Which Arsenal player will surprise us all this season?

It’s done now, bright side?‏ by JC

The transfer window is officially over. I, probably like a lot of Arsenal fans, was glued to Sky’s coverage of deadline day yesterday. What started as the hopes that we were in for a marquee player, soon drifted to the hope that we would sign just about anyone at all. The heartbreak that followed by the reading of tweets, reminders that we were the only club in Europe’s top five leagues not to sign an outfield player and the fact that we spend 10 million measly dollars was compounded and the rage that followed resulted in a near sleepless night…

I will spare a quick paragraph on opposition movements. Please remember the windows past. The times Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester United and Co. have gone on spending sprees, brought in players that make us green with jealousy as they’re players who are Football Manager superstars, have Youtube compilations worthy of shock and awe and possess great stats in the less competitive leagues around Europe, only to fade into the long list of players who never made it in the Premier league. Heck, remember this time last year being absolutely fearful of the thought of Di Maria and Falcao in the same team. And I will also spare a thought for the always entertaining, the one, the only, Mario Balotelli.

For those of you whose minds are still understandably stuck on a loop, thinking ‘If Coquelin gets injured we’re screwed!’ or ‘another season with Giroud leading the line cannot win us a title,’ fair enough. I can definitely see merit in those arguments. But this article is not intended to address that. A week without the possibility of enjoying watching Arsenal play is just unfathomable for me, and with a long international break to get through I’m now done picturing what could have been with the squad and going to focus on what’s ahead.

What I’d instead like to focus on is a common trend that I’ve noticed. For years now it seems that we always have at least one player step up above and beyond any of our wildest expectations and produce at the highest level. Last season we had the 19 year old Hector Bellerin break out from the youth team after impressive spells in the U21’s. No loan moves, no bedding in period just thrown in the deep end after Debuchy’s terrible luck, Chamber’s unconvincing displays and after barely a season in the first team he’s earned an international call-up to one of the deepest squads on the planet.

I’m an avid follower of our loanees, but with me there are definitely levels of curiosity in how certain players are doing. Djourou, Chamakh and Bendtner were names I glossed over, hoping their ridiculous wages would be off the books sooner rather than later. I’d written them off completely after having their chances with us and quite simply, being a liability for us more times than not on the pitch. Then there was another French-man I’d simply gloss over as more often than not he didn’t even make the first-team at Lorient and Frieburg. Seeing a 23 year old on the bench for lowly Charlton week after week was surely a telling sign of his quality? In hindsight, no it was not.

Coquelin slotted into the first-team effortlessly. The fact that his ridiculous defensive statistics, aggression and overall contribution to our team can even be mentioned in the same sentence as the league’s best speaks volumes of him as a player. In the instance of Coquelin, I do actually agree with Wenger. The way in which he wins the ball back with truly elite numbers, the changes in our team’s overall, stronger defensive mentality, our record with him in the team and without, the defensive cover he added to allow Santi to flourish in the deeper role. If we’d spent 40mil on him, there would be a strong case for that money being justified.

The season before last there was a certain midfielder I doubt anyone would’ve battered an eyelid if we’d sold, some fans I’d go as far as saying would be overjoyed! But he went on to do his best Frank Lampard scoring impression, while still putting in a defensive work rate that would have given poor Frankie a heart attack! The season before there was Theo (22 goals, 14 assists. Anyone care to quote me the voted premier league player of last season’s numbers? I’ll even let you include penalties), before that Judas deciding he was done with sitting on the injury table. I could go on… But my point being, if anyone had predicted these players seasons would have been as successful as they were I dare say there’s a good chance they would have been institutionalised in some cases.

I will preface this following statement with the knowledge that it may well be twisting the knife for quite a few of you. Wenger often references the ‘quality within the squad.’ I’ve been looking over the names, juggling potential line-ups in my head, and I don’t think it’s nearly as impossible to picture us finding the formidable form we showed for an extended period last season and more as the gloomy mood would suggest. We have Oxlade-Chamberlain who’s shown flashes of absolutely tearing through defences.

