By Walter Broeckx
Apart from winning half of the major trophies available in England, apart from having the best record over the calendar year in 2015 of all the teams in the PL, apart from being top when we move in to 2016 there was another big joy for me when following The Arsenal in 2015.
Of course the way Özil has grown over the last 2 seasons to his current form has been an amazing thing to see. I went crazy when we bought him. And boy… what a player he is. What a great joy it is to see him on the field in our shirt. He really is an amazing player. The best number 10 in the world, the specialist in being sacked by Chelsea said about him. And for once I agree with Mourinho. He is the best.
As I said in my previous article: just sing his song out loud. Make him happy. Make him feeling loved. Because that is what he needs most I think. He said a few weeks ago that he only listens to what Wenger is saying and doesn’t read what the newspapers write. But he will love it when we sing his name in a song that can be song by all and that can ring around the Emirates when he does his magic. You want the link? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbXNmIvWa1c just fill in Özil when they sing Brazil and you have the most recognisable song for him.
But we also had Alexis. What a joy to watch him dribble, fight, battle, work, track back, defend, attack, score…. He is one of those players that can turn a match with one moment of brilliance. And he is ours. Long may it continue. Just come back soon Alexis and hopefully he will be completely recovered and on fire to guide us to a great end of the season.
Another player that brought me great joy this year was Monreal. Written off by many. He had a difficult start but by now he is considered to be the best left back in the country. He found the rhythm of the PL and is showing not only he can defend but also his attacking is great and getting better and better. His goal at Manchester United in the FA cup match was one of the highlights of this year for me. And for him I think.
But other players have brought much joy in this year.
Was 2015 the year of Bellerin? I have been talking about him for a few years. I had said he would become our Danny Alves, one of the best right backs in recent history. And after a bit of a hesitating start in his first match at Borussia Dortmund, he became an amazing player. He became 20 years young this year (and I just noticed he is born on the same day as my wife – not the same year of course) and the way he has improved is leaving me speechless.
He was an integral part of that defence in 2015 that conceded so few goals. His rise was phenomenal. And one has to feel a bit for Debuchy who was doing rather fine till that Stoke thug pushed him in the boardings and he lost his career (at Arsenal it looks the end for him). Bellerin knew this was his chance and took it with both hands and feet. He will have the odd bad match as he is still young and his best 10-12 years are still in front of him. I really hope we can keep him at the Emirates as he is going to be the best right back in the world.
I predicted that when Sagna went away that we should buy an older player to fill up the gap till Bellerin was ready. I never knew that that older player would be so unlucky and that Hector would take his chance in the way he did so soon.
But for me 2015 will the mostly remembered as the year of Le Coq. Around this time last year we only had seen him play one match for Arsenal in the PL. Our away match at West Ham. What he then did after that is stuff for story tellers. Fairy tales stuff.
Apart from Tony and Wenger, we (well most of us) all had given up on him. I hold up my hands to admit it. I thought he was finished at Arsenal. But now look hardly 11 months later some went completely in panic when we lost him because of a long term injury.
The way Coquelin has grown in to his role of defensive midfielder is amazing. Unbelievable. But as he cost us nothing (well only peanuts ) he will probably never get the recognition he really deserves to get. Coquelin isn’t the mythical beast of a defensive midfielder. In fact he is a rather small player. He doesn’t weigh that much.
But he plays like the beast. Not that he is kicking around the whole time but he uses his body in such a way that he feels like a beast. And apart from that once he felt really comfortable in his role, he also showed that he really is also a great ball player.
Seeing such players like Bellerin and Coquelin stepping up in this calendar year is another thing that has brought great joy to me.
And I am very curious if at the end of 2016 we will see another name to that list of players making up the step to the first team. With Wenger in charge we know (or we should know) that he can pull a youngster out of the hat and give us a player we didn’t expect to see but who is delivering as if he has cost of £20-30 million in a transfer window.
I really enjoyed 2015 (and 2014) from an Arsenal perspective. Let us hope that Arsenal will bring us more happiness in 2016. I will try to do my best to enjoy it as much as I can. I will take the blips that will come on the chin and support my players and manager because I know they are worthy of my support.
Best wishes for 2016 for all faithful supporters of Arsenal (and Untold Arsenal), for our manager and his staff and to all our players. May the injured come back soon and may those who are fit stay fit for the rest of the season. And let us hope that come May we can all celebrate a little bit more, more silverware.