As the last Premier League season drew to a nail-biting finish, putting an end to perhaps the most baffling and stupefying season ever, the result of the most popular football League was little short of astonishing. While the drama at the top of the table grabbed eyes from across the globe – with a record number of people witnessing the two Manchester clubs battle it out for the top spot – an even more spectacular surge has gone largely unnoticed. Arsenal rose from 17th spot at the beginning of September to finish in third spot at the end of the season, though not without hiccups on the way.
A large part of this was attributed to Golden boot winner and PFA Player of the Year Robin Van Persie, and rightly so. 30 goals in the League this season is no mean feat. But what makes it more remarkable is the opponents he has scored against. Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and north London rivals Tottenham have all been at the receiving end of the Dutchman’s fiery run of form.
But in all this, there have been other players who have not had their share of the limelight. The most important contribution to the team, aside from the charismatic captain RVP, has been that of mid-fielder Alex Song. Some might disagree with choosing him over the Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, but Song has been almost indispensable with his contributions both in defence and attack that make him a much sought-after player, with Barcelona looking to sign him up.
Well-timed tackling and precise positioning are what make him a major asset while defending. His ability to slot in at the centre half position has proved very helpful when the team needed to get in an extra striker to aid the attack. While on the offensive, he has been great going forward and getting the ball into the box for the striker (Read Van Persie) to finish the chances. The versatility of the young defensive mid-fielder has been a major boost to the Arsenal mid-field this season.
The accuracy with which his through balls – which have become a regular feature of Arsenal’s build up play – manage to find red shirts in the box speaks a great deal about how much Song has matured as a player in this season. With the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri on transfers and the unavailability of Jack Wilshere due to an ankle injury that kept him out for the entire season, Arsenal were without their entire midfield that was part of the Starting XI the previous season. Song stepped up when Arsenal most needed him, and how! His through balls have set up goals for different players, even that of Arsenal Legend Thierry Henry during his brief loan spell at Arsenal.
Whether or not RVP stays at the Emirates, with Lukas Podolski joining the squad, Song’s services will be useful now more than ever. At just 24 years of age, the Cameroon international has plenty of time to grow into a household name. And with several clubs already chasing the young midfielder, Inter and Barcelona reportedly in serious contention for the player’s signature, it is important that Arsenal retain him and help him grow so that fans may sing to the Song of Arsenal.