Score three goals off of set pieces which Stoke City normally dominate.
Win by penalties? Done!
Field a bunch of “baby” Gunners with an experienced back line and experience in midfield with Mikel Arteta (can’t forget about Nicklas Bendtner up front, who looks like a man coming back from a long journey through the wilderness) against an experienced West Brom side in the Capital One Cup. They couldn’t pull through during regular and extra time, and surprisingly won by penalties where experience usually plays a major role in determining who wins.
Fact of the matter is, Arsenal have found ways to pull out wins and have been showing a fighting spirit as of late; a fighting spirit that hasn’t been present in recent years past. The development of this fighting spirit starts with the manager, Arsene Wenger.
Wenger put his faith in a lot of young talent, such as Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, and Carl Jenkinson, just to name a few. Wenger knew there would be growing pains with these players but in time they will mature and become a force together. Today, we definitely see the growth in each and every one of these players, especially Aaron Ramsey.
Ramsey has hit the form of his life this season with eight goals, three in the Champions League and five in the Premier League. Not only has he been great offensively, he’s also been great defensively as one of the top tackling midfielders in the Premier League. This is a player that many thought Wenger should have gave up on, but Wenger continued to play him despite the negativity from the supporters and the media. Wenger’s support has been rewarded with a player who is now highly confident and controls the midfield for Arsenal.
This same support is the reason why the others have blossomed. With young players that have potential, patience is key. Young players are going to make mistakes, but it is something that has to be expected and they have to grow from it. As they grow and get better, self-belief begins to develop and once a player has that, sky is the limit. Wenger stuck with these players and now he is reaping the benefits of doing so. Not only have each of these players matured and improved, their togetherness has them willing to not only fight for the badge on their shirt but also for each other.
It also helps that Arsenal now has a solid defense. Arsenal finished last season with the 2nd best defensive record in the league and to start off this season, gave up seven goals in six games which isn’t bad. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny form a formidable duo in the middle of defense while Bacary Sagna and Gibbs probably make up one of the most solid full-back duos in the Premier League. Arsenal also have solid backups in Thomas Vermaelen (center-back), Nacho Monreal and Jenkinson (full-backs), and you can’t forget about Mathieu Flamini (who has proven to be a steal this season) and Arteta, who protect the back four in midfield. Their defending allow Arsenal to attack the way they want to attack.
Who else allows, or should I say, helps Arsenal attack the way they want to attack? The man they call Mesut Özil. Not only has Özil meshed well with Arsenal’s midfield/attack, he has also helped bring more belief into the team. If there was any doubt within the team that they’d be able to achieve something this season before his arrival, those doubts were immediately smashed once his signing was announced. A world class signing like Özil can do a lot for a team that needs a lift and Arsenal definitely needed a world class one.
Ultimately, Arsenal’s fighting spirit comes from their belief in one another. There are eleven players on the pitch who see the quality and class in one another and are willing to fight, no matter how hard it gets.
So who gon’ stop, who gon’ stop Arsenal now?! Don’t know who or if any team will, but one thing is for certain, now is a great time for Arsenal supporters all over the world.
P.S. – Watch out for “baby” Gunner Serge Gnabry! Scored his first Premier League goal today against Swansea and had two penetrating runs through Swansea’s defense, the first one almost resulting in a goal for Olivier Giroud.
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