That’s right, I said it. I strongly believe this will be the year ending Arsenal’s trophy drought. The entire team’s quality, desire, and unity have risen from previous years. To me, the main culprits behind our fantastic success this year has been from the spine of the team. In fact, I believe we have the four main character(istic)s to be a strong team, which are, the finisher, the creator, the runner, and the commander.
Before I begin, I have to give credit to @ilGoNearPost for originally coming up with some of the names I’m using for this article.
The Finisher – Olivier Giroud
The Frenchman has been superb this year scoring 10 goals in 21 appearances in all competitions – a ratio that has improved from last season. His power is definitely an asset in a technically gifted team. But I can’t forget to mention his fantastic link up play that allows him to fit perfectly in Arsenal’s attack.
The Creator – Mesut Özil
Said to be Germany’s best player by Lionel Messi, Özil cost Arsenal around £42.5m this summer and has been worth every penny. He cruises through every game and is so engrained in each match, he orchestrates play without making it seem obvious. He already has 5 goals and 8 assists in 17 games this year. He has been key to Arsenal’s vastly improved link up play and finishing this year.
The Runner – Aaron Ramsey
Ramsey is experiencing a sort of renaissance this year. He has finally got back to his best since his horrendous leg break that every Arsenal fan will never forget. He has been named Arsenal’s player of the month for 5 straight months now (could be more, I’ve lost count now). He’s constantly moving, looking for open space to receive the ball in order to make a pass or take a shot. His overall contribution has been excellent, scoring 10 goals and assisting 6 more in 19 appearances.
The Commander – Per Mertesacker
When thinking about the last piece in the puzzle, I had to give it to the commanding Per Mertesacker. This isn’t intended to take anything away from Laurent Koscielny, who has had a stellar year so far, but I see Mertesacker as more “important” (if I dare say that) because we don’t have ready replacement for him. On the other hand, Koscielny and Vermaelen are similar players, who play a more traditional “sweeper” role. When Per Mertesacker isn’t in the side, we lack an organizer to keep everyone calm, cool, and collected.
All four of these players are without a doubt the first on the team sheet, or at least they would be in my team. But the real point I want to make with this article isn’t because of the traits and skills each player possesses that will lead Arsenal to the title, but it’s their mentality. It’s their love for Arsenal that will finally put us over the line.
In recent seasons we’ve had players that haven’t been dedicated to Arsenal like Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor, and most recently, Robin Van Persie. Whenever we’ve had a winning team, we’ve had players who loved the club like Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Tony Adams, etc. This year we have players who love the club, like the players I just listed.
Here are some quotes from the players in our spine. Before you read these quotes, I advise you to keep a tissue box close by.
“Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie did not build themselves up in one season, I only reached the top level at 25 years old. If you take Van Persie, he exploded two, three years ago for Arsenal and, for Thierry Henry, I scored as many goals as him in my first season here. It makes me want to become the No.1 striker at Arsenal and that later people say: ‘At Arsenal, there was Henry, Van Persie and Giroud’.”
– Olivier Giroud
“Özil is not demonstrative. He is quiet, devout, humble. Ivan Gazidis, the Arsenal chief executive, tells the story of when Özil first arrived and insisted on being taken around the offices at the Emirates to meet every member of staff.” – David Hytner The Guardian
“I think that everyone’s intention once they signed their contracts is to see them through, to be with this team and to win things with this team,” says Ramsey. “I think that’s important. We are excited about what can happen not just this year but over the long term.” – Aaron Ramsey
“Being Arsenal makes me proud…I grabbed the Arsenal shirt and my brother grabbed the Man United shirt. There was always a rivalry between ManU and Arsenal and always (a) big rivalry between us as brothers. I actually have two shirts, the JVC one, home and away. There are pictures of me playing in the shirt, aged 10 or 12. I liked Tony Adams. I’ve always wanted to be in touch with Arsenal, have a little relationship between us. It was a big thing when Arsenal first called me. I said to myself: ‘I have to go. I have the shirt’.’’ – Per Mertesacker
Just these few quotes show the desire within the themselves. You can see just from these four players, they not only have quality but, they have a desire to win. You can see the entire team shares that passion, drive, and determination from the performances we’ve shown this year. I’m certain, this year will be our year because the board, the manager, the fans, and the players don’t just want to win, but win for Arsenal.