‘One man doesn’t make a team.’
That’s the line that’s drummed into us from an early age, where parents and coaches look to drive home the principles of teamwork and unity.
Of course they’re right in a literal sense; one man physically can’t be a team. However if there’s anything a glance at the history of football can teach us it’s that one man certainly can make a team. Or at least he can go incredibly far to assuring its success.
In the modern game dominant personalities are so few and far between that the teams who boast them are given a significant boost when it comes to securing the major trophies.
Chelsea’s reliance on John Terry and Vincent Kompany’s importance for Manchester City immediately spring to mind.
Even Steven Gerrard’s pivotal role as the key fulcrum in this season's high-flying Liverpool side is evidence of the benefits of having a natural born leader in your side when you’re vying for a title.
And it’s with little hesitance that I can apply this fact to Arsenal and end up concluding that it will likely cost them the league; they have no natural born leader.
Though sensationally gifted, Arsene Wenger’s squad have no main man to lift them when they're down, and ensure that they remain battling until the very last kick of the ball. Per Mertesacker is the most obvious candidate, but I’m reluctant to cast him in the same mould as the aforementioned trio of Terry, Kompany and Gerrard.
Aside from him they very much struggle when it comes to boasting someone who will grasp the game by the scruff of its neck and inspire victory when the pressure is reaching breaking point.
The likes of Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, for all their promise and potential, haven’t yet accrued nearly enough experience to be effective in the role, and the players with the most experience, the Mesut Ozils and Bacary Sagnas of the squad, simply lack the character traits needed to elevate themselves into a dominant position.
With only ten games left of the Premier League season, and the coming weeks promising perhaps the most open title tile since the competition began, it’s fair to saw that the slightest flaw in any of the contenders’ squads will be exposed.
The Gunners may have the talent in numbers that they haven’t possessed since the days of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, but in the absence of someone who will passionately rally the squad to emerge victorious when the odds are stacked against them, I just can’t see them pipping City or Chelsea.
Unfortunately, for me at least, the lack of identifiable figureheads amongst Wenger’s charges could cost them the league.
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