What better time to look back on this season than when there isn’t any football to watch?
Yup, recollecting over past footballs kicked seems to pass the time better than no football whatsoever – and with the Premier League in hiatus for quite a while, we have the perfect opportunity to gauge our season.
My last two blogs looked at our heroes of midfield and defence of this season. Those that, despite our ills and tribulations, have stood up and led the line and put in performances when we needed it – and showed great character in times of duress.
So it makes sense to complete the retrospective look at our campaign and pay tribute to who has led our line the best this season.
We are pretty blessed with attacking talent. In terms of the big teams, we can stand toe-to-toe with whomever when it comes to forwards and playmakers.
Our season didn’t exactly begin like that though. Despite our myriad of skills in the box, we showed zero chemistry, zero initiative and were bailed out by two of our players on more than one occasion – and their influence has not waned as we have progressed through the campaign.
But more of them in a bit.
There have been a couple that have not held up their side of the bargain. Alexandre Lacazette has probably suffered the biggest slide from our last season. Going from our Player of the Year, we expected much more of the same from the Frenchman, but a long goal drought saw his confidence shatter – only now are we starting to see a recovery in his performances – which had dropped inexorably.
Eddie Nketiah began his season on loan at Leeds United. He showed an instant knack of hitting the onion bag, but he never got the minutes his goals warranted. This situation became so untenable that Arsenal cut his loan deal short and recalled him. The young striker was days away from going back on loan in January, but Arteta saw enough to keep him in the roster for this season. He wasn’t wrong to do so and he has shown he has the goods – but can he show more to convince Arteta that he is Arsenal material?
It has been Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Gabriel Martinelli that have kept the Arsenal ship afloat though.
Even at our worst, our number 14 has continued to hit the net with alacrity, a constant menace even when we fail to show our teeth. We owe a lot to Auba.
Martinelli though, edges it when it comes to who deserves the shout for leading light of our attack.
Upon signing for Arsenal, we expected a couple of League Cup runouts but nothing to the extent of which we have seen. Martinelli has made the football world sit up and take notice. From his Europa League heroics to his goals in the Premier League, there has been no stage where he has shied from.
Martinelli is truly something special. Aerially, on the deck and spatially, the Brazilian has proved he has the minerals this season. It will be difficult next season to make the same impact, but this season?
What a pleasant surprise in what has been a mediocre season.