The dust has almost settled from the game at The Emirates yesterday afternoon and as you'd expect, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. All the work the squad has done at the training ground over the past few months has culminated in a fluid 6-1 victory for the boys. Defensively sound and smooth going forward, we can call the game a complete performance barring Szczesny's howler of a game.
But I am not here to rewrite the match report, I am here to discuss Arsenal's new found strength in depth. We sold our 2 best players this summer and have come out as a stronger team, playing for each other. Its no coincidence that it has been the experienced campaigners such as Arteta, Podolski, Cazorla, Mertesacker and Vermaelan that have stepped up to the plate to provide attacking flair and defensive solidity. They are complemented by the youthful exuberance of talented players like Jenkinson, Gibbs, Coquelin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain among others. It is the first time in years that we can honestly say Arsenal have a good mix of young talent and experience.
On the bench we have an abundance of viable options. Yesterday for example, we had the attacking options of Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey and Arshavin while defensively Koscielny and Santos provided cover - and that's not the end of it either. Still on the comeback trail is our star midfielder Jack Wilshere, who was the first name on the team sheet 2 seasons ago. Add to that Tomas Rosicky and Bacary Sagna - 2 more first team players.
It is telling that our best defender from last season cannot get a sniff of first team action and that another 2 former regulars - Walcott and Ramsey - are only good enough as late substitutes. If Arsenal can keep all important players fit and can handle the returns of key players properly, I see no reason why we cannot challenge this year. Of course this is a massive if. On the other hand, if I was to be more pessimistic, we could have a serious lack of options if things go badly. All of Diaby, Rosicky, Arteta, Vermaelan, Gibbs have at some time or the other in their careers been labelled injury prone. Wilshere will only start to perform consistently next year and Sagna has suffered 2 broken legs in 1 year. Szczesny hasn't had the best start to the season and if his confidence goes - well that will be catastrophic. You see what I mean? All big risks to be taking but with risk comes reward and I am optimistic about our chances this year.
After being subjected to seriously under-stocked squads in recent years, this finally seems to be the one which could take us places. It is down to pure desire, determination and hard work from here on in, and if Wenger rotates wisely and uses the options he now has in abundance, we will win something this year. I can just feel it. Hopefully you are as optimistic as I am!