After a poor start and that now infamous loss at Old Trafford, Arsenal look sharp and pushing themselves back up the league. Funnily enough, the calls for Wenger to the get the sack have stopped as well, it’s strange how that happens isn’t it?
So what is going right?
Many have been claiming that Arsenal have become a one man team. The one man being Robin Van Persie. While this is hyperbole, Van Persie has been in the form of his life, converting 30% of his chances and creating a chance for a team-mate every 47 minutes. Although, this should come as no surprise as last season he also showed great from, setting up a chance every 40 minutes and converting 20% of his chances. You can see why some put him in the top 10 players in the world.
But Van Persie can’t do it all on his own, someone has to give him the ball at least. This used to be Cesc Fabregas’ job, and after his move to Barcelona many Arsenal fans were worried who was going to be able to create the same amount of chances. Gervinho has helped, creating a chance every 40 minutes, and so has Mikel Arteta, creating a chance every 38 minutes whilst keeping the ball well in midfield with a pass completion rate of 90%. Arteta, seen as the direct replacement for Fabregas, all round game is arguably better than his predecessors as well, as he is better in 50/50’s, especially aerially, he wins 43% compared to Cesc’s 29% and also intercepts the ball more often than Fabregas did last season.
It is important to keep in mind that Arsenal have also had many key players out injured such as Thomas Vermaelen, who is arguably Arsenal’s best defender and Bacary Sagna, Arsenal’s best right back. They still have Jack Wilshere out injured as well who’s all round game, like Arteta’s will provide even more balance to the side although it will be hard to drop Aaron Ramsey who is also playing well, creates a chance every 46 minutes, tackles every 44.
However, Arsenal have been playing fairly poor opponents recently, with the only real test in the last six being Chelsea away. And with the next three games being Fulham (H), Wigan (A) and Everton (H) they should be looking to continue this form before a difficult test against Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
I’ll leave you with some stats to ponder over from our Comparison area here at EPLIndex.com (Subscription only, Subscribe Now!) and the comparison is between two Spaniards: Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal 2010/11) & Mikel Arteta (Arsenal 2011/12). It’s a bit early to compare but most of these stats are divided by the minutes. Leave a comment and leave your observations!