Wilshere who could quite possibly kick the injury curse and put in a stellar season (I’ll reference RVP for this one), Theo who has every chance to re-find the goal-scoring touch that made him our most dangerous player before his extended absence. Who knows? Danny Welbeck may find a bit of confidence in himself, find some composure in his first-touch and finishing and use his phenomenal physical tools to good effect. Some of these names may leave a salty taste in some fans mouths. But please, remember the Ramsey and Coquelin cases. Even seemingly the most lost causes of players can come out and surprise. All of the players I’ve mentioned definitely have it in them. It’s on them to step up and I think at the bare minimum one will. One always does…


Tags Bellerin Coquelin ox


  1. This has always been the problem at Arsenal. There is one player who carries the team. Last year it was Alexis, before that Theo, 3-4 years back it was RVP.
    We need a team that is strong in all departments, and not 1-2 individuals carrying the team.

    Lets hope this year Ozil, Alexis, Coquelin, Kocielny can all how consistently high performances. With that and some goals from Giroud, Theo and Welbeck combined, we would have a semblance of a chance to win something big. Otherwise, its the usual top 4 finish.

      1. No. It was RVP, Fabregas and Nasri, but then they left within 2seasons. After that it was Cazorla, then it was Ramsey then it was Walcott

        1. It was RVP first, then Cazorla, then Walcott, then Ramsey, then Koscielny, recently Alexis and now it looks like it will be Ozil we rely on

    1. The whole ‘carrying’ I think gets blown out of proportion. Definitely in relation to last season. City’s slump in form coincided with Toure heading to the cup of nations, but for some reason people don’t slate the team for being reliant on him. If you take away Cesc and Hazard, Chelsea’s creativity absolutely dries up. Costa’s hamstrings are about as reliable as his scoring at the moment and how many goals did Falcao and Remy score between them last season??

      With the addition of Cech, I look at our defence and think it’s the strongest it’s been in a decade. WC keeper, 3 reliable CB’s and 2 quality wingback’s in competition either side. Shielded by a very, very defensively productive DM. Ozil, Cazorla or Ramsey in front of that is no shortage of options in midfield. Then Sanchez and two other spots still currently up for grabs in front of that. There’s questions about our attack, certainly. I’ll definitely admit to that. Though I’m not going to join in with so many others saying with absolute certainty ‘this player can’t do this’ when there’s players who have every capability to step up.

      People seem quick to jump on the whole ‘carrying’ us, when a lot of the time it’s just a player performing well for us. Theo, Giroud, Ramsey and Sanchez have all had periods of red hot form. Last season Sanchez’s form dropped and Giroud was scoring for fun for two or so months. His dry-spell coincided with the team’s best run of results. There’s quality in the side and I can’t see us being to over-reliant on any one player. Runs of form should be praised, not a reason to slate the rest of the team.

      1. Absolutely and we’ve never really been carried by 1 player, we always have different people performing and scoring goals, were one of the few teams in Europe that keeps getting consistent results when we were selling our best players and every year it’s a different player contributing

        1. I think you agree with my statement in a way when you say “every year its a different player contributing” . What we need is a group of players contributing all together.
          And when some in the group stop contributing, there is enough depth for someone else to step-up. The depth has always been missing at Arsenal, and it would be one more year without the same.

          1. I did. But when someone’s form drops, someone else usually steps in. If you replace the word ‘carrying’ with ‘amazing form’ it pretty much says the same thing but with different connotations.
            Injuries obviously have hurt our depth substantially over the years. By no means are there any indications this season will be any different, but I think the quality in depth is pretty good, especially if Wilsh, Theo and Ox can remain fit. Not to mention having a reliable third choice CB to step in for the first time in years to help with the almost annual ‘defensive crisis.’

            1. Agree with your points, but if you take away Ramsey’s and RVP’s goals, we would have been struggling those years

          2. Sanchez had a dry spell and we were still winning games and I’m pretty sure we beat a team 3-0 or 4-1. My point is it’s not like if 1 player or our “star” player isn’t scoring then were screwed someone else always picks up the slack

      2. unfortunately, u AKBs just wouldn’t change…….. Sometimes when u lot are saying all these sh*ts i feel like its wenger typing with the hand of his emissaries. After yesterday, i dn’t expect to hear anymore “ambition” talk from u Lot…… We just have to rely on fate, hardwork and Luck …..and hope it takes us there…..AMBITION is something u Invest in……… Not for the stingy!

    2. Cech
      Bellerin gabriel koss monreal
      Coq. Ramsey
      Cazorla. Ozil sanchez

      And rotate the right wing position with ox and theo .
      That should be our starting xi this season

  2. Okay guys, the transfer window is closed………No players signed (beside cech) left fans saying Wenger out….wenger this and that.

