Arsenal are back in the saddle, sitting fourth in the Premier League after winning six games in a row – nine on the bounce in all competitions.
The Gunners are back where they belong and their incredible win-streak has seen typical Arsenal fan giddiness take over. Talk of a title challenge has emerged once again, and while that is ludicrous it does speak to the renewed confidence with which Arsenal are playing.
With that confidence comes players receiving love and adulation. Alexandre Lacazette has been showered with love, everyone is in awe of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pace and Aaron Ramsey’s goal is probably already going to win the 2019 Puskas Award.
But who are the players that have gone under the radar? Those who have played well, but perhaps not gotten the plaudits some of their more illustrious team-mates have? Here’s a list of the four most unsung players from Arsenal’s record run:
Goalkeeper; 5/9 games played
Bernd Leno was Arsenal’s big summer signing and now he’s between the sticks and playing well, it would be very easy for Arsenal fans to forget that their winning streak started with Petr Cech in goal. The legendary goalkeeper started the season in rough form as the Gunners got slapped by Manchester City and Chelsea, but he rebounded well.
It was Cech who stared down 13 shots from West Ham to help Arsenal get their first win of the season. He then turned in a sensational Man of the Match display against Everton to keep Arsenal’s first clean sheet of the season, a feat he replicated a week later against Watford. A hamstring injury has put him out of commission, but Arsenal don’t start winning without Cech.
Defender; 6/9 games played
As half-time approached of Arsenal’s game against Everton, Sokratis left the field with an injury and was replaced by Rob Holding. The youngster had just played 90 minutes in the Europa League and was immediately an impressive and solid presence at the back.
Holding has started every game and played every minute since coming on and the Englishman has quietly emerged as a candidate to start, regardless of injuries. Whether next to Sokratis or Shkodran Mustafi, Holding has looked as calm and composed as Arsenal fans have been hoping he would do ever since Arsene Wenger first gave him a chance.
Midfielder; 9/9 games played
The new signing is literally “sung” as the Gunners faithful have already worked out their song for the Uruguayan, but his on-pitch contributions haven’t been as properly appreciated as they should have been.
The dogged defensive midfielder has actually played in every game of the winning run, but began it as a substitute. Unai Emery has been careful, easing the youngster into the Arsenal side gently to not overwhelm him.
It was around the Everton game that Torreira played his first 90 minutes and from then on he has been a determined and focused presence in the middle of the pitch. Torreira’s tenacity has given Arsenal’s midfield an energy it lacked and liberated Granit Xhaka to go pass crazy.
Lucas Torreira made six interceptions vs. Fulham, the most by an Arsenal player in a single Premier League game so far this season.
Size does not matter. 🔮 pic.twitter.com/tUIGl4J2Vt
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 7, 2018
His six interceptions in the away win against Fulham was a league-high last weekend but almost lost in the fact Arsenal scored five goals.
Winger; 7/9 games played
Iwobi is Arsenal’s best ball-carrying player, especially in the final third. The Nigerian international dribbles the ball with such finesse that it routinely unsettles opponents and creates space for others. Iwobi’s defensive intelligence and positional discipline also allow him to stand out in what is otherwise an attack full of mavericks.
Iwobi has played in all but two games of the streak (that he missed through illness) starting and coming off the bench in equal measure. His work-rate and selfless play make him a very good battering ram attacker, out there to help his side but primarily soften them up so that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang can come on and bring the hammer down (much as happened vs. Fulham).