came and he conquered. Alexis Sanchez of Chile has come into this football club and he has elevated it to greater heights.

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He is the most impressive player to have settled effortlessly into Premier League life and in the process he has shown what it means to be a world class footballer, week in, week out. Not for a single moment has his head dropped throughout his electric first season in an Arsenal shirt. Everywhere he walked lit up, either through his boyish smile or blistering talent. The Arsenal are formidable with Sanchez leading the fight, carrying the fire. The gunners haven’t had a player of this calibre since the Bergkamp and Henry era. It’s all changed now. Alexis Sanchez has changed the image of Arsenal Football Club. Ozil was the start, but it’s the Chilean who has possessed the constant spark needed to carry this team to a greater level. And he has succeeded, with his Fa Cup thunderbolt the definitive, perfect send off for a majestic first season. And this is just the start. He’s already reached his 50th game in an Arsenal shirt. This is a player on the brink of greatness – and it’ll all be in wonderful red and white. We are blessed.

It’s fitting that the titanic noise of an Fa Cup final was silenced to a state of shock and awe by the brilliance of this super star. Stars perform on the biggest occasions. Not only did Sanchez perform, he sapped the very life from the opposition, team and fans, all resigned to losing to a player of immense talent. He also created the opening pile-driver from Theo Walcott, which will no doubt be lost in the ecstasy of his dominating season. The leap from a player shorter than the two giants challenging him in the air and the fight to head it into a player better positioned could even be the image that sets Sanchez apart from the rest – with the distance stretching by each goal, each assist, each humiliation.

It’s no surprise that our cabinet has started to shine with silver once more after the arrival of two world beaters. Ozil was the first and struggled, but now he’s among the best in world football, stronger, harder to crack, he dominates every game he plays. Adding Alexis Sanchez to the mix made the team catch alight. Sanchez is nailed down to be Wenger’s best ever signing, surpassing 50 games in his first season, on the back of a tiring world cup, to come in and carry a struggling team through the swamps of a stuttering, opening few months of Arsenal’s season. The players feed off his energy and when he’s playing you know there’s magic waiting to be tapped into. His goals have been superb, the range and dynamism of them impressive, not to mention the eye-opening figures. Hazard reaps the plaudits but only on the basis of being in a title winning team. How anyone can look at Hazard’s contribution and elevate it above Sanchez’s first season in English football is far beyond me.

With a hunger and enjoyment few players in the world equal, Alexis Sanchez is greater than the majority. He tinkers on the edge of extraordinary, he plays in his own world and has fun there. He’s the clear stand out player of the season, smashing out performance after performance without break or injury. Looking at his lack of injury through 50 games at a new club and league, and following a draining world cup, he might just be the best player ever to come to English football as if it were his true home. Next season promises to be special with our golden talisman fully and truly integrated into the red and white family, it’s not wrong to expect something incredible. There could be a case of second season syndrome, but you’d have to wonder where such a decline could come from. The Chilean is beaming, the team flourishing and exploring new heights, there’s no cause to go backwards from here.

Honourable mentions:

Mezut Ozil

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The German showed his true colours this season, and for me he has shaken off all doubts and shackles and pretty much controls every single game for his. His intelligence isn’t really challenged in this league and you can see it in every side-step, dummy and pass. Sometimes he makes the opposition look silly without even touching the ball – see his dummy in Arsenal’s 4-1 thrashing of West Brom. Magic. He’s also killed his big game woes, with leading performances in wins over Liverpool, Aston Villa in the final and a host of others – his game his risen and with so has Arsenal’s. He’s been nothing short of expectational for us this season and if anybody still can’t see that, then why bother with this sport.

Francis Coquelin

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A French fairy tale. This is my favourite outcome of this season, the emergence of a player who we’ve always needed and never realised we had. He burst back onto the Arsenal scene through blind luck and fortune, courtesy of an injury nightmare. How did he respond? A man of the match award at the Etihad. It was then that we all saw the player we now had. The gap to the cement the hole. He’s the rock in the team. The warrior. Like Sanchez, he’s levels did not drop for a single minute in each game he played. Like Sanchez, he was was irreplaceable form the staring eleven for the entirety of of Arsenal’s second half of the season. A measure of the player and the fantastic story emerging before our eyes. Arsenal finally have their shield. An no team came go anywhere safely without a shield. This is a huge factor in Arsenal’s new-found success. Protection and grit. Wenger’s lost sheep found his way back from the wilderness.

And we can’t forget Santi Cazorla and his midfield authority. The unsung hero of the season perhaps, away from the spotlight of the two heavy hitters, quietly going about his business to wreak havoc.

A quick wink towards Aaron is due as well, as always. Thanks again for some outrageous talent – that Champions League goal.

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