Is Arsenal Still a One-Man Team?
At the end of last season, Olivier Giroud earned the plaudits for being Arsenal’s highest goalscorer with 22 goals (16 in the league) but the undisputed Player of the Season was Aaron Ramsey. He rose to prominence to become Arsenal’s top dog and he even overshadowed a world-class midfielder that was signed for £42.5m.
This season things were expected of Ramsey but a combination of fitness issues and a poor patch of form saw the Welsh Jesus’ performances plummet to the below-par standards reminiscent of his 2011/12 campaign. This ultimately meant that someone else had to step down when the chips were down for the team. That’s when we got some hot chili sensation – Alexis Sanchez.
It wasn’t always like this for the Chilean. He managed only 45 minutes against Everton (away) and was even benched for the North London derby at the Emirates but as the games progressed he began to make his presence felt. Arsenal fans won’t quickly forget his blitz against Hull, Sunderland and Burnley and as the games kept on coming, Sanchez became the ‘go-to’ guy the players could depend on to come up with the goods. With 18 goals to his name already, it’s no surprise that the journos and media vultures decided to brand the Gunners as a ‘one-man’ team. Of course, there were the memes online and I can vividly remember how I saw a picture of just Alexis smiling with the caption ‘Arsenal’s 2014/15 Team Photo‘.
My question is – Are the Gunners truly a one-man team? Is scoring goals the only measure of a players importance to a team?
Look at the likes of Francis Coquelin, Nacho Monreal and more recently, David Ospina. These guys have put up superb shifts in recent weeks and they deserve some measure of pressure praise. Even in attack, there have been games Arsenal had to count on other players to come up with the goods because Alexis Sanchez was heavily marked out. As we speak, Arsenal’s most in-form player is Santi Cazorla and he has recorded six goals and seven assists in his last 12 games, Olivier Giroud has scored seven goals since his return from his injury layoff and Tomas Rosicky continues to show the fans, what they’d miss when he leaves the club.
After Alexis had a hamstring strain, Wenger rallied his troops against Aston Villa and it was one of the best attacking displays I’ve seen from the team in a very long time. I’m pretty sure that Alexis would have been gutted for missing such a game as the Gunners knocked a hatful of goals past Paul Lambert’s side. Giroud’s finish will always be remembered for Mesut Özil’s assist, Özil’s finish showed his quality on the ball, Theo Walcott’s curled effort was Thierry Henry-esque, Cazorla’s penalty was somewhat fortunate but it was no less than he deserved and Hector Bellerin’s placed effort was a goal a center forward would have been proud of.
For the first time in ages, the boss would have headaches in selecting his teams, and e could go into some matches with Alexis Sanchez.
I never thought such a day would come.