Right way back at the start of the season, the Sat In Row Z team bravely (or blindly) made their predictions for the campaign ahead. Perhaps one of the most eyebrow raising decisions was mine not to include Arsenal in the top 4.
My belief was that Spurs would continue to improve(I may point out Bale was still a Spurs player at this point) and I felt that the new manager’s at United, City and Chelsea would hit the ground running. Also, Arsenal hadn’t landed the quite frankly magnificent Mezut Ozil at this point.
The one major thing I didn’t consider however was the influence of a certain Arsene Wenger. I think it’s fair to say that many Arsenal fans were growing impatient with him and his failure to splash the cash that Arsenal undoubtedly have. Many a time I’ve heckled his most high profile critic, Piers Morgan on Twitter, with no response!!! These Arsenal fans were the butt of much ‘banter’ but now the tables have turned dramatically.
Arsenal have started the season like a house on fire despite the failure to land many high profile signings and the shock opening day home defeat to Aston Villa. The inspired signing of Ozil appeared to galvanise the whole club and bought Wenger a well deserved reprieve. Even the much derided capture of Mathieu Flamini appears to have boosted the team, credit to Wenger for that too.
As I write this, Arsenal stand pretty at the summit of the Premier League, with only Spurs showing any real consistency amongst their rivals. An incredible winning streak on the road has contributed to this and I reckon the team has thrived away from some of the negative atmosphere seen frequently at the Emirates in recent times. In my mind the key to this has been Wenger, by far the most established manager in the league. He has a squad and to as much an extent a club that is well and truly his, whilst Pellegrini struggles to find his feet in English football, Mourinho struggles to mould his Chelsea team to his liking and Moyes struggles to follow in the footsteps of Sir Alex. Arsenal’s stability looks like it is finally going to bear fruit.
So have I changed my mind already? Quite simply the answer is yes. Easy to say when Arsenal are top, but the form of players who were largely written off such as Giroud and Ramsey added to the quality the Gunners have right through the squad should give Gooners real optimism. Wenger’s ability to polish a turd is undoubtedly second to none(Bendtner and Chamakh excluded!!!) My concern is the pressure of the fans may cause issues as the season goes on and they are short of backup to Giroud. As things stand though, things are looking really good for Arsenal and it’s all down to one man, Arsene Wenger.