Arsenal's Burgeoning Team Chemistry
Arsenal made a statement at home on Saturday. The resounding 4-1 victory over Liverpool had huge implications for the Gunners top four aspirations and late title challenge, but something more important was revealed, something that the entire Barclay's Premier League should take notice of.
Arsenal have discovered a team chemistry on the pitch not seen since the time of the Invincibles.
Theo Walcott recently stated, and was ridiculed for doing so, that the Gunners current plethora of attackers might be as good as, or better, than the champagne football of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, and Robert Pires during their legendary unbeaten season.
Walcott may not have been too far off the mark.
The world-class talents of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, and Mesut Ozil produced the same type of magic on Saturday that Arsenal fans grew accustomed to witnessing from the likes of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, and Freddie Ljungberg.
The talent has been there all season; but the cohesiveness, the understanding, the rapport between players is reaching new heights.
Arsene Wenger must be delighted with the blossoming partnership of Giroud and Sanchez, as the Chilean and the Frenchman really look to be enjoying playing with one another. The exuberant winger and the skilled big man are in the midst of culturing one of those telepathic footballing-connections that managers, players, and fans alike can only dream of.
And when it comes to telepathy, few teams other than the X-Men can lay claim to the powers of Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil. Their mind's eye-vision, the incredible ability to process critical decisions in a flash, having that picture painted in the folds of the brain, of what to do with the ball before it arrives, has been elevating Arsenal's attack all season long.
Since the turn of the calendar year, these two tacticians have flourished thanks to Francis Coquelin's ability and work-rate to quickly regain possession, and with minimal touches, hand it over to Cazorla and Ozil to build Arsenal's attack. Wenger's once forgotten man has buttressed the side with tidy, tenacious, unrelenting, measured play that is becoming reminiscent of Gilberto Silva's contributions. Coquelin's emergence has created a long sought after balance and an unexpected synergy.
Credit is due to Arsene Wenger. Few pundits will afford it to the manager. Mesut Ozil, Club record signing, is playing solid football after missing much of the first half of the season through injury. Admittedly, it's hard to acknowledge that the German has become a big-time piece of the puzzle and a major reason behind Arsenal's success. His body-language, public appreciation of his teammates, and overall aura make him hard to love; but Wenger has got him firing on all cylinders, and opponents once again fear Ozil.
It's time to realize and come to terms with the fact that Ozil's lack of overt emotions don't equate to a lack of dedication to the badge or his teammates.
Ozil is a big part of Arsenal and he is luxuriating in his new surroundings.
Wenger's other big signing, Alexis Sanchez, has been an electrifying revelation this season. After almost single-handedly keeping the team afloat during the first half of the year, his thunderous strike on Saturday brought his league tally to 14 goals. Brendan Rodgers has been kicking himself all season for being beaten to the Chilean's signature by Wenger, and the bolt from above that blew past Simon Mignolet will have added insult to injury.
Bringing in the talent was no simple task.
The best players in the world could be excused for their reluctance to join a Club that hadn't won a trophy in nine years. The deadline day deal to bring in Ozil was a major step forward out of the shadows. Piggybacking on the success of the FA Cup win, and the end of the trophy drought, by signing Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona was massive.
But getting these players to jive together and develop such a mesmerizing compatibility with the preexisting pool of players at the Club was the biggest coup of all.
Wenger is bringing Arsenal back into prominence.
He's doing it by creating a thriving team chemistry amongst a group of fabulously talented footballers...