2 wins in 2 makes it an inappropriate time to maintain my stance on the boss so I’m going to highlight something different this week.
A little situation I’ve observed at Arsenal is that when world class players are at the club it brings the best out of our promising younger players that also have the potential to be categorised as ‘world class’ in the future. Aaron Ramsey and Oxlade-Chamberlain making the most notable improvements of late.
One of the major factors of our decline over the past decade has obviously been the lack of quality at the club in comparison to the Invincible days and before that. Not only due to the fact that the less quality you have the less wins you expect to collect but also because young players developing at the club have nobody to look up and guide them.
Take Fabregas for example, our first real post-Invincibles gem. He was eased into the side at 17 and he was able to play in midfield alongside experienced quality such as Gilberto and Vieira allowing him to flourish, display his talents whilst being guided through a game.
When Fabregas inevitably reached a high enough level he was able to lend the same support to a young Jack Wilshere bursting onto the scene in 10-11. A balanced and quality midfield trio of Wilshere, Song and Fabregas gave us real strength and dominance which saw us beat Barcelona in a classic tie at the Emirates. When Wilshere finally returned from his prolonged injury lay-off he came back into a completely different team never mind midfield and it’s no surprise he’s been unable to match that particular season ever since.
Van Persie and Adebayor too, played with possibly the greatest striker the country has ever seen in Thierry Henry, leaving both eager to take the mantle when the king departed.
Fast forward to more recent times and Mesut Ozil became the first player of real top quality to play for the club which saw us stay on top of the table for longest duration last season through the ‘Ozil effect’. Aaron Ramsey went on to have his finest season and Mesut’s arrival certainly influenced that, same can now be said with Alexis’ impact on The Ox.
These top players may not be the loudest and may not consciously look to guide the younger players but it’s their presence that plays a part. I’m sure Oxlade-Chamberlain has been observing Alexis closely in training and on game day because his game has really improved and curbed a little. The Ox is a lot more direct now always looking to drive at defenders; he presses a lot better too and has even improved his composure in the final third.
The influence these world class players have is more than welcome and we must look to continue to add top quality to enhance the development of the young talent we have at the club. It’s also a main reason our ‘lack of leaders’ is so well documented because all the so called experienced players have their own games to improve never mind supporting young talent.
The likes of Arteta, Mertesacker, Flamini and co must eventually be upgraded on to allow the club to progress as well as our young talent as they are always looking to learn and emulate those already established at the club.