So far so good for Arsenal.
While it's far too early to hand out player of the year awards and organize championship parades, now that the 2013/14 season has hit the half-way mark, we can make some acknowledgements.
Just a glance at Arsenal's current position in the league would tell even the most casual football fan that the positives in the campaign have far outweighed the negatives. And in the last four months we have seen some remarkable performances.
We turned to our panel of supporters to get their verdict on which of the players has stood out the most so far this season.
Question: Who do you think has been Arsenal's MVP of the first half of the campaign?
On a daily basis we all have to answer tough questions, to dig deep, consider all the variables and make the right decisions. Deciding who the Arsenal MVP for the first half of the season is not one of those tough questions. I did not have to dig deep. It is simply, and unquestionably, Aaron Ramsey.
A promising addition from Cardiff in June of 2008, Ramsey has been through a tremendous amount of hardship in his time with Arsenal. This season, however, Ramsey has been reborn. He hasn’t just been good, he has been sensational.
Things started quickly for Ramsey this campaign, and they needed to. Tasked with having to defeat Fenerbahce to earn a place in the Champions League Group Stage, Ramsey notched three of the team’s five goals to secure a 16th consecutive trip, but that was just the start.
After the loss to Aston Villa to open the season, Ramsey was extremely influential, controlling the midfield and providing an assist in the Gunners first win of the campaign at Craven Cottage, and then the goals began to pour in.
- With three goals in Europe already, Ramsey began his goal-scoring rampage.
- At Sunderland, he bagged a brace.
- Against Marseille, he nabbed the match-winner.
- Versus Stoke, he set the tone after just five minutes.
- Against Swansea, he gave the Gunners much-needed breathing room.
- After nine matches, the man who had 11 goals in his previous 150, had nine, and he wasn’t done yet.
At nearly the mid-point of the season, Ramsey has 13 goals in all competitions to go along with seven assists, a Barclays Player of the Month award and four straight Arsenal Player of the Month awards.
At nearly the mid-point of the season, Ramsey has 13 goals in all competitions to go along with seven assists, a Barclays Player of the Month award and four straight Arsenal Player of the Month awards. Ramsey’s form has been lethal and the faith Arsène Wenger has shown him is paying off in spades.
What has changed? Why is Aaron Ramsey, who overcame a horrific injury and a run of underwhelming performances suddenly one of the best players in the PL? Confidence, positioning and finishing.
Confidence, Ramsey has bags of it. Since the start of the season, the belief he has in himself shines through his play and could be the reason for his success.
His positioning, how many times this season has the Welshman been in exactly the right spot? As his knowledge for the game expands, Ramsey has been finding the right places to be in the opponent’s defense and anticipating play better than ever before.
His finishing, Ramsey has scored on better than 26 per cent of his shots this season, compared to slightly better than 5 per cent previously in his Arsenal career. He is making absolutely no mistake this year.
His form has injected confidence into his teammates and lifted the club to the top of the table. Ramsey is easily the player of the season so far, here’s to hoping he can keep it going.
Under fire over the summer, Wojciech Szczesny has earned MVP honorable mention status for his play during the first half of the season.
During Arsenal’s late-season push last year, Szczesny lost his No. 1 shirt for a short period of time, but when he was given the chance, he has taken it back and has shown no signs of letting go.
Szczesny is back. He has had a knack for making the big reaction save at a moment when the game could have completely changed. He has six clean sheets in the league and allowed only five goals in six games in the toughest Champions League group, to secure placement in the Knockout Stage. His critics have been silenced and Szczesny deserves a lot of credit for what Arsenal have done this season.
Finally, honorable mention must be given to two of Arsenal’s influential Germans, Mesut Ozil and Per Mertesacker. The arrival of Ozil injected exactly what the team needed both on the field and in the board room, and there is reason to believe the signing from Real Madrid has much more to offer. Mertesacker joined with much less fanfare in August of 2011 and has become the backbone of the Arsenal defense as well as a leader on the field.
Ramsey, Szczesny, Ozil and Mertesacker, among others, have Arsenal on top of the league and as we head into a new year, here’s to staying there.
I disagree with Josh! The first half MVP is not Aaron Ramsey.
Oh wait ... yes, yes it is.
Why? He leads Arsenal in goals, second in assists, third in key passes per game, second in successful dribbles per game, and first in total passes per game. Not only that but he's tops in tackles per game, doing the dirty work for Arsenal's midfield.
Josh has got it spot on with his choice for Arsenal’s most valuable player since the beginning of the season. As consistent and brilliant as Per Mertesacker, Wojciech Szczesny and our new addition Mesut Ozil have been so far in this campaign, it is Aaron Ramsey who has truly made this his season so far.
It is amazing to see the progress he has made since that awful day in Stoke in 09/10. Even though he was going through a more than rough patch most of last season, he seems to have finally hit form this season, bagging Arsenal’s Player of the Month in August, September, October and November of this year. He has repaid his faith in the club and manager who signed him onto a new contract back in January.
And to think that he’s only 22…
The views expressed above are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Media Group.Copyright 2014 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 29 Dec 2013