Not just Van Persie - the other five key men powering Arsenal's revival

The Gunners have leapfrogged ailing Tottenham into third after yet another victory and takes a look at the key figures in their recent stunning return to form

By Sam Bisby at Goodison Park

He may have scored 33 goals for his club across all competitions so far this season, but with Arsenal having now picked up six straight league wins after beating Everton at Goodison Park, the talismanic Robin van Persie isn't the only man behind Arsenal’s resurgence.

The flying Dutchman has been in sensational form in the current campaign, scoring for fun as the Gunners recover from their early season slumber. But he's not done it alone.

Arsene Wenger’s team, almost unthinkably just over a month ago, now reside in third place after leapfrogging Tottenham, and have put together a list of the five other individuals who have driven Arsena's quite remarkable fightback.


It has been the Frenchman’s most trying season in north London yet still he remains the inspiration behind the Gunners' philosophy and the man for whom the players would run through walls.

A defeat to Blackburn Rovers in the back-end of September left Arsenal hanging a solitary point above the drop-zone and, despite a summer that saw Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy leave the club, nobody expected the north London outfit to be in such a precarious position less than two months into a new campaign.

Arsenal are now 300/1 with Bet365 to win the Premier League title this season.

Six months later and the picture is completely different, thanks to the persistent belief of the club’s manager. Wenger mentioned in his post-match press conference at Everton about keeping his confidence in his players and their potential to recover.

He told reporters: “I was always optimistic, because if you look at our results from October onwards we had only one bad spell and we lost three games on the trot because we had no full-backs and the attitude of the team was always good, so I felt we could bounce back.

“We needed to be strong and I think we need that until the end of the season because where we come from we know what suffering means.”

Thanks to the 62-year-old’s ability to build a team so lacking in depth around star man Van Persie - while tapping into the raw talents of both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - Wenger has done wonders to get Arsenal one point clear in third place after what looked like a miserable season for so long.


Many seem to forget that Arsenal's goalkeeper is only 21 years old, but given the Pole's consistently mature showings over the season it is no surprise.

Not only is the Poland international a true, instinctive shot-stopper in every sense of the word, he is a leader at the back, frequently organising his defence into position during every set-piece. Remarkable from one so young.

Much like David de Gea at Manchester United, Szczesny had tough beginnings in the Premier League, but after a bout of confidence and faith instilled in him by Wenger, the Legia Warsaw youth product has flourished under careful guidance.

His double stop at Anfield from Dirk Kuyt’s penalty and subsequent follow-up saw the keeper’s credentials only heightened in recent weeks. And with 29 appearances this season, there have been plenty more instances of such heroics, especially in Arsenal’s abundance of similarly narrow victories where great saves have made all the difference.


It’s not just that Van Persie knocking in all the vital goals, with the Belgian centre-back also proving pivotal in Arsenal’s last two league games. His last-minute winner caught out Tim Krul in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United 10 days ago, and on Wednesday evening the defender once again secured all three points for his side at Goodison Park.

Every team needs such a player - an individual who can make an impact at both ends of the field - and Vermaelen is most certainly that man for Arsenal.

The 26-year-old’s fitness has also been paramount this season. After recovering fully from his Achilles tendon injury that kept him out for most of last season, Vermaelen has finally been able to play consistent football throughout the campaign, starting 17 of the 18 games he’s played in the league so far.

Arsenal are known for their mounting injury worries and with Vermaelen a more than able utility man for Wenger’s side on a weekly basis now, a robust partnership has been able to flourish between him and Frenchman Laurent Koscielny.


Vermaelen's versatility has often been a life-saver this season when Wenger has been left with no full-backs at his disposal. Bacary Sagna, arguably the best right-back in the league, has been the most damaging absence.

The French right-back suffered a broken leg in the loss to Tottenham at White Hart Lane back in October and didn’t feature again until the end of January, coming on as a sub in the FA Cup victory over Aston Villa.

That hurt Arsenal dearly, but with the former Auxerre man ever present since, the Gunners have definitely woken up on that right-side. A superb display in the win at Everton showed how Sagna can combine his defensive elements with his attacking spirit; taking over possession with a stern tackle, before racing down the flank on an immediate counter-attack.

So many times this happened at Goodison, and with more proficiency from Walcott ahead, the visitors would have become much more threatening out on the wing, as well as through the middle.


One of the heroes of that now infamous 5-2 comeback over rivals Spurs, the too-often mediocre midfielder has finally found his way at Arsenal and is fast becoming a vital piece in the jigsaw at the Emirates.

Now 31, the Czech Republic international has been at Arsenal for six years this summer, but his time in the English capital has been a procession of average performances combined with the odd blip of magic.

As the current campaign has progressed, however, the former Dortmund man has rediscovered his form of old, with urgent passing and a seemingly endless work-rate.

Rosicky has become a bright star in Wenger’s midfield and has quelled the Frenchman’s worries about Jack Wilshere's season-long absence, with the experienced playmaker taking full advantage of his opportunity and making the centre of midfield his own. As if from nowhere, the Czech is fulfilling his potential - much like Arsenal themselves.

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