So here we are, top of the league, top of our Champions League group and looking pretty damn fine, thank you ma’am
Our success has been, above all, down to a fine collective effort but, nevertheless, some individuals stand out.
One thinks first of The Welsh Messi, Aaron Ramsey.
What a player!
From snapped leg to snapping ‘em in at every opportunity the boy has achieved above and beyond our expectations.
When he was struggling to rediscover his form last year some Arsenal fans (I won’t say supporters) deemed he didn’t have what it took to be a Gooner. I am glad to say I supported him then and I support him now. But he’s still not our best player of the season so far.
It’s not Aaron, so perhaps it’s our fandabbydoozical new signing Mesut Ozil. The German of Turkish extraction is a joy to watch – when he’s on the ball time slows down and magical things happen.
But Mezut is in his first season in the EPL and much more is still to come. He is not our best player this season – not by a long chalk.
If not him, then what about our dashing French cavalier, Olivier Giroud. He is like the Three Mustketeers (plus D’Artagnon) rolled into one. He spends every game marked by at least two opponents, selflessly receiving the ball, holding it up, being stupidly penalized by stupid referees, laying it off, linking up… in short he is an absolute top quality centre forward. But still not our best player in this campaign.
To find the chosen one we must move further back.
In doing so we find Matthieu Flamini – a player scorned by many when his return was announced (though not by this observer) and now someone who is deemed crucial to our chances of success this season.
Flamini is a tireless worker and a good player. But it’s not him.
So we look to the defence. Koscielny and Mertesacker have been outstanding this season – probably the best CB pairing in the EPL.
I love the commitment and intensity of Kozzer, but having given away two penalties already he can’t be considered for our player of the season so far
As for Mertesacker – well, right now, he is my favourite player in an Arsenal shirt. Calm, confident, always in control, always finding the right pass out of defence – he is unquestionably the best defender we have had since Tony Adams. The press and pundits still go on about his (lack of) speed, but anyone who watches Arsenal week in week out knows that the BFG is a class act.
Nonetheless, he’s still not our best player this year.
To find that individual we have to move back even further
And there, between the sticks, we find the man himself: Wojciech Szczesny.
If you can be bothered to trawl back through the Arsenal Arsenal archive you will find several Headline Posts where I have questioned the ability of the Pole in Goal.
He seemed to me to be someone gifted with natural ability but perhaps lacking in the mentality to achieve the highest level. His performance for Poland in the 2012 Euros was a case in point.
But he has knuckled down at Arsenal, endured the indignity of being dropped and returned with a new focus and intensity.
If we are top of the table at this point of the season it is for many reasons, including the scoring form of Ramsey, the creativity of our midfield and the obduracy of our team as a whole. But it is also due to the saves of Szczesny.
I have lost count of the games where his outstanding saves have kept us in the game and allowed us to go on and claim all three points
His decision making seems to have improved 100% and it’s clear that his defenders understand him and have great confidence in having him behind them.
Furthermore, his shot-stopping has been of the highest order.
When I was doubting him, regular AA contributor GiE was pointing out his strengths. As a goalkeeper who has played at a high level himself, it should have been obvious that GiE knew what he was talking about. I am happy to accept now that that is indeed the case.
To me there is no question about it: our player of the season so far is Mr Wojciech Szczensy.