By Chris Harris
A step up on the training pitch has allowed Alex Song to take a leap forward on the field of play.
That was the conclusion of Arsène Wenger after the Cameroon star netted his third goal in as many appearances to snatch a 1-0 victory over West Ham on Saturday.
Song met Gael Clichy’s inch-perfect cross with a diving header two minutes from time following a lung-bursting charge into the visitors’ six-yard box.
It was a show of stamina that Wenger admits would have been beyond Song not so long ago.
"Song has improved his engine. Before he was less mobile,” pointed out the Arsenal manager.
“He has improved his mobility and he doesn't need a breather now when he goes [forward] and comes back. That has added something to his quality.
“Before, he needed a breather when we won the ball, so when we went forward he was a bit too late [to join the attack]. Now, since he has more stamina capacity, when we win the ball he is on the move straight away and, when his timing is good, he arrives at the right moment in the box.
"He is now a good trainer but this was not always the case. That's why he has improved.”
Not only has Song improved, he appears to have proved his manager wrong. Before last season Wenger was convinced that the 23-year-old would end up as a centre back. So what does he think now?
"He came here as a centre back and he will finish as a centre forward,” replied Wenger with a chuckle.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 31 Oct 2010