Arsenal: 5 Reasons to Be Optimistic
These are dark times. Dark times, indeed—if you support Arsenal.
The Gunners have picked up a meager 16 points from 11 games, including the routine loss at Old Trafford and a horrible performance at Norwich. It has certainly been a bumpy start to the season for Wenger's men, and with Tottenham right around the corner, that turbulence doesn't show any signs of abating. The other clubs aren't making life any easier for Arsenal, either, with Chelsea and Manchester United both looking in fine form, and City are still unbeaten in the league.
There is however, as even the most severe of pessimists must admit, hope for Arsenal. There is some sort of light at the end of a very dark tunnel. Arsenal will not fall just yet. Here are five reasons why.
The Improving Form of Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud, it turns out, is quite good at football. He has endured a rough start to his Premier League career, mostly due to his unfamiliarity with English football. However, the Frenchman has now racked up six goals for his new club, including a double against Fulham.
An particularly exciting aspect of his play is his partnership with Theo Walcott. Giroud's aerial ability complements Walcott's pace, meaning Walcott can play more like a classic winger. This came into full effect against Fulham, with the English winger grabbing two assists for Giroud.
Giroud has always been a good striker. Even in his very early days against Sunderland and Stoke, his canny movement was clear to see. It is only now that he has started to find his feet in a goal-scoring sense.
Don't go shouting it out just yet, but Giroud may have turned a corner. He could yet prove a shrewd signing.
Players Returning from Injury
Arsenal had a torrid time with injuries at the start of last season. They certainly paid the price for this at Old Trafford in an 8-2 mauling.
Unfortunately, this season has been no different, with players disappearing left, right and center for the classic "two to three weeks". These injuries have certainly been noticed on the pitch, with the likes of Andre Santos really not deputizing efficiently.
This is why it is such a relief that Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky and Wojciech Szczesny have all returned to training. These three were all integral players last term, and their class has been sorely missed in recent weeks. With Gibbs and Szczesny back in the side, and Rosicky lifting a rather cumbersome weight off Santi Cazorla’s shoulders, Arsenal could hit their early season form once again.
Jack Wilshere and the Prospects of the Midfield
Jack Wilshere is a class act; there is no other way of putting it. As soon as he came back against QPR, he was back to his old tricks, driving forward and knocking the ball about with consummate ease. Not many players can put in such a performance after 17 months out at 20 years of age.
The best thing about Wilshere is not his brilliance now, but his potential. He has been dubbed the saviour of English football by many a pundit and he is only getting better.
Currently, he plays alongside Arteta and Cazorla in the midfield. The two Spaniards are technically sublime, we know that. Put them alongside Jack Wilshere and you’ve got yourself a pretty unstoppable midfield force. And that’s not even mentioning Abou Diaby, Tomas Rosicky and Francis Coquelin.
Arsene Wenger's Management
This may be a bit controversial, but it is true that an aspect of Arsene Wenger’s management is his knack of finishing in the top four, despite any hiccups along the way. This has developed recently and was most noticeable last season when the Gunners finished third after a shocking start.
Managers like Wenger don’t just become bad managers all of a sudden. He’s still got many of his attributes from the days of old. It is imperative to have confidence in him getting Arsenal playing Champions League football next season. He’s done it before, and he’ll do it again.
It is important, amid the cries for Wenger’s head and the fan protests, to maintain a sense of perspective. Arsenal are currently eighth in the league, but only four points off Everton in fourth. In theory, that difference could be made up by Sunday next week.
It could be worse, too. Take QPR for example. They have accrued just four points in 11 games, and at a considerable cost, too. So before you start talking like Arsenal are going to get relegated, you must remember that things really aren’t that bad. If the Gunners click, they’ll be shooting back up the table in no time.
It is easy to forget how much there is left in this season.
Besides, we could go past Tottenham on Saturday.