    Frankly there is absolutely nothing we can do……BUT to support our current crop of players.

    Personally I would of like if wanayama/bender + rues/lawandoski/cavani joined, but it was not to be.

    However, lets look at the current crop. Personally defensively, we are quite sound with Gabriel proving he is quality when called upon and has the ability to be in our starting eleven. The worry is coq being injured and giroud.

    I try and be optimistic. At the start of last season we barely had a decent squad. No walcot, no Coq, NO Gabby and no cech. Slow start, meaning we had to catch up. But now we have quite a decent looking squad. By the end of the international break we’ll have Wilshere, welbeck and ozil back to compliment, sanchez, giroud, Walcott, cazorla, ramsey, Ox and mabey even Campbell to an extent.

    Personally, id like wenger to try this for 5 games. Back 4- Cech, bellerin, Gabby, Kos, Nach. Mid – Coq Cazorla, Ozil, Front 3 – Sanchez, Welbeck, Walcot…….BENCH- Ospina, Gibbs, Chambers, Wilsh, samsey, ox, Giroud, Campbell (Rosisky)

    Guys I think that is a reallllly strong first 11 with pace, power, and technical ability. Mabey if swap Santi with ramsey for bigger games., but notice our bench. That is a pretty powerful bench if you ask me. Yes there is no WC striker but lets have faith atleast till Jan, Alexis has goals in him, im pretty sure welbeck is wanting to prove something and walcot has a better effect on the RW.

    Lets atleast for the very least show confidence in our players. If those guys start clicko=ing we will be deadly.

    Shad will have to work overtime to keep em fit.

    Wenger…..im sure a few fans had a heartbreak when the window closed……got some explaining to do.

    Wonder what ozil and sanchez are thinking now.


    1. I agree I would like Welbeck to get meaningful minutes at the ST position I really feel the guy is going to break out soon.
      I have a lot of faith in welbec I believe he will come good he just needs minutes and confidence

      1. I think if you wanted to continue with own goals being our main source of scoring I would also put DW up front.

    2. Personally.. I think a front three of Sanchez, Giroud and Theo is the best attack we can put forward. Theo just can’t handle CB’s like Giroud can, two very attacking forwards running the channels, playing off of the big target man just makes sense for me.

      1. O absolutely at this point in time our best attacking 3 is alexis,giroud, theo but im saying in order for welbeck to become more clinical and potent he needs meaningful minutes at the ST position

        1. Welbeck will never be clinical and potent. You think van gaal was dumb when he sold him. Why do you think Wenger only wanted him on loan??

      2. It depends. Teams like City trying to choke you high on the pitch are extremely vulnerable to the type of forward Walcott is. Do I have to remember everyone that in the 6-3 loss Theo did three of these runs and scored twice while a third equalizer was incorrectly flagged offside ?
        At Newcastle I would have brought Giroud in already at the interval but Wenger was right to start Theo as Newcastle was high up the pitch trying to break bones

    1. #IbelieveInOlivierGiroud

      Cummmmmmon!! They may not be pretty, they may well be tap-ins and headers. But he’s primed to score a few this season.

        1. Wow.. I didn’t know that you’d caught wind I’m actually a psychic!!!!! Keep it hush, hush between me and you yeah?
          A little tip. (whispers) OG for golden boot… Put allllllllll your money on it!

    2. AKBs constantly giving emselves false hope…….hoping to see that which is not there!…….now they are visionalizing giroud’s tap ins and close range headers………fantasyLand will never be as realistic as Reality! …….SMH!

      1. @SoOpa AeoN
        Its not about AKBs and AOBs sh!T…We all support ARSENAL…we all sat out last nyt waiting for the transfers to happen…whats done is done – There’s a lot of disappointing supporters out there just try to move on from that and hopping for the best for the TEAM…

      2. @Gunner……….i hear u!…….. Still, The AKBs Let wenger cloud their judgement…….. Now we acting Like being cool with the situation would get us neccessary results!…… We have suddenly become “the Therapists” trying to curb wenger’s woes

  3. Where is Muffdiver?I’m looking forward to that rugby tackle on Arsenal steward at next week’s Stoke game. LOL.

  4. No one besides Sanchez, Kos, Bellerin and Ozil. Everyone else has shown what they can do and haven’t shown signs of improvement. Unless Wenger changes his tactics our players will develop extremely slowly and stagnate and we’ll have to depend on one player instead of the whole f***ing 11. I pray we get knocked out of CL before October so the manager can wake up and smell the bullish*t his ignorance is dumping on the club.

