20 Best Reasons to Love Arsenal in 2014

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

20 Best Reasons to Love Arsenal in 2014

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    2013 was a superb year for Arsenal. No team won more Premier League points than the Gunners.

    However, 2014 could be even better. The bond between fans and players seems particularly strong at the moment: Arsenal is most definitely a club on the up.

    Go to the next slide as we run through the 20 best reasons to love Arsenal in 2014 (as if you needed them).

Arsenal Are Winners Again

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    Arsenal haven't won a major trophy since 2005. However, more than that, in recent years they seemed to have lost the winning mentality required to lift the biggest prizes.

    Over the course of 2013, that changed. Arsenal developed the mental strength required to grind out victory after victory: no side accumulated more points in the entire calendar year.

    The prospect of this fully focused Arsenal side attacking the title in 2014 is a thrilling one. Perhaps their newfound professionalism could even see them end the 2013/14 season with a trophy.

The Team Spirit

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    Arsenal's dressing room seems more united than ever. Watching a side who are prepared to fight for each other is a genuine joy.

    The players are revelling in it too. Speaking to Arsenal.com, German striker Lukas Podolski said:

    We have a good team and we have a lot of fun together.

    I have never been in a team like this before; we stay together, we have fun and we have played a good season so far.

    It has been really good and I hope we stay on top until the end of the season.

    Arsenal fans also share that hope. If the Gunners are to win the title, their solidarity will be vital.

Arsenal Have a Reliable Defence Again

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    At long last, Arsenal fans have a defence they can rely on.

    The back four has been the basis of many great Arsenal sides of the past. However, in recent seasons defending had threatened to become a lost art at Arsenal.

    Thanks to Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, Arsenal look solid once more.

Lukas Podolski's Craziness

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    Lukas Podolski is an idiosyncratic character. He can be loud, boisterous, and occasionally downright bizarre. However, he is always entertaining.

    This, lest we forget, is the man who has turned his unusual "Aha!" exclamation in to an internet sensation.

    What antics does Podolski have planned for 2014? Arsenal fans will have to stay tuned to find out.

Arsene Wenger Is Back

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    Last season, it seemed as if Arsene Wenger's powers were on the wane. Humiliating defeats against Blackburn Rovers and Bradford City saw the Arsenal manager at the nadir of his time in England.

    However, he is now back with a vengeance. The sparkle has returned to his eyes and the winning habit has returned to his team.

    With Alex Ferguson out of the way, Wenger is now the undisputed king of management in the Premier League.

Beautiful Football

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    One of the great pleasures of watching Arsenal is the scintillating football they produce.

    With Mesut Ozil settling in to the side and the likes of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere developing further, the Gunners seem set to push the boundaries of aesthetic excellence even further in 2014.

Proving Robin Van Persie Wrong

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    In the summer of 2012, Robin van Persie left Arsenal for Manchester United. He believed he was joining a bigger and better club, with a greater chance of winning trophies.

    Although United won the 2012/13 Premier League, Van Persie's time at Old Trafford has taken a serious turn for the worse. Arsenal fans will hope that 2014 shows the Dutchman he was wrong to leave the Emirates Stadium.

Mesut Ozil Plays for Arsenal

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    Occasionally, it can still be hard to believe. However, what you're about to read is absolutely true: Mesut Ozil plays for Arsenal.

    With half a season of adaptation under his belt, 2014 should be the year in which Arsenal fans start to see the best of Ozil. Considering his impressive impact thus far, the idea that he could be set to improve upon those performances is very exciting indeed.

Arsenal Are in a Genuine Title Race

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    Not winning trophies is one thing. Not competing for them is another entirely.

    Arsenal fans have missed lifting major titles, but they've also missed the thrill of the chase. For the first time since 2008, the Gunners have a genuine title race to savour.

    On current form, it looks like a race they might even win.

Wojciech Szczesny Is a Great Character

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    Much like Lukas Podolski, Wojciech Szczesny is one of the game's more eccentric characters.

    On the pitch, he can be seen attempting drag-backs and ambitious chipped passes. Off the pitch he's thoroughly entertaining, too. His interviews are always frank and forthright, and his constant desire to wind up Tottenham fans is laudable.

    Wojciech Szczesny will doubtless be up to his usual tricks throughout 2014.

Arsenal Have an English Core

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    English players are no better than foreign ones. However, having British players can help a club retain a strong sense of identity.

    This is an Arsenal squad with a core group of players who understand the values and traditions of the club. Those values have brought the club enormous success in the past. Hopefully they will do the same in 2014.

It Could Be an Award-Winning Year for Aaron Ramsey

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    Before Luis Suarez returned from his prolonged suspension, Aaron Ramsey was the Premier League's outstanding player. Since then, the performances of the Uruguayan have slightly superseded the Welshman.

    However, he has still made an immense contribution. In 2014, he could well be recognised as the PFA's Young Player of the Year.

Laughing at Tottenham

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    Year on year, laughing at Tottenham remains an enjoyable past-time for Arsenal fans.

    2014 ought to be no different. With an inexperienced manager and an unsettled squad, Tottenham fans are on course to cause Arsenal much amusement over the next 12 months.

The Youngsters Will Only Get Better

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    it's easy to forget how young many of Arsenal's squad members are. Jack Wilshere recently turned 22. Aaron Ramsey is still only 23. The likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Carl Jenkinson and Serge Gnabry are still even younger than that.

    2014 ought to be a year in which those players make significant strides forward. Arsenal could yet improve.

World Cup Pride

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    This summer, Arsenal fans will be able to watch many of their players compete on international football's greatest stage: the World Cup.

    The likes of Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could turn out for England, while German trio Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski will fancy their chances of getting all the way to the final.

    As long as the Arsenal players on show avoid injuries, it should be great fun to watch.

The Emirates Stadium Is Beginning to Feel Like Home

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    After seven years at the Emirates Stadium, the place is finally beginning to feel like home. Any fan present at the recent FA Cup victory over Tottenham would concede that the atmosphere that night was as good as anything Arsenal experienced at Highbury.

    2014 seems primed to be another great year for Arsenal's beautiful new stadium.

An Important Anniversary

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    This year is the 10th anniversary of Arsenal's remarkable unbeaten season.

    May 2014 should see a hearty celebration of the extraordinary achievements of The Invincibles.

The Ox Is Back

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    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the first half of the 2013/14 season with a posterior cruciate ligament injury. However, he is now back in full training and raring to go.

    With Theo Walcott due to miss the rest of the season, Oxlade-Chamberlain could be in for a big six months. Arsenal fans are impatient to see him in action once more. The message is simple: unleash The Ox!

Never Say Die Atttitude

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    Arsenal's last gasp victory over Cardiff City showed that they are prepared to give absolutely everything to win the Premier League title.

    With that kind of attitude, Arsenal could achieve some impressive feats in 2014. One thing is certain: they won't go down without a fight.

This Could Be Arsene Wenger's Last Year

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    Amid his recent success, it's easy to forget that Arsene Wenger has now entered the final six months of his contract.

    While the Gunners are hopeful of agreeing a new contract, Wenger has publicly played down the urgency of any negotiations.

    It's still possible that he could walk away from Arsenal, and perhaps football entirely, at the end of this season.

    Arsenal fans would be wise to savour every moment of Wenger's reign.

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    What will make you love Arsenal in 2014? Let us know below.