Arsenal have the player of the season, coach of the season, and signing of the summer.
There comes a time in every Arsenal season where the floor just disappears.
Fans are left wondering how we dropped so many points, players often times promise positive turnarounds, #FireArsene starts trending on twitter, arsecast podcasters start screaming, and all hell breaks loose. Then, when the title is squarely out of realistic expectations, they start to fire on all cylinders and finish the season on a run of form that absolutely maddens the supporters.
Oh and they are eliminated from the Champions league round of 16 much the same way. Give up an awful first leg defeat, come storming back, HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN, and suck.
Okay, that was therapeutic, done now.
This season, everywhere you turn, Antonio Conte’s stupid fake hair is posterized in front of some 145 pound skinny ex-player saying that it is ‘Chelsea’s title to lose’ or whatever the phrase is at the moment. I am so far done with ‘American soccer punditry’ that if I see another person slightly resembling Kyle Martino make no mistake about it I will be asking my mother for bail money.
The other story lines revolve around Jose Mourinho’s misery (may it long live on) and Manchester City failing to impress despite having the highest goal return probability through the first part of the season. Liverpool is the darling, Tottenham is the sad little sister who didn’t get a prom date, and Everton are as close to the title as I am to actually being 145 pounds.
Nowhere in there do you hear a murmur about the best player in the Premier League, the smartest managerial and tactical decisions thus far, or the best signing of the entire summer.
I am biased, I have my head squarely up my own ass, and I am here to create an argument.
The PLAYER, MANAGER, and SIGNING of the season are all members of Arsenal. Let me explain:
Player of the year: Alexis Sanchez
With 11 goals and 4 assists Alexis Sanchez is tied for the Premier League lead in goals scored, and has scored a goal every 107 minutes so far in League. These numbers alone don’t elevate him above players like Diego Costa or Eden Hazard in the ‘POTY’ conversation, but what does is the manner at which he gets his goals.
If you watched last week’s demolishing of West Ham United (sry pet) you will have seen a player at the absolute peak of his ability with the confidence to match it. I mean, are you kidding me?
West Ham 1-5 Arsenal (Sánchez)https://t.co/XlLdLiV1n1
— GoalHQ ⚽ (@GoalHQ) December 3, 2016
This is entirely coming from the ‘9’ position in the Arsenal scheme, or as he likes to call it ‘no position at all and just run like a mad man who will be shot and killed if he fails to score a goal.’ This role is brand new for Sanchez, who was forced into it due to an untimely Giroud knock early in the season, Danny Welbeck being unable to get out of bed without picking up an injury, and Lucas Perez being purchased right on Arsenal time for the start of the season.
Alexis reportedly ‘watched some youtube videos’ on how to play as the striker in a 4-1-1-1-3 (how I refer to the Arsenal lineup) and was shifted there in a band-aid type of situation. All he’s done since is revitalize an offense that was apparently yearning for a mobile, channel-running striker. He is the best player on the team right now, in the form of his life, and would be voted by the PFA as player of the year if it ended today.
Signing of the Season: Shkodran Mustafi
Since Arsenal signed Mustafi, he has played in 16 games across all competitions at CB alongside Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal have lost exactly ZERO of those SIXTEEN games.
That position was filled last season by either Per Mertesacker, Gabriel Paulista, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Flamini, or the emergency Nacho Monreal. Puke.
The stability that “Kostafi” has provided the Arsenal defense can not possibly be measured. They have spurned opponents chances, stabilized a defense known for giving up leaky goals, and created a sense of confidence that radiates from Cech’s posts up to Lexi’s feet.
Where Arsenal have been known as having a soft underbelly in the past, which has led to some of the collapses I mentioned prior, you would be lying if you said that the best centerback pairing in the Premier League currently plays at Arsenal. Anytime you can identify a team’s biggest weakness, sign a permanent German international starter in the exact position, AND get the whole thing for under 40 million… you have the deal of the summer.
This guy was almost 1/3rd the price of Paul Pogba.
Manager of the Year: Arsene Wenger
Now there is clearly a case to be made for Antonio Conte and the job he is doing thus far at Chelsea. Also, you can include the likes of Aitor Karanka at Middlesborough, Eddie Howe at Bournemouth, and even Pochettino at Tottenham as possible candidates for the award.
Just kidding about Pochettino.
The reason I would argue that Arsene deserves the accolades are simple. Look at the two points I have made above.
You have Alexis Sanchez in the form of his life playing a position that ARSENE FORCED HIM TO PLAY, you have a signing that was made in the one place your team needed it most, and the team is outperforming every expectation set for them. Did I mention they beat Chelsea 3-0 in the first matchup of Conte and Wenger?
Let’s not ignore the signing of Granit Xhaka in the deep-lying midfield position, the ability to transform Coquelin into a formidable box-to-box midfielder, and Arsene’s rotation of both the left back and outside midfielder positions to keep a deep squad relatively happy throughout. Not only has Wenger created a team with an incredible ‘option A’ but the substitutions of Giroud into vital moments have created an ‘Option B’ that would cement the Gunners in the Top 4 every single season.
Player of the year, Signing of the Summer, and a team sitting in second place with a 3-0 victory over the leaders in their only meeting. Fuck your 3-5-2 switch, Arsenal are for real and Arsene Wenger is a genius.
Arsenal are the best team in the Premier League. God be with us all for the remainder of the campaign.FOLLOW THE OPEN FIELD