What a Time to be an Arsenal Fan
That’s the last time I published an article on this blog. However, when you compare this to the winless duration against the likes of Aston Villa, Leeds, Wolves, Spurs, Burnley, Southampton, Everton in the League as well as Man City in the EFL Cup, then it’s nothing. Arsenal had clearly reached its nadir and with the way we were going so far down in the Premier League table, we almost found oil.
But it takes a manager with a good set of cojones to make the big calls and axe the underwhelming players, which brought about a change in our fortunes. Nicolas Pepe and Willian have been largely inconsistent and underwhelming for the major part of the campaign – Willian especially, so it was good to see the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka, who had his own inconsistent run, come to the fold. No one could have envisaged the success of Emile Smith-Rowe in the
Ozil attacking midfield role, with the youngster excelling admirably, linking up with his teammates and supplying some much needed killer balls expected of a player in that role.
Then there’s the form of Alexandre Lacazette. Oh wow! Football is an interesting sport indeed. Laca is one polarizing player that has had his fair share of vitriol from the fan base and after clamoring for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to feature in the middle, which of course, would cost Lacazette his place in the team, we got our wish and the outcome was pretty much the same – Arsenal stinking up the entire place. However, Lacazette was reinstated into the team and the goals started flowing. I was particularly happy about that match winner against Brighton.
After the terrible run of form, the return of three wins on the trot against Chelsea, Brighton and West Brom has certainly eased the pressure off Mikel Arteta and brought the feel-good factor back to the side. It was really sad seeing the team struggle for those days and weeks and months and it certainly felt like forever.
As fans, our mettle was tested and all the manager and the team deserved was our full blown support. It’s times like these that you remember that badge in front of the merchandise you buy and show why you’re a supporter. Like every real relationship, you have to be there through thick and thin, as it’s not expected that every day would be peachy and creamy.
Off the pitch, the threat of COVID-19 still lingers with one of our outstanding performers this season, Gabriel, self isolating following some contact and there have been a couple of injury concerns. I was really scared for Gabriel Martinelli when he clashed with the Man City goalie, Zak Steffen, and struggled for the rest of the game but luckily it wasn’t as bad as we feared and he went on to have a blinder against Chelsea.
To transfers, Sead Kolasinac went through the back door to join his former club, Schalke 04, pretty much like how he joined in the first place and in all honesty, he will not be missed. His absence puts some form of pressure on Kieran Tierney, who will now be expected to feature in every game, but we have a certain Ainsley Maitland-Niles that can do a job on that flank if selected. Talk of another cast-away, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, leaving the club on a free transfer to join one of his former teams, Genoa, is making the rounds, and it’s quite a sad way to see one of the club’s loyal lieutenants leave. Kudos to him for not making a fuss out of not being registered despite the fact that he always gave his all when selected, even though he was one average Joe. William Saliba joined OGC Nice on loan and I’d be watching him closely, as his transfer to the club, loan away to his former team, fuss over him playing in the French Cup final, only to return to his parent club and not play any match remains one of the mysteries of the beautiful game.
This leaves us with the likes of Mesut Ozil, Skhodran Mustafi and David Luiz to think about. Ozil has always been vocal about how he is going to honor his contract and pick up his fat paycheck till it expires this summer, but he’s likely to leave to Fenerbahce or probably the MLS. Mustafi has fallen out of favor with the manager and seems content with a place in the dugout but the club should be aiming to relieve him off his duties when his contract expires this summer, as he has been a disaster in his time at the club. Yes, he has had some decent moments but the German is no where close to the £35m we paid Valencia eons ago for his services. David Luiz on the other hand, seems to be at loggerheads with the gaffer, that’s if you believe every rumors thrown at you, but in terms of his footballing ability, we all can attest to the fact that he’s on a decline. Yes, the long balls and inch-perfect passes would be missed but the Brazilian defender has had some shockers and is close to his twilight.
All roads led to the FA Cup game against Newcastle and we can only hope for the great form to continue, even though we should expect some changes to the personnel.
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