The Premier League campaign may only be three games in, but we've gotten a taste of what this Arsenal squad can offer over the next nine months. We've seen the good with two solid wins. The bad – the loss to Aston Villa. And the ugly – long-term injuries to some key players.
But other things have really stood out so far this season. Some players have stepped up their game and shown big improvements. Others have simply picked up where they left off after last season's late run.
We took this to our panel of supporters in the USA and Canada to find out what has really stood out so far this season.
Question: What are your thoughts on Arsenal's season so far – and who has impressed you the most?
One match and three goals. That’s all that separates Arsenal from a dream start to the 2013-14 season. Things started so well, Olivier Giroud opened his season account just six minutes into the first match and the Gunners were flying. As the game progressed, and the decisions did not go Arsenal’s way, doubt began to creep in and eyes began to shift to the vital Champions League matches that followed.
A nervous few days passed, and the first match against Fenerbache got underway. From the second half of that match on, Arsenal was back, and I haven’t stopped smiling since.
Five matches into the season, the Gunners more closely resemble the team that went on a tear to end the season last year, won two Derby matches and earned their rightful place in the Group Stage of the Champions League than the team that lost to Aston Villa at home. Oh yeah, the team also added one of the best players in the world.
With goals in four of the five matches, Giroud looks poised for a career year.Josh Ellis
Overall, you have to be happy with the start Arsenal has had this season. You never like losing at home to a team that faced relegation last year, but confidently beating Fenerbache, Fulham, and of course, Tottenham, has Arsenal in a nice place at the first international break of the year.
Three players in particular have really impressed me this season. Starting at the back, his place was in question all through the summer as many called for another keeper to come in, but Wojciech Szczesny has more than risen to the occasion. He has provided a number of excellent reaction saves which have put confidence back into the Pole, who had it in himself all along.
In the middle, Aaron Ramsey has been nothing but superb. He has played intelligent, top quality football this season, where he has set up a goal and already surpassed his goal total from 47 matches last year in the first four. When Arteta was ruled out for the beginning of the season, Ramsey took it upon himself to step up, and he absolutely has.
At the top, it’s Giroud. Pouring in goals in the preseason, many wondered if the Frenchman would see his form carry over to the games that count, and they sure have. With goals in four of the five matches, including a beautiful touch goal and 90 minutes of hard work against Tottenham, Giroud looks poised for a career year. His early season form has instilled confidence in his ability to be Arsenal’s out-and-out striker and the arrival of Ozil could mean the most to the second year man from Montpellier.
Despite opening day, Arsenal are well-placed heading into a stretch of league matches where they should have a great shot to get results. Although dealt a tough hand in the Champions League Group Stage, the team is now stronger than they began the season and playing with confidence.
Now if everyone can get healthy … and stay healthy.
Let's start with who's impressed me the most, and I agree with Josh on Aaron Ramsey. He's shown things that we did not see last year, or the year before. That impresses me a lot. I expected Giroud to score the goals and convert on his chances, but the rest of his game is the same as the end of last season. So while strong, it's not surprising for me.
I have also been really impressed with Bacary Sagna. He has carried himself well at a time when there seemed to be doubt on if Arsenal would improve the squad and make a run at the title. He has adjusted quickly to playing centre back; in part that is not surprising as he is so strong in the air. What is a little surprising is the formidable partnership he has formed with Jenkinson. It's not surprising he links well with the other centre backs, but Jenkinson and Sagna play very seldom together. That's been a welcome surprise.
Aaron Ramsey has shown things that we did not see last year, or the year before.Morgan Rubes
My thought on the season as a whole is that the team is carrying on in similar fashion to last year. It's flowing football, and hard for other clubs to keep up with. We saw with Tottenham that the only way they could keep up was to try and change the momentum/pace of play and keep the ball longer. The Aston Villa match was not a fluke, but a combination of very unfortunate officiating decisions (listen to my true thoughts on the Premier Punditry podcast, @PremierPunditry) and some poor defensive decisions when being counter attacked.
The latter may plague us all season if we are not converting chances offensively at a good clip. Rosicky and Flamini can help to break up the counter-attack, but only if they are playing.
As much as I love Aaron Ramsey I have to say that I'm most impressed with Giroud. With his 8.23 rating by WhoScored.com, statistically speaking, Olivier Giroud is the best player in the Premier League!
Seriously though, Giroud has scored three goals on 13 shots, won 65 per cent of his 29 aerial duels, he has five key passes, and he's making 1 dribble per game. He's even made seven clearances and blocked a shot!
Giroud has also added a more direct approach to his game, taking possession of the ball and turning his defender to
Giroud has added a more direct approach to his game.Tim Bostelle
create his own shots. It's a real Renaissance from the big Frenchman. And whereas last season he struggled putting away gilt edged chances he's now finished all three of his chances in front of goal. None of them were particularly easy but then Giroud never seems to pull off the easy goals. It's all spectacular for him.
Which is a joy to watch, really.
The views expressed above are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Media Group.Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 10 Sep 2013