The first two games of the season accurately describe Arsenal’s last seven seasons: lots of possession with no scoring. The recent signings of Olivier Giroud, Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla prove that Arsene Wenger is working on ways to overcome this problem, and the goals will eventually arrive, but after two games, who has been Arsenal’s best player?
1. Santi Cazorla
Cazorla has proved he is comfortable directing play from the midfield position and seems like a natural fit into Arsene Wenger’s possession-oriented strategy of control and passing. Although Arsenal has drawn their first two games, they’ve looked dominant at times, and at the very least, have controlled large portions of games. The Spanish midfielder seems right at home.
2. Thomas Vermaelan
In recent years, Arsenal’s defense has been the weakest link, but so far, Vermaelen has anchored the back line and helped Arsenal achieve two clean sheets. Although the opposing teams have had a few good scoring opportunities, the defense has remained strong and consistent. These last two games could’ve easily been losses if not for great defensive play.
Surprisingly, Arsenal is only one of three Premier League teams who have yet to allow a goal.
3. Per Mertesacker
After a brutal 2011-12 season, Mertesacker has vastly improved his form, and he no longer appears to be the slow and clumsy player that he was last year. He’s also starting to utilize his height and build and is becoming more aggressive on set plays and not allowing opponents to gain an edge in the penalty area.
His playmaking is more confident and decisive, and overall, Mertesacker may be Arsenal’s most improved player compared to last year.
Two games are a very small sample size, but these players have shown a lot of quality, and it’s a good sign for things to come.