What a difference a season can make…
Just last year, Aaron Ramsey was a maligned figure, a footballer who Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger contemplated playing in away games only such was the outcry from 60,000 Gunners fans in attendance at the club's Emirates Stadium home whenever Ramsey miscalculated a run, lost possession or missed the target.
Now, the Welshman can do no wrong. He is near enough guaranteed to be responsible for a goal once every game as his current tally of eight goals and four assists in 1,102 minutes of Premier League football ensures an efficiency rate of one every 92 minutes. He has become the ultimate box-to-box player and there is an argument that, on current form, he is the best in his position in England.
With six assists to his name, Mesut Ozil may feel he is the best trequartista in the Premier League, too.
But… these two Arsenal stars may not be alone.
Wenger may have a third player who could rightfully feel that, statistically speaking, he is the best.
That player is goalkeeper Wojtech Szczesny.
The Pole has lauded the defensive partnership of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker in front of him as the reason for the club's many clean sheets of late: 'We have conceded one goal in November. We have been great and playing behind [all four of] them is a pleasure for me,' he is quoted to have said by the club's official website earlier in the week.
'I have been working hard myself but the defence have helped me massively. It is smashing to play behind the same back four every week. You don’t know how important that is.'
While Szczesny may point to his team-mates as to why the defensive part of Arsenal's game is strong, this stat may show he is just being modest because, taking into account a minimum of 16 shots faced, it is Szczesny who has the best shots to saves ratio in the entire division!
Szczesny saves 81% of the shots he faces…
Arsenal have also kept clean sheets in five of their last six games (the sole blemish being the 1-0 loss sustained during their trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United).
image: © wonker