    1. Sooo… Theo’s 22 goals, 14 assists from RW not good enough for you??
      Ramsey scoring for fun you didn’t rate?
      Coquelin’s more tackles than any other player so far this season not a sign that maaaaybe he’s pretty sound defensively?
      Our much improved play with Cazorla pulling the strings didn’t impress you?
      Cech…? His penalty saves in Chelsea’s CL run not big enough moments for you?

      Haha is this the kind of play you’re talking about with playing to their maximum? Cos if it is i’ll take it all right now!!

      1. Speaking of Theo, he should be moved to the flanks ASAP. He’s scored more goals while playing there and I think he’s basicaLly a Winger. Come January, he should be sold if he doesn’t want to play as a Winger or if his performances are below Chamberlain’s. Theo doesn’t deserve the amount of money he earns as wages, it’s stupendously stupid for an average player.

        1. I’d class him as more of a supporting forward than a winger.
          At home or against the lesser teams, I definitely agree! Our defence has been pretty solid, so having a ‘winger’ with a smaller defensive contribution shouldn’t be as much of an issue. We should look to field the most attacking front-3 we can. Especially when our scoring’s been on the low side.

      2. Walcott 22 goals and 14 assists from RW and Ramsey scoring for fun from CM. So why should someone be forcing them on ST and RW respectively. I keep saying it Giroud has it strength (aerial) so the players should learn how to use that. With those short passes in front of the box they r going no way with Giroud as th ST

  5. De bryne vs alexis.. silva vs ozil… navas vs walcott.. toure vs ramsey .. fernandinho vs coqueline…. sagna vs bellerin/debuchy… company vs koscielny… demicheles vs gabriel… clichy vs nacho… hart vs cech … they beat us on the striking department only ..

    1. I absolutely admire your positivity!! But no. Toure, Silva, Aguero, Kompany. Their spine is simply phenomenal. While I agree our supporting players are better, they’re on another level at the moment. 12 goals for, 4 clean sheets, tip of the hat to them.

      1. Guess we all know its City’s title

        Unless they screw it up internally…

        Its Utd Chelsea Fool and Arsenal fighting for the remaing 3 champ league spots…..

        1. I disagree.. Toure, Kompany, Silva all dropped off at points last season. Aguero’s injury record is pretty dicey. They seem to be playing to the fullest of their capabilities right now. Need to stick with them with wins but there’s no guarantees they’ll maintain this form over the course of the season. Especially if they need to start rotating with CL games.

          1. I would stop looking at City RIGHT NOW!!!!!

            With his lack of investment and poor strategy/tactical nouse AW has ensured we will fall behind this season.

            Injuries will happen! And our cover is simply not sufficient to ensure we can continue to compete with the best (or the roughest) in the PL.

            I’m sorry for being the doomsayer here and pissing on your everything’s Rosie parade but that is just the reality of things.

            City/Chelsea/Man U and even Liverpool have been invigorated, supplemented and strengthened and on top of this the mid table (and even lower table) teams have invested in their futures. Of course, not all signings will work out and there will be some duds (depay and marciel at Man U won’t be such!) but by adding to their ranks they have become more competitive.

            We are on the other hand the same team (bar a superb signing between the posts) that finished 12 points behind the champions..

            Enjoy the rose tint while it lasts…

  6. Honestly selling my season ticket,I will set my foot at the emirates once wenger leaves!Woe unto you wenger sheep who will be flocking the emirates to cheer for top4 trophy.I refuse midiocrity all my life,how many times have I called for a revolution at arsenal here and it starts with you!Again bye bye justArsenal I got better things to do than discuss wenger club

  7. I would say Ox, but it wouldn’t be surprise. I know he’s brilliant and it’ll hopefully be a matter of time before he really gets going. Wilshere? Well, agai, we already know what he’s capable of, just injuries get in his way.

    It’ll have to be Danny Welbeck. Welbeck has loads of potential, he showed glimpses vs Galatasaray. Would be fitting for him to be the surprise star of the season following our unsuccessful attempts to get a top quality striker. Then ‘new Henry’ joined Utd yesterday. Let’s hope the real new Henry actually left them last year. Deluded? No, I’m well aware Welbeck is miles off being wc, just hoping it all comes together for him (and us!).

