As the great philosopher of the 21st century Justin Timberlake once stated: “I’m bringing sexy back.”
Is it now time for Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger to bring ‘nasty back’.
Built off of the success of last season’s FA Cup victory, the persona of this current crop of players has shifted from 'the young pretenders' to a team that is seemingly forcing the issue facing head on to the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Louis Van Gaal’s Manchester United, fighting fire with fire.
Arsenal: Potential tough nuts?
Arsenal in the opinions of many including its own supporters have been a 'soft’ team in the recent past. For the best part of eight years, after the rugged days of Keown, Campbell, Cole and Vieria; men who’d walk up to you in a pub, and purposely bump you in the shoulder on their way to chat up the pretty blonde in the corner you’d been eyeing up for the last ten minutes. Players who'd assert themselves on a game, whether it was going in their favour or not.
Mixed in with was the grace of Robert Pires, fluidity of Thierry Henry and magic of Dennis Bergkamp. Players who put emphasis the term ‘beautiful game’.
Shift taking place?
Is the current faction shifting into the boots of those icons?
World Cup winner Per Mertesacker has stepped into a role as the clubs leader from the back, a natural leader both vocally and by example, also known to fans as 'the BFG', and no, the F does not stand for ‘friendly’.
Laurent Koscielny we all know isn’t one to back down from a challenge given his knack for giving away the odd penalty and what little we know about the likes of Kieran Gibbs is that his mental strength is through the roof.
To come back from injury time after time whilst establishing himself as the clear number one left-back at the club speaks volumes of him, the same can be said of last year’s club player of the season Aaron Ramsey.
Mathieu Debuchy will almost certainly be the first choice right-back this coming season, a disciplined player in all facets of the game, and his stats will go to back up that claim.
However he will face stiff competition from young Callum Chambers, the £16m signing from Southampton has been impressive thus far in the preseason and seems completely unfazed by life playing against elite competition. Many Southampton fans will tell you that they were more upset at losing Chambers than they were in losing Luke Shaw to Manchester United.
Speculation continues to surround German World Cup winner, Sami Khedira, Lisbon Midfielder William Carvalho and Lars Bender, but it's clear that Wenger wants and probably needs to add another player in the holding midfield area.
As much appreciation there is for the likes of Mikel Arteta, Mathieu Flamini and the ever-present but oft-injured Abou Diaby; the truth is that they are not players you'd trust to cope with 40 plus games at the very highest level, and depth while paramount, can only be dictated by quality. For those who think Jack Wilshere is the man for the job, don't delude yourselves.
Arsenal still need strengthening
What Wenger does see is that there is a need for an aggressor, someone who will batten down the hatches in a close game and is undaunted by the likes of Aguero and Van Persie. In short, Arsenal cannot be on the wrong end of multiple thrashings from the big clubs if they are to be reckoned with this season.
Alexis Sanchez will no doubt capture the attentions of who despite his technical prowess on the field, also has the strength, speed and size to take over a game by the scruff of its neck.
We’re in what feels like a new era of football. Tiki-taka is dead. Height-weight-speed-size are the new ingredients to building a perfect team. They always were, and it seems Arsene Wenger has been reminded of it.