Looking back on previous seasons, we have been indebted to many players for our glories.
Alan Smith in 89 and 91. Bergkamp in 98. Bobbi in 02 and Thierry in 04. These players were the standardbearers for our campaigns. The ones who took on the pressure to make things happen and invariably did.
That isn’t to say we were one-men teams back then. There were plenty of others who etched their name into our long legacy during those seasons. Thierry was pretty much untouchable from 2000-2005. Freddie and Dennis were instrumental to our title win in 2002, ditto Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit and Marc Overmars in 1998. Paul Davis, Mickey Thomas and our entire backline were the foundation for our titles in 1989 and 91 and Anders Limpar was a genius for us in 91 too.
But the point I make is that for every one of our recent titles, there was one player who stepped up and stood over all his rivals and showed teammates that they won’t let them down and they possess true excellence in their boots.
If Arsene Wenger is correct in his recent comments regarding Arsenal’s supposed title chances this season – who will that player be this season?
Wenger said that there is no reason why Arsenal cannot challenge and that the team looks to be following Arteta in the right way. With the likes of Liverpool and City last season showing we have a fair way to go before calling ourselves contenders – firstly, do you believe we can mount a challenge?
Do this season’s strange results give us an indicator that the level shown last season has slipped and something is truly up for grabs? If so, which player can we stand on the shoulders of?
With the addition of Thomas Partey, we may well have that last piece in the puzzle, but there are a few players who have shown we can rely on them..
The Gabon frontman has scored prolifically and in his two full seasons, he has grabbed 20+ goals for us. That is the mark of world-class consistency. With his goals, we have the firepower to get to the top.
The maligned Swiss star has been the model professional since his spat with the crowd in our match vs Crystal Palace in December. His will to win has never dampened and he has stood up and been counted in the big games. Our stats with him in the team and without show what an effect he has.
The Scot has taken to Arsenal like a duck to water. After his initial injury worries, Tierney has been quite excellent whenever he has featured. Armed with deadly delivery out wide, his defensive nous has seen him slot in as a central defensive three, a wing-back and a conventional full-back. If the Scot stays fit, he is a huge asset that can keep our backline intact – and our clean sheet.
We still miss Emi Martinez, but people are quick to forget that since Leno arrived at Arsenal, every full season he has had, he has been nominated for our Player of the Year award each time. For good reason. Continued brilliance between the sticks from the German.
What do you think? Do we finally have the standard throughout our squad? Do we have the men to keep us firing like our glories of before?