In the past years, Arsenal have been criticised for their lack in British players and have often have been cheekily nicknamed as a French club.
When France won the World Cup with Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, for example, a newspaper ran the headline: ‘Arsenal win the World Cup.’
Arsenal benefit from diversity
It seems now that there is a more diverse squad with both nationality and age. This is a benefit for Arsenal as we found out over the course of last season with the Gunners' FA Cup success.
Arsenal still have a French string of players including Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini and Olivier Giroud who all proved key for their club last season; with Koscielny getting the most clean sheets in the premier league and Giroud being the club's top goalscorer.
Flamini also helped in filling in a position Arsenal have lacked ever since the exit of former captain, Vieira in 2005. Flamini has provided that cover as Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey are not naturally suited to that role. The club have also brought in Debuchy from Newcastle for around £12 Million who is a more than capable replacement for Sagna, who just left for Manchester City on a free.
The Spaniards have an important influence on Arsenal's success as Mikel Arteta as mentioned previously had to adapt to a more defensive role when Flamini was not available and also had a successful tackle rate. Arteta captained the club last year and had the duty of penalties which he was also very clinical in.
Santi Cazorla may not have had the biggest influence over the whole season but his efforts surely matter. Injuries haven't helped the little maestro but when he does get game time he pops up in spaces managing to bag goals including the games against Liverpool, Fulham and the FA Cup final scoring a sensational free kick to put his team back into the match coming from 2-0 down.
Nacho Monreal may be a forgotten player, as Gibbs has been a solid player this year but when injuries occur, Monreal has to fill in and he provided 1 or 2 assists from crosses on the left hand side.
Over the last two years or so, it looks as though manager Arsene Wenger has focused his sights to German players.
The introduction of Per Mertesacker, Lukas Podolski, and Mesut Ozil has proved extremely important for Arsenal. Mertesacker was arguably the best centre half of last year, competing with John Terry, Gary Cahil, Vincent Kompany and own team mate, Laurent Koscielny. Mertesacker participated with a few goals and an outstanding defensive record.
Podolski also contributed to the score sheet multiple times with both finesse goals and left foot power drives. And last year’s record transfer for Mesut Ozil maybe the biggest influence on Arsenal's success; the highly rated playmaker brought optimism, quality, a boost in morale, ambition and in the end a trophy - something every Arsenal fan has craved for eight and a half years.
Ozil produced some amazing passes and crosses linking up with Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud on multiple occasions. The German international also bagged a few goals for himself including some Champions League goals. Within the youth system, recently promoted Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem also are showing potential and also may represent Germany at future World Cups. And speaking of World Cups; we all know Germany won it which can only mean that these player’s confidence is at an all time high.
The final string of players are the British; this is the biggest string of players including Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and newcomer Callum Chambers. A trait these players have in common is their age; they are a young bunch and already are making headlines and last season’s player of the year Aaron Ramsey was making the most.
He burst into terrific form last season matching his goals to games ratio and for a midfielder, that's outstanding. After an injury he came back into the side helping the club qualify for Champions League and equally got the winning goal in the FA Cup final which put his name down in the history books.
The British core that Arsene Wenger has built looks very promising for years to come and players like Ramsey and Wilshere are beginning to resonate the footsteps of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard; two experienced British midfielders who were long time servers at Liverpool and Chelsea.
What Arsenal fans will hope is that Ramsey and Wilshere do in fact turn out to be among the greats and be long time servers at Arsenal. Jack Wilshere's famous quote: 'I don't need an agent because I will never leave Arsenal' is sure something to hang onto.
We are in for another exciting season with the additions of Sanchez, Costa and a return for Fabregas in the premier League and there could be a seven-way battle for the top-four places.
The range of Arsenal strings within the club will have to provide their all and hopefully they can build on the FA Cup win with a title challenge.
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