A new season, same ole article. We have read this every year before the first kickoff of the Premier League. “Arsenal will finish first!” “This is our year!” “This time is different!”
Arsenal are coming off a season without trophies…wait…they’re not? Maybe this year IS different! Arsenal finished last season by winning the FA Cup. They expressed the type of football fans enjoyed. No team remained on top of the table longer than Arsenal. A state of admiration and euphoria will carry on to 2014/2015. Arsene Wenger’s project will finally come together.
Decent but Perfect
We all know Arsene Wenger is not known for buying the best stars football has to offer. He rarely overspends on players he feels are overpriced for their status. More commonly, Wenger goes to the market and picks up those lesser known but adequate players that he can purchase with a limited budget.
In 2012– Giroud, Podolski, Monreal, and Cazorla arrived at London. Of these four, fans were most angered by the signing of Giroud, since many wishing for a star striker after the departure of van Persie. Podolski was well recieved. And why not? After all, he was a German constantly in the starting XI for Germany. Despite the German’s popularity, Cazorla infused a bit of Spanish football into Arsenal, offering elegance and directness.
The season after, 2013, the three main transfers were Sonogo, Flamini, and Oezil. Wenger surprised the football world with the unprecedented transfer of the former Real Madrid star. In this last season of the Premiership, we witnessed how the squad is slowly gelling into a competitive group that can soon be feared. Wenger gathered pieces of a puzzle, lost a few, yet found replacements that fit better. Even Giroud enjoyed moments where he shined profoundly. Towards the end of the season (mainly in the FA Cup final) Sonogo revealed glimpses of his future self as a talented striker to be.
And for this upcoming season– thus far– Wenger has pleased the masses with Sanchez and Debuchy; we still wait for Khedira to put pen on paper. These players might be the last bit Arsenal need in order to lift the Premier League trophy. Although there are more important signings worth mentioning prior to 2012, that can be another article on its own.
Arsenal Have Aaron Ramsey
Even with the great signings from the previous season and this season (thus far), Aaron Ramsey remains the key player for the Gooners. For many years, Ramsey has always regarded as a player with great potential. He arrived at the club at age 17, looking like a promising future for club and player. However, in February 2010, Ramsey sustained a leg fracture that put him off the field until October 2010. This injury hindered Ramsey’s development, showing sparks of talent but not at the same level as he did prior.
Finally, in the 2013/2014 season, the Ramsey that the Arsenal fans had been waiting for emerged. From August to December, the Welsh midfielder netted 13 goals in all competitions and was Arsenal’s Player of the Month in the first four months of the season: August, September, October, and November. According to BSports’ StatsInsights, Ramsey had completed the most passes for Arsenal. Many fans were thrilled with the signing of Mesut Oezil– hoping the German would lead them to their first trophy in 9 years. Nonetheless, it was the Welsh leading the Gooners to top of the league.
On December of 2013, Ramsey sustained a high thigh injury that would leave him off the field for the following three months. In those three months, Arsenal lost the lead in the Premiership title race and was eliminated from the Champions League (once again by Bayern Munich). Arsenal no longer dominated teams like they did in the first half of the season. Ozil’s form was questioned; fans, again, became irritated and disappointed with Wenger and the club. Clearly, Ramsey’s absence negatively affected the club along with injuries from teammates.
Arsenal’s young midfielder returned in time for the FA Cup final against Hull City. Yet again, Ramsey demonstrated he is the key player for the Gooners by scoring the winner– ending Arsenal’s nine year drought without a title. Arsenal fans hope (or pray) Ramsey carries this form to the upcoming season.
Returning from Injuries
Arsenal and injuries go hand-in-hand. Has there been a season that Arsenal competed with a full, healthy squad? Young stars such as Wilshere, Walcott, and Oxlade-Chamberlain are plagued by injuries that slow their progress and development. Also, this causes Wenger to change players positioning or the system in order to fill gaps.
Diaby’s long injury is what brought Flamini back to Arsenal. The need of squad rotation saw Ramsey partner up with Arteta at defensive midfielder. Walcott’s pace at the final third was replaced with slower, creative players like Rosicky. It is a never-ending story for Arsenal.
Like previous years, fans hope this season will be different. Maybe Walcott will complete a full year out on the right, which will add width to the narrow system forced upon the squad last season. With the possible purchase of Khedira and the return of Diaby, Ramsey can push up and create were he is most needed. Wilshere and Ox will develop above expectations; they will lead the Gooners to victory.
All of Wenger’s pieces are coming together to become something special. Last season’s FA Cup foreshadowed what is to come for the loyal fans that have been watching their club put up with a curse. 2014-2015 will be Arsenal’s time.