    1. In fairness to DW, I actually don’t think there’s a whole lot in his game which requires massive improvement.
      It’s just that it’s the most vital elements (Composure, Finishing, First-touch) for striker that seem to get the better of him. A few goals may lead to a bit of confidence though and who knows.. Being a good striker is so much down to that killer mentality.

      1. I would argue, that we may as well try bellerin up front or Monreal than continue with trying to shape DW. Both are technically better footballers and who knows they could score more than 4 in a season in the league if we give them chance!??????

    1. I disagree I think they were right in all the links but it was AW who did not pay the asking price so it collapsed every time year after year and years to come

  8. Somewhere btn 2007 and now,the club must have rebranded from Arsenal FC to ARSENE finance group. This is just not the Arsenal that I fell in love with in the 90s during George Graham’s tenure. We are now a joke club under a dictatorship that simply is determined to drive the club into mediocrity.

    With the likes of Klopp and Ancelotti out of jobs,I can’t understand why we choose to stick with a manager that is looong past his sell by date. #Wengerout

    1. Don’t fear, AW will continue as before and despite the best endeavours of those he puts out they won’t achieve glory (maybe FA cup no3/league cup?). Tso things can happen:

      1. We keep floating around 4th place til his contract runs down
      Result: he goes

      2. We loose 4th place and have a mare.
      Result: he goes

      Option 3 is if he wins the league or CL
      Result: he goes out on a high

      So look at it anyway you like but he will go, and I believe AFC will be the better for it…

      BUT THEN THERE IS OUR BOARD, and that is a problem!

  9. None which will be good enough to push us to the title. All the others that “stepped up” last season only helped us in coming third and winning the FA cup.
    I’m tired of 3rd/4th place and the odd FA cup. This squad will only get us 3rd place.

  10. u guys still believe Wenger’s the way forward?……….Jeff-Reine Adelaide?…………… He will end up like Akpom…….No 1st team chances given……..going out on Loan around a few championship teams…..same with iwobi….. Same man who brought em to LimeLight will cover their careers with earthen-wares!……. Tribute to Benik Afobe

  11. I expect Sanchez to surprise on the down side after a long season last year which was preceded by the WC and followed by de Copa America.

    For the rest I don’t believe we have a lot of hidden upside. I don’t think Ozil, Cazorla or Sanchez can be expected to play much better than the second part of last season and neither can the back line. Even Ospina has the best stats of any keeper in the PL since he became our starter.

    Perhaps Giroud could become a WC striker but that seems unrealistic and perhaps Ramsey can get back to the level of the season before last. But with Ramsey in the side Theo would be on the bench and he would help the team more IMO.

    This squad played to its fullest potential late last season and I don’t see much upside beyond that and much more down side.

    Mert is getting older and even slower, Sanchez could not be blamed for being flat this season, Giroud can not be blamed for being Giroud and Wenger has not changed in the last 10 years.

    Sit back, relax, expect us to just get out of the group stages of the CL but be eliminated immediately after that, expect us to struggle in the PL until even Wenger realizes we have been eliminated as title contenders and expect us to go on a little run once all the pressure and expectations are gone.

    Oh and expect some injuries to blame everything on. Coq maybe, that would be the most devastating long term injury IMO

  12. Personally I hope to see Reine Adelaide, Iwobi and Bielek start to integrate into the first team, maybe in cup competitions and games that are won already.
    They’ll need a little gym time and the regime Walcott and Ozil followed.
    Bielek could be like a new signing!
    I also pray that Welbeck will come back strong and fast, he could be our new striker if he can just be more composed and clinical in front of goal.

    Is Wengers answer to the lack of DM and striker signings?
    1. Bielek and Welbeck. or…
    2. Flamini/Arteta and Walcott/Sanchez up front.

    I like Danny as an individual and hope he comes good for us, it would also be a slap in the face to MU.

  13. Guys in as much as I am angry as you guys at our transfer activity, I still feel wenger wanted 2 bring in players but dey didn’t want 2 come. although people say in the case of cavani he didn’t want 2 pay over the odds, he still had some convincing 2 do 4 cavani 2 come not minding the fact that people say cavani wanted 2 leave. In the words of Henry, we were not attractive 2 dem.The best thing we can do is 2 support our team. we won’t stop being gunners bcos of wenger.it’s more frustrating we have 2 wait 4 2wks b4 we c dem again. aaaaaaarrrrrrrgh!!! I hate intl breaks.

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