Alex Song has been a revelation this season. After a bleak summer that saw the sales of former captain Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, and Samir Nasri to Premier League rivals Manchester City, Arsenal needed someone to fill the void.
Jack Wilshere's ongoing injury problems have prevented him from making a single first-team appearance for the Gunners this season, and Aaron Ramsey has struggled to rediscover his best form, while Mikel Arteta - signed by Arsene Wenger on transfer deadline day in August - has made a steady start to life at the Emirates Stadium.
But, the leading light in the middle of the park for Arsenal in 2011-12 has been none other than Song; the 24-year-old Cameroonian international has been liberated by a flexible midfield three and passes the ball beautifully.
Song has matured considerably over the past 18 months, adding vision, and improved technique to his list of attributes, taking his game to the next level. The box-to-box midfielder has proved a reliable supplier for the likes of Robin van Persie this year, weighing in with seven assists in all competitions.
The man who was booed off by his own fans before being shipped off to Charlton a few years ago has turned into a more than handy playmaker. In his debut season as a teenager, Song was pilloried for a series of under-par performances, but Wenger kept faith in his African import - and how it has paid off.
His emergence as the pulse, the heartbeat of the Arsenal team, has a lot to do with the confidence instilled by his manager, but Song must also take some credit for shedding his image as a player who is there simply to break up play.
Wenger insists he is unsurprised by the midfielder's level of creativity: "First of all, if you asked Alex, 'do you want to attack or defend?' he would say attack," he told the club's official website.
"He is naturally a guy who tends to go forward and he always had good vision. He has improved his technique of transmission.
"When he arrived here, the passing of his longer balls was not the best. But he was worked on that, improved on that and now he can combine vision with technique."
All the hype around Van Persie's goalscoring exploits this campaign, as well as the emerging talent of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it's easy to see why Song's contribution has passed unnoticeably under the radar for the untrained eye - but his influence is growing game by game.
Whether it's the bustling Tomas Rosicky, the dynamic Ramsey, or the gliding Arteta who complete the midfield support cast, Song has been a key cog in the Gunners' engine room, and will be integral to the club's hopes of Champions League and/or FA Cup success this season.
At just over 6ft tall Song displays great athleticism, with a surprising turn of pace for his size, proving very quick off the mark. His strength and stamina make him well suited to the rigours of English football, having successfully adapted his game to transform into one of the most promising young midfielder's in the Premier League.
Many critics of Arsenal will point to them as a one-man team, but those who have watched the Gunners closely this year will know that is certainly not the case.
There's a regular chant that can often be heard reverberating around the Emirates Stadium. From a rival perspective, thank heavens Arsenal only have one Song.
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