It would be fair to say that expectations at the Emirates Stadium were exceptionally low at the start of the season, after the club decided to cash in on both Robin Van Persie and Alex Song. Even though Arsene Wenger had been fairly active prior to those transfers, the general feeling was that of negativity at the club ahead of the new season.
Fortunately, things have turned out much better than everyone planned. Even though Van Persie is a player that probably won’t be replaced properly for a long, long time, the Gunners at least seem to be coping very well in his absence. In fact, their form over recent weeks has led some people to suggest that they are once again genuine title contenders and they have proved that they can at least compete with the very best. Following on from this, we look at the three issues with have helped Arsene Wenger’s men get to this position.
One of the main matters that many were worried about was the departure of the long-serving Pat Rice during the summer. Wenger certainly acted swiftly when he appointed Steve Bould as his new assistant and already, the former defender has been applauded from many quarters. It’s been no secret that one of the big problems at Arsenal over the years has been their defensive frailties, but it appears as though Bould has helped instil some of his own principles from this department in the squad. The Gunners are still playing their fluent football, but they boast the second best record at the back in the division having conceded just four goals. If they can continue to keep such a tight ship, there’s no reason why they can’t build on this early success. In fact check out some betting offers on Arsenal this season.
After signing for almost £11m last summer, it would be fair to say that Gervinho made an inconsistent start to his career at the Emirates Stadium and was never really regarded as a regular. However, this term is completely different and having already scored six goals in the opening few weeks, he looks like a new signing. Undoubtedly the main reason for the improvement in front of goal is the change in position, with Wenger now opting to use the Ivory Coast international as a striker. Some people have compared the situation to that of Thierry Henry several years ago, as Wenger started using the Frenchman on the wing, only to convert him as a striker later on in his Arsenal career. If Gervinho can experience anything like as much success as Henry, that £11m may not sound like too much after all.
Arsenal have relied on a creative spark in midfield for a number of years and following Cesc Fabregas’ departure in 2011, there was something of a void in the middle. Wenger therefore moved for Santi Cazorla during the summer and unlike several other of his purchases, this is a player who arrived with a superb reputation. Suffice to say, he has completely lived up to his reputation and has arguably been Arsenal’s most impressive performer through the opening weeks. While he may have only scored the one goal, he has been involved in countless assists and many supporters believe that Wenger has pulled off a real coup in bringing him to the Emirates Stadium. Moreover, after hitting nine goals in thirty eight league appearances last term for Malaga, Cazorla’s record in front of goal is sure to improve in the near future and he will then become the complete player that the Gunners midfield has been begging for over the last few months.