Behind the scenes actions have put on the field results by KM
Ah, as the first premier league game of the season gets ever so close, maybe it’s time to put into account what happened that transformed Arsenal from top 4 finishers to back to back FA cups & Community shields winners.
It’s hardly one thing alone, but if I had to put a finger on it, it will first point to the backroom staff changes. We replaced Pat Rice, a true legend and great servant to AFC, with Steve Bould and if you’ve forgotten how horrible we were on set pieces, maybe it’s because our new more balanced style has won your heart.
Another major figure sitting in the shadows of our successful second half of the season is Shad Forsythe. The guy left us with a fully fit squad that just had enough to dominate the league even though Wenger refused to rotate. Even though Welbeck is injured and Alexis is missing, we still had dilemmas up front with our starting 11 against Chelsea.
Smart players is another thing that goes totally unnoticed, but in fact, we have players who sat down, analyzed their mistakes after the Southampton game, and started to work more for each other ditching the managers ‘all guns blazing’ approach. In fairness to Arsene he went along with the will of the players and it works. Turns out that the manager could learn a thing or two from the players too, rather than what people expect to be always the other way round.
The goalkeeper. Even though we have only just landed Cech, it was becoming ever more clear that a new keeper will eventually take Szczesny’s place and so did Ospina. Fast forward a year later and Cech is now dominating on goal and Szczesny is off to Roma. I’m so happy about this, if Wenger told me he was leaving last year, I would have booked him the ticket myself.
Clearing out the deadwood is another road sign passed by seemingly unnoticed. Players like Park, Chamakh, Squillaci, Bendtner, Diaby, Denilson and Podolski are out. Who of them had bad fortunes, who didn’t fit in the squad, and who were just bad is another matter. The good news is they are out, and as the wages money freed up, in came some shiny new players.
The signings. The impact the signing of Ozil made alone on our squad was good enough to see us two thirds of the season at first place. Last year we added Sanchez who carried our team through the first half of the season which was full of average performances. Now we’ve added a goalkeeper of immense quality to bring calmness to our back four.
And finally the manager. Far from being his biggest fan at times I have to give him credit for finally accepting some truths and moving on from some old habits. Is it because he realizes he’s at the end of his career and wants to go out with a bang? Or was there pressure on him to deliver with last years contract negotiations going late? Maybe a combination of both, but results show improvement.
When such huge monies are involved in the sport it becomes more and more tied with the results. What Mourinho said about Arsenal leaving the philosophy in the dressing room, means he maybe sees us as a threat. It’s a compliment more than an insult.
The real insult will be if we fail to get that little extra quality we need up front and that elusive DM that will support Coquelin. I didn’t mention Money as a key factor because too often it was Wenger’s excuse for not upgrading on all the other things I mentioned earlier.
However, when people on the board bomb out statements that you have 200 mills in the bank and you are a player or two away from a real title challenge, it’s not serious to risk the best chance we’ve had for years to win the league, and an excuse of ‘there wasn’t enough quality’ would just seem silly.
This season will be interesting to say the least, because for the first time in many years Arsenal will be regarded as serious contenders. The underdog status will no longer be on our side. We have a large squad with a mixture of talent experience and a few titles to the peoples names (well at least 2 FA cups).
We’re close, really close. Will we make the changes necessary to push ourselves to the top, or will we wait and see if what we have is good enough? Time will tell.