THE FOUR PLAYERS QUIETLY TRANSFORMING OUR SEASON by Uche
Hello folks. I believe you are all in good spirits today. What a difference a great win makes. Just like our game against Hull City in the FA cup, we ran a strong Stoke side ragged in what was arguably our best performance of the season. One cannot help but feel that this Arsenal team might have turned a corner.
After the Stoke game, I sat analyzing this team to find out what is responsible for our current performances. Suddenly we are playing like the Arsenal of old with added energy and all round play to make it even better. Since the Southampton loss, we have had two wins, five goals scored, non-conceded and with totally dominating performances. What I found out is that, apart from the usual suspects of Sanchez and Cazorla, David Ospina, Francis Coquelin, Tomas Rosicky and Laurent Koscielny are the four players quietly transforming our performances. Yes it is a bit too early to praise them all but here and now, they deserve the praise and this is why:
David Ospina: David Ospina is a brilliant goal keeper that we acquired over the summer after a brilliant World Cup performance for his home country of Columbia. He came to us injured so he never really got to make that grand entrance into Arsenal. But having since recovered and played himself into contention, he got his second chance at goal and impressed against Hull City in the FA cup. And then destiny smiled at him again after Wojciech Szczesny followed his Southampton horror show with a cigarette and his loud mouth dad ridiculing Arsenal. Frankly folks, I have never been this excited about an Arsenal player smoking! I have been wondering what it will take for Ospina to finally get his chance. Szczesny has been cocky and inconsistent all through the period he has been Number One in Arsenal and while he is a decent goal keeper, you can always count on him for the occasional blunder. In contrast, David Ospina is humble, seasoned and switched on. Many say he is untested but his club form in Nice and his World cup exploits prove otherwise. Ospina inspires calm and confidence and if he gets to keep his place, he will make the difference for us in the second half of the season.
Francis Coquelin: Every man and his deaf grandmother have all heard by now of how Arsenal needs a ten foot tall beast of a defensive midfielder. This is a problem that has dogged us since Patrick Vieira left. But while we wait for that bruising monster in midfield, our very own Francis Coquelin is quietly pulling a Ramsey. Out of the blue, Coquelin was withdrawn from his latest loan spell in Charlton Athletic and he has been incredible in all the games he has played so far. Even when we were poor at Southampton, he was our best player. Francis is disciplined, focused and sits in front of the back four like a pit bull, breaking up attacks and initiating attacks with quick, forward moving and incisive passes. He is not the finished article but he has been good enough and can only get better. While I would still love a Schneiderlin or Carvalho, just to be safe, Coquelin has earned his place. Besides, players coming in at mid-season with no preseason training with Arsenal are not guaranteed to hit the ground running. With fewer and fewer points to play for and no room for errors, Coquelin just might be our best option now.
Tomas Rosicky: What a gem of a player. Rosicky has been at Arsenal now for almost a decade and is one of those attacking midfielders that best epitomizes the Arsenal way of playing. At the age of 33, this guy has more energy than all our midfielders and he is the oldest of them all. Tomas runs for ninety minutes, ups the tempo of our game, presses and harasses the opposition nonstop, and combines very well with Santi Carzola. He always plays the ball forward and carries a goal threat. Since Alexis stormed Arsenal with his tireless work rate, we have waited for our midfield to catch up with him. Rosicky is now making that happen because he too is a work horse. He has helped us cross the finish line a few times in previous seasons and come the business end of this season, Arsenal will need him again.
Laurent Koscielny: Unlike the other three players, Laurent Koscielny’s quality and value to the team is well known. I have only added him to this list because he recently came back from injury which has really plagued him all through this season. What Laurent brings to our defense, besides being solid and world class, is that he makes Per Mertesacker a better player. When Koscielny is in the side, our best defense is on display and that confidence can be seen from the way the team plays. Not having to worry about your defence fills attacking players with the confidence to play freely and go forward.
So let us hope that these four players remain available and involved so that the team continues to impress the way it has done in the last two games. With the form of Southampton, Tottenham, Man Utd, Liverpool and even West Ham, God knows a fourth place finish will be as hard as nails this time around.
Have a great week guys.
Lagos – Nigeria