After reading an article on ESPNFC.com by James McNicholas an interesting fact popped out at me. At the end of the FA Cup match against Coventry, Arsenal had five German born players on the pitch. At the end of the German giants Bayern Munich’s last match, they ended the game with four German players. An interesting note considering most people believe Arsene is inclined to have mostly French players.
It is a fair point to argue, Wenger has had his fair share of French players come through Arsenal, most notably, Robert Pires, Patrick Viera, and, of course, Thierry Henry. That was during the time when the French style of football was one of the world’s best, in recent years however they have dropped off slightly. Still, players like Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny, Mathieu Flamini and Olivier Giroud make up an integral part of the team.
Another criticism of Wenger in the past has been that he manages an English club yet has very few English players. A critique that no longer has value, Wilshere, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Jenkinson, are most notably the reasons why. They not only fight for places in the Arsenal starting 11 but also the England 11.
Arsene Wenger, being the astute football manager that he is, has adapted his squad to the times. It can clearly be seen by their performances in the European championships, and the World Cup in South Africa, that Germany is playing some of the best football in the world. Not to mention that many consider Bayern Munich to be the best team in the world, and who could argue, they won four trophies last year, FOUR! Many believe Arsenal’s 2-0 victory away to Bayern last year in the Champions League to be the turning point in the team’s mentality.
Arsenal have players like Per Mertesacker and Mesut Ozil who are rock solid starts almost every match.Then there is Lukas Podolski and Serge Gnabry, who rotate within the squad to offer something different. In the most recent game against Coventry, we even got to see a youngster, Gideon Zelalem come onto the pitch and give it a go. Having core groups of players like this allows for the team to create chemistry- this is one of the reason’s I believe Ozil was able to mesh into the team so quickly.
Now there is all this talk of Julian Draxler possibly joining the Gunners either in January or over the summer window, which would mean yet another young talented German coming into the squad. I for one, am all for it.
When I hear football commentators speak of Germany and their style of play, I almost always hear, “they’re so industrious” and, “they just get the job done”. While those statements are accurate, I often wonder if it’s a true reflection of their style of play on the pitch, or if it’s simply a projection of German society. Either way, it’s welcome to continue contributing to Arsenal’s already impressive campaign.
The Gunners embark upon a tough stretch of games in the coming months, and if we can come out of it and still be at the top of the table, will have our title doubters running for the highlands. Arsenal will certainly need every last man, with the games coming early and often this will be the run where the title is decided.
Come on you Gunners!