There is a lot of talk about what Ozil means for this team, and some pundits are starting to pinpoint all our early success to the arrival of our new-Bergkamp. Ozil is a great player and the arrival of him was first of all a statement of intent to the fans, the players and the outside world. MO11 fits in very well and is indeed making a great difference right now. And the psychological impact of his arrival is almost equally as big.
But it would be a mistake to just focus on Ozil for the team’s apparent transformation. There is a tendency in people, especially lazy journalists, to simplify things. Ozil was the big buy and is producing most of the assists, so it’s all down to him….
I reckon there is more to this Arsenal squad that has turned us into a far better team. We have spoken at length about the difference Flamini is making in terms of defending in midfield, and how his extrovert personality adds so much good-old-fashioned leadership to the team. We have eulogised about the fantastic form both Giroud and Ramsey are in and how they have compensated so well for both Cazorla’s and Theo absence/lack of form until now.
But there is also Sagna’s transformation into a more than decent replacement for our big fecking German. Knowing that we have a good alternative for our real leader on the pitch is so important for the balance of the team. For years we have struggled to have two sets of decent CBs who compliment each other and who will last for a whole season. Koz and Vermaelen are very similar in style and type: the Keowns of this Arsenal if you want; whereas, BFG and now Sagna are more like our Adamses of this era. Moving Sagna into the CB spot, if and when required, was a mini-masterstroke by Bould & Wenger.
The other important improvement is the coming of age of the fantastic Kieran Gibbs. I saw the first glimpse of this when we played Bayern away last year. There was something in his performance that made me think this boy is about to announce himself at the top stage of football. Of course, it is still early and we should not get carried away, but Gibbs is quickly growing into an important player for this new Arsenal team. His improving defensive discipline combined with his wing-play and ability to defend very effectively against counter-attacks – from when we have taken a corner or a free kick in the other half – are all vital to the success of this team. He is also looking more solid and stable and far less likely to get injured now.
All other players have stepped up and add tons of value to this team, but I reckon that the above mentioned six players’ improvements/additions to the team are making the real difference right now. And long may it continue. 🙂
Written by: TotalArsenal.