Arsenal’s recent form (WWWWWW) has leapfrogged them into second place after Manchester City’s loss to Crystal Palace. Guided by Wenger, the North London side are the second most in-form team in Europe, after Lazio. After a comprehensive weekend win over the top-four chasing Liverpool, the team seems to be coming together on all fronts, especially in midfield. Having lost only once in 11 games, has Wenger assembled a side ready to challenge for the title it won last in 2004?
Olivier Giroud’s attacking prowess
Having come from Montpellier in 2012, Giroud was the old-fashioned center forward who holds up play until the mid-field comes into play. After a lean patch, he now averages 0.94 goals every 90 minutes. Physically stronger, Giroud regularly provides assists with his deft touches and fake runs. Having missed three months of the season, Giroud has now scored 10 goals in 10 goals.
The question on every Arsenal fans mind: Why did Wenger let Coquelin go in the first place ?. Excellent at breaking play, Coquelin makes Mikel Arteta a distant memory. Winning 48.6% of his tackles, with a pass percentage of 82.2 % makes him an inseparable part of the starting eleven. His performance against Manchester City, reminded Arsenal fans of the Patrick Viera days.
Ozil’s Return to Form
Arsenal’s rise coincided with the return of Mesut Ozil. Often criticized for being slow and no tracking back, Ozil has become fitter after being out of the team due to injury. His performance against Liverpool was one of the best this season. Having made only 15 appearances in the league, he has scored 4 goals and contributed 5 assists. Whenever Ozil has started at the Emirates, the Gunners have never lost a Premier League game!
Always known for their attacking instincts, Wenger bought in Brazilian center-half Gabriel Paulista from Villareal. Wenger tried deploying young center-half Calum Chambers at right back, but after some hearty performances, Chambers started to tire out. In came, Hector Bellerin who is now officially the quickest player of Arsenal, leaving behind Henry and Walcott. Bellerin, signed from Barcelona regularly gets forward, unlike Bacary Sagna who was prone to the occasional glaring error.
Willingness to Spend
Wenger, forced for years to use funds wisely due to re-location to the Emirates has finally opened his purse. Big money moves of Sanchez and Ozil have proved to be successful, with the Chilean Arsenal’s highest goal-scorer this season with 20 goals this season. Jack Wilshere, touted to be the next big thing in England has had his share of injuries keeping him out the team. Theo Walcott’s pace is currently not required at Arsenal, due to the close nature of the Arsenal style of playing. Szczesny has shot himself in the foot only, with his smoking controversy and lazy performances.