Arsenal have not been known for their character and team spirit in recent years. In fact, there seems to have been tension in the Gunners dressing room in recent years. The doubts over the futures of star player Alexis Sanchez must have had an effect.
An end to the Sanchez saga a relief
As good a player as Alexis Sanchez is, his presence at the club may have harmed team spirit in recent months. It seemed obviously he wanted to leave the club and his exit seems to have lifted a cloud over the club and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
The Chilean was a big personality in that Arsenal dressing room. He made his dismay very clear when his teammates did not live up to his supposed high expectations. Some players respond to criticism from their teammates, some do not.
With Sanchez gone, the other players can no longer pass the responsibility on to one player to win games. Instead, they have to play as a team, which they have shown they can do in the past few games.
The current players are not as technically gifted as Sanchez. However, the prime example of a player lifting his games in recent games is winger Alex Iwobi. The winger burst into the Arsenal team.
However, this season he has struggled. For me, his performances have been much improved in recent games. He is not Alexis Sanchez, but with confidence he can improve as a player.
Mkhitaryan could be a shrewd signing
Henrikh Mkhitaryan could turn out to be a shrewd signing. The Armenian has shown in flashes of his ability for Manchester United. However, it was his ability to create and score and create goals at Dortmund that brought him to the attention of the world.
Mkhitaryan will bring vision and creativity to the team, without the seemingly negative effect that Sanchez had on the team in recent months.
Arsenal outsiders for a top-four spot
Arsenal’s main priority this season was always a top-four spot. However, Arsene Wenger’s side currently find themselves sixth-place in the Premier League, five points behind fourth-place Liverpool.
The Gunners are outsiders to make the top-four at odds of 5/1. However, Wenger’s team have made late surges for the top-four spots in the past.
Whether the team’s performances will continue to be positive now the Sanchez saga is over remains to be seen. However, the early signs are positive for the Gunners.
Could improved team spirit lead to a top-four finish?