I have always held the belief that any team that wants to win a title or goes on a cup run needs three key attributes in order to archive their goal. The first is probably the most important. A good team spirit. When Arsene Wenger finally went out into the transfer market and broke the clubs record fee by signing Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42m in the summer, the players already at the club lit up like a Christmas tree. Twitter was rife with Ozil’s German team mates welcoming him to the club and how much they believed he would love it at Arsenal. Interviews were conducted with players who felt that a talent like Ozil could in doubt improve the squad.
It only took him six minutes at the Stadium of Light to show what he is capable of doing when he dismantled Sunderland’s defence with ease. He became an instant hit and was even given a nickname by his new found team mates which you can hear them call him if you listen carefully. Ozzy. The team spirit within the club was there to begin with but it has helped integrate Ozil in to the team as quickly as it did.
The second key attribute that is needed is a player in form. At Arsenal there is no doubt who that man is. Aaron Ramsey has been a revelation this season and is one of the most in form players in Europe at the moment, although a certain Portuguese may disagree. His goals return this season has been influential in getting Arsenal to the top of the league.
In 2002 Arsenal found themselves in a similar position when Robert Pires was in flying form for the first half of the season but didn’t get to finish as he was injured in an FA cup game against Newcastle that ended his campaign. Arsenal fans were in despair as their in form player was now out but a certain flamboyant Swede with peculiar hair took up the reins left by the Frenchman and helped Arsenal to win the league that year.
Arsenal do find themselves in a similar situation this time around again. All through the team players are performing at a level above where they were the season before so if the worst was to happen they may have cover to cope with the loss. Jack Wikshire being an obvious replacement no doubt. And they still await the return of Oxlaide-Chamberlin and Podolski to the mix.
The third key attribute that is required Is something no team has control over. And that is an element of luck. Although Arsenal haven’t put themselves into the situation that requires luck to be on their side yet, you will know that when the opposition hits the wood work in the 93rd minute when your 1-0 to the good that it’s just going to be you’re day. Take a look at what happened in Munich when Chelsea went there in the Champions League final in 2011. Everything possible was going against them. They were playing in the home ground of the opposition Bayern Munich. The were given no hope to win and yet they did even when it looked in the game that they should have beaten.
Arsenal have so far shown all these qualities and the results reflect that and they find themselves 5 points clear at the top of the table. They are the only consistent side in the league this season and with Chelsea, Man City and Man Utd all dropping points like flies everything suggests that they should win the league. Yet so many dismiss them with all this is mind. But why?
With the exception of the two players that have been brought in during the summer this Arsenal side is a relatively unchanged side from the past couple of seasons. It is essentially the same team that struggled to just about get into the top four last year. A team who went to Bradford on a cold winters night and came unstuck with a full strength squad.
This is the same team that has been pretty much out of every competition by February for the past couple of seasons. We are used to seeing Arsenal collapse in November and lose games to Man Utd 8-2 and for most it was a result they could see coming a mile away. And its for that reason that so many write them off.
For the first few games of the season Arsenal have been sublime but the more they won the more you had this doubt in the back of your mind that they will mess up eventually and take themselves out of the running. There is nothing to suggest with their current run of form anything other than a march to the title but we know Arsenal and what has happened in the past and we are waiting for it to happen again. It’s up to Arsenal to prove the doubters wrong and the only way to do that is simple. Win the league.
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