As an Arsenal fan, it often feels like we’re reliving the same season over and over again.
As depressing as that may sound, I’m sure many will agree.
However, after racking my brain, I could find five things we’ve learned in 2016. Sort of.
Cech might be past his best
Although the former Chelsea goalkeeper wasn’t quite up to his usual standard during his first season for us, he still made some crucial saves and I have no doubt that he also saved us quite a few points.
However, this season, during the latter part of 2016, Cech’s near post weakness and inability to save penalties has been costly. For example, this season he’s shipped 19 goals, keeping just five clean sheets.
The 34-year-old is still a brilliant keeper but perhaps it’s time to realise that he’s well past his best.
Alexis on fire
Someone who’s just reaching their best is Alexis Sanchez.
2016 was the Chilean’s year with the forward finishing last season as he meant to carry on this one. He’s already scored 12 Premier League goals in 18 appearances and is being hailed as our star player.
With just 18 months left on his Arsenal contract, the club are trying to tie him down to a new, long-term deal, which hopefully we do seeing us having a player of his calibre at the club is massive.
Although we have Mesut Ozil, Alexis has been something else, particularly later on in 2016.
Francis Coquelin can pass forwards… sometimes
Known for his defensive style of play only highlighted further by new boy Granit Xhaka’s creativity, Coq appears to have at least been working on passing forward.
Although he’s still a long way from adding the attacking threat that Xhaka does, the Frenchman at least appears to have taken some things on board. Obviously, we don’t need him to be an attacking midfielder but not breaking down counter-attacks would be nice.
I don’t mean to sound harsh. The bloke loves Arsenal and seems to be trying hard. Hopefully, he continues.
Santi Cazorla is important
Okay, we probably already knew this, but Cazorla’s importance to the first team was made even more apparent when he returned to action only to be sidelined again after the first Ludogorets game.
The way he dictates play and links the defence and forward men seems simple until you see other players attempting to conduct central midfield and realise it really isn’t.
Our midfield metronome’s contract with Arsenal runs out at the end of the season and it’s unclear whether we’ll actually renew it or not but I hope we do.
Santi is a massive asset to Arsenal and I think it’d be a shame for him to leave now.
Laurent Koscielny is, in fact, a boss
Kos took over the captain’s armband in 2016/17 after Per Mertesacker injured his knee and needed surgery before the season began.
Since, the centreback has not only proven he can be a decent enough leader, but what a difference he makes on the pitch.
The man is a brick wall and, alongside Shkodran Mustafi, is becoming quite a force.
Obviously, there are weaknesses and he does have bad games like any player but, let’s just say, I’m happy to have him at our club.
Kos has now played a total of 271 games since signing for Arsenal in 2010 and I’m sure there’s many more to come.