Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla Will Lead Arsenal to Silverware This Season
It was a very mixed bag for Arsenal this summer transfer window. In fact, I cannot recall ever thinking a club had done so poorly and yet so amazingly in the window at the same time.
Obvious blips for the Gunners included the losses of their two best players from the 2011-12 campaign, with Robin van Persie joining up with bitter rivals United, whilst Alex Song moved to foreign shores in a deal with the all-conquering Barcelona.
On paper losing your two best players should in theory mean a disastrous bit of business, and yet somehow Arsenal managed to turn what probably should have been a nightmare of a window into something of a success.
Going forward, Wenger managed to bring in talents that any Premier League manager would be happy to have in his ranks.
Santi Cazorla was one of the breakout stars of last season during his time at Malaga, and Arsenal really chanced onto a bargain when they managed to sign him from the bankrupt Spanish side for just £16.5m.
That may seem like a lot, but for a player of Cazorla's quality and ability it was a relative steal from the Gunners.
There was no doubt in my mind that when he joined the ranks at Arsenal it could only ever be a good thing for Wenger and his men. So far those assurances have more than come to fruition, with Cazorla being instrumental in the good results that the Gunners have experienced so far this campaign.
As if that wasn't enough, Arsene went and managed to bag the man who by the end of his career will probably have made more outfield appearances for his country than any other player in history.
Lukas Podolski, at the tender age of just 27, has already made a whopping 103 appearances for Germany. In that time he has scored an outstanding 44 goals, and will no doubt run Gerd Muller and Miroslav Klose extremely close for all-time leading goalscorer of the Nationalmannschaft.
That being said, Podolski's form for his club teams has never really matched up with his International pedigree.
At Arsenal he will be looking to change that fact, and so far has probably been the stand-out player (along with Cazorla) at the start of this Premier League season.
The partnership between the duo has been more than evident in the last two games that Arsenal played.
Their two goals were what routed Liverpool two weeks back, and despite Cazorla not getting on the score-sheet against Southampton in Arsenal's 6-1 victory, they again both demonstrated absolute mastery of the football and a different type of attacking edge than the Gunners are usually used to.
The two men bring that perfect mixture of beautiful and efficient football to the Emirates.
For the best part of a decade now, Arsenal have always relied on sleek and good-looking football to win matches for them. When this comes off it looks amazing, but when it fails (which is all too often) it can be humiliating.
The slight change in style by these two players—who aren't afraid to run at the defence or take a shot from range—could be exactly what is needed to end the near eight-year drought that surrounds the club in regards to trophies.
As for the central midfield role—despite not finding anyone to fill Song's place at the club, Abou Diaby has somewhat surprisingly more than stepped up to the plate in that regard since the start of the season.
Not many expected the Frenchman to be able to handle the duties handed down to him, but as of right now he is approaching them as if he has been a regular in that position with Arsenal for years.
It is crucial that he manages to keep this up as the year goes on.
The noticeable improvements that the Gunners have made in all areas of the pitch—whether that be from new signings or just players like Diaby and Metresacker raising their game—mean that it would almost be a footballing injustice if Arsenal do not manage to win at the very least one trophy this campaign.
Which one though?
Could the Premier League or even Champions League trophy be a possibility?
My view is yes to the first, and no to the second. Despite it arguably being harder to win the Premier League title, it's something that Wenger certainly knows how to do.
For the first time in a long while he has a squad that is strong enough in all areas and probably has the potential to go on and bring the League back to Arsenal again.
I wouldn't exactly consider the Gunners the favourites to take the English crown this season. But then, you would have to be a fool to count them out as well.
The real test will come against the likes of Chelsea and United. In these game we will see if Arsenal really have put their demons to bed.
Podolski and Cazorla may just be the men to exorcise those very problems once and for all.
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