Arsenal – Real Contenders?

It wasn’t long ago that I was writing an article about how I felt Arsenal would do this season. It was written before the signing of Mesut Ozil, but still, I felt they had no chance, and it could be a really poor season for them ahead. However, Arsene the magician has waved his magic wand. They have been outstanding so far, and sit top of the table with 16 points.

To start with I thought I was spot on, they kicked off their campaign with a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Aston Villa, not the start any Arsenal fans would have wanted. But following this defeat Arsenal won 5 Premier League games in a row, as well as four Champions League games and one League Cup game. You could argue that yes, Ozil’s influence has made a real change to Arsenal, and he really does make them a much better team, however, this run started before he joined. Before the 2nd of September (when Ozil signed) Arsenal one twice in the league, once against Fulham, and another against rivals Tottenham, a very strong team this year. They also managed two wins in the Champions League against Fenerbahce.

So what else, bar Ozil, is making Arsenal win? Aaron Ramsey. Ramsey joined Arsenal in 2008, a very promising youngster who had a lot going for him, fast forward 2 years to 27th February 2010, Ramsey suffers a broken tibia and fibula following a tackle from Ryan Shawcross at the Britannia Stadium in a game against Stoke. A big knock for the youngster, but Arsenal helped him through and 8 months later he was back in training. He didn’t seem to be the player he was before, he had two short loans in 2011 at Nottingham Forest and Cardiff. He appeared back in and out of the team, and this season he has got his real break. He has hit the ground running, and really seems to be back to his best, he was always a player with huge potential, which might have been delayed in showing due to his huge set back. Injuries like this take a while to rebuild confidence and play at your best again, and I think this season Aaron Ramsey is back at his very best. This has been a huge boost for Arsenal.

Someone who we can’t forget, is Olivier Giroud, it is safe to say he has taken time to settle in, but now he has he seems a real threat this season, with four goals already. We also cannot forget a signing from Wenger which was over shadowed by the introduction of Ozil, but signing Mathieu Flamini on a free was a stroke of genius, one which has payed off as he has been outstanding so far and real worker for Arsenal.

In many ways, Ramsey and Giroud are like new signings the way they have started this season, and with Ozil and Flamini as well it makes for the foundations of a really good team. Arsene Wenger is a clever man, maybe, from what he saw in pre-season he knew that huge additions were not needed, and that some players already in the squad could be the ones to make a difference.

It is not quite the finished article yet, with Arsenal arguably a Striker short at the moment, but the way the team have started this season, they seem real contenders for the Premier League title, and who knows, maybe the Champions League too? I for one have certainly changed my opinion on them.

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