Arsenal can silence doubters for good

Rich Kitto reckons Arsene Wenger can prove his doubters wrong once and for all this season as Arsenal continue to go from strength to strength.

Last Updated: 25/09/13 at 10:42 Post Comment

Arsene Wenger: Has led Arsenal to the Premier League summit

Arsene Wenger: Has led Arsenal to the Premier League summit

Albert Einstein once noted that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over again and expecting different results.

Arsene Wenger, the man dubbed The Scientist by Arsenal supporters, may have that definition in his mind regarding those in the media and across the land that consistently question his ability as each new football season approaches.

The comments this summer were no different to the last, especially after the opening day defeat to Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium - everybody else around them had strengthened, the Gunners had apparently been weakened, they don't know how to grind results, they never spend big, and this is year they won't make the top four.

Of course, just as Jamie Redknapp said recently in the face of criticism from Jose Mourinho, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. But typically history dictates the path for the future, so why do people consistently predict failure for Arsenal and their manager when they continue to be proven wrong?

Yes, it must be recognised that success in recent years at Arsenal would perhaps have been considered failure when they were winning league titles and going through campaigns unbeaten, but a top-four place in every one of Wenger's seasons in charge, alongside reaching the knock-out stages of the Champions League for 13 years straight, deserves proper acknowledgement when considering the relative financial power of their rivals.

However, the capture of German maestro Mezut Ozil for a club-record £42.4million has changed the landscape somewhat, as supporters will now demand more success.

For Wenger and co, this has to be the season where they finally prove people wrong for good, and fortunately for them the signs so far are positive.

With the exception of the poor outing on the opening day - which some red quarters deem a blessing in disguise as the club owners appeared to finally then listen to the home crowd and spend some money - Arsenal have started the new campaign strongly.

Since then they have won seven games on the bounce, including what looked to be a tricky away leg against Fenerbahce to qualify for the Champions League proper, an important victory at the Stade Velodrome versus Marseille in the Group of Death, and, sweetest of all, a victory over their old nemesis Tottenham.

That result against Spurs was significant for more reasons than just getting one over their neighbours, though, at it proved, to many of those that believed otherwise, that Arsenal were still contenders.

It also surmised a stronger mentality that the team have been missing in recent years, in showing their ability to get tough and mix it in order to gain results.

The club has infamously been labelled as a soft touch in the past, with a seemingly certified claim that if you 'stick it up them, they won't fancy it', and for the Stokes of this world it has previously proved fruitful.

But Arsenal's new-found team spirit and resilience has helped them to amass 10 straight away wins on the bounce, with their 3-1 home victory over the Potters last weekend further verifying the step change.

Though, whilst Ozil has naturally been stealing all the limelight, it is the return of two players to central midfield, alongside the growing stature of a third, which has given the Gunners more grit and fire power this season.

Their ability to call on the hugely talented Jack Wilshere, who is central to how Arsenal quickly break up play and attack, is not only great news for Wenger but also for Roy Hodgson as Brazil 2014 looms.

Alongside him is a player returning not from injury but rather for a second spell, as French stalwart Mathieu Flamini is back after signing on a free from AC Milan.

Whilst some parts of the media mocked Arsene for bringing yet another previous player back to the club, his performance against Stoke - which earned him man of the match - showed why such a move made complete sense, as he was crucial to protecting his central defenders and ensuring the likes of Charlie Adam were unable to be influential.

Whilst he was perhaps not the marquee signing alongside Ozil that Arsenal fans were hoping for, he will certainly provide adequate cover should they choose to spend again, as has been mooted, in January.

With Wilshere and Flamini protecting and laying off, it has finally enabled Arsenal fans to see why Wenger has put so much faith in Aaron Ramsey over the past few years. In the face of growing reticence over whether the Welsh midfielder would ever develop into the player he once looked like becoming, Ramsey has been exceptional.

So far this season the Welshman has contributed four goals and an assist in six appearances, and is quickly developing that extremely important knack of being in the right place at the right time.

Arsenal fans will be hoping Ramsey will be able to maintain this form in order to take the goalscoring strain off Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. With only Yaya Sanogo, the Frenchman signed from Auxerre in the summer, and Nicklas Bendtner considered as alternatives, fans will be hoping and praying for no major injuries - something which seems unlikely considering the clubs injury record over the past few years.

And then, of course, there is that little beady-eyed German magician who appears to be somewhat of a prospect.

As they sit atop the Premier League, with the Wizard of Oz at the heart of everything good that they do, Arsenal fans will be dreaming of fairytale endings - though fans should still beware Jose Mourinho and his shiny ruby slippers.

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