All Guns Blazing: So many reasons for Arsenal fans to feel positive about 2016
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You’d have to be a very pessimistic Arsenal fan to view 2015 as anything less than successful.
The Gunners retained their FA Cup, achieved their highest finish in the Premier League for three seasons, amassed the most league points in the calendar year, signed a world-class goalkeeper and saw the elevation of several players into top stars.
All positives, yeah?
But with the year coming to an end, sights are shifting quickly to 2016 and how it can be even better for Arsenal.
Their first Premier League title in 12 years? An improbable Champions League victory? Or just Champions League qualification after falling away in the spring?
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The possibilities are endless when you take into account Arsenal’s ability to self-destruct one minute and perform miracles the next.
One thing that is certain in my eyes is that all the ingredients are there for Arsenal to achieve their goals this season.
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The signing of Petr Cech has brought a winning mentality and experience to the defence which they have not had in years.
You would have to think long and hard for a better full-back duo than Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal, while Laurent Koscielny has developed into, for many, the best centre-back in the league – even though he can make Shane Long look like a peak Luis Suarez!
Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla formed an unlikely yet often excellent partnership in centre midfield.
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at various points illustrated their world-class calibre to leave supporters drooling like they were watching the Invincibles.
Olivier Giroud continued his rise as an under-appreciated yet regular supplier of goals.
And Arsene Wenger’s subtle tactical changes in big games were finally rewarded after years of criticism.
Injuries remain a major source of frustration. Jack Wilshere always seems to be a few weeks away from returning. Danny Welbeck’s eight-month absence is peculiar and needs explaining, while Mikel Arteta’s calves seem unable to handle 45 minutes’ work.
Nevertheless, as shown in the wins over Bayern Munich and Manchester City, when the Emirates is full of positivity, optimistic and belief it can carry the team a long way.
Follow me @UcheAmako