Arsenal started September with talk of crisis, but ended it top of the Premier League table, with their summer critics starting to look decidedly foolish. As a result, Arsene Wenger and Aaron Ramsey have been named the September Manager and Player of the Month.
At the turn of the month the Gunners had won one game against Fulham, making up for their opening day defeat to Aston Villa. However, since then the north London side has not looked back, sweeping all in front of them aside domestically and on the continent.
The month started with a 1-0 win in the north London derby against Tottenham on home soil, before victories over Sunderland, Stoke and Swansea took them to top of the pile.
Wenger’s Manager of the Month award will give the French coach pleasure, especially after the abuse that he had to endure over the summer. The club’s strength in depth and lack of activity in the transfer market were highlighted, with the longstanding manager backed into a corner it seemed.
However, Wenger has come out fighting and will have enjoyed the month of September immensely. His personal role in landing Mesut Ozil on deadline day for a club record fee silenced the transfer critics, while his team went about its business with style and purpose on the pitch.
It seems that football fans have short memories and many have questioned Wenger’s position at the Emirates Stadium. His 13th Premier League Manager of the Month award comes at a time that his Arsenal side are looking ready to challenge for major honours.
Despite the acquisition of Ozil and the supreme ability of the Arsenal squad, one man has seemingly dragged his side to the victor’s podium over the course of September. Aaron Ramsey is starting to live up the massive potential that was cruelly interrupted by a serious injury, and the Wales international is a worthy recipient of the September Player of the Month award.
Despite the horrendous injury that he has suffered, Ramsey shows no physical ill-effects and challenges for every ball without restraint. His tireless work-rate and box-to-box play have made him a nemesis for opponents, and he has added a goal threat to his game also.
Ramsey bagged four goals in September, including a brace against Sunderland and the winning goal against Swansea and has been virtually unplayable. Despite the presence of Jack Wilshere, Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta, Santi Cazorla and Ozil, Ramsey is undroppable at the moment.
The Gunners started their October with a draw against West Brom and the challenge to Wenger’s men is to maintain their strong early season form over the next four weeks.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald