Since our 2 -2 draw against Fulham at the end of last season, many things have happened to our club. We had our captain stolen, were beaten 8-2 by Manchester United and brought five players into the club within two days. These three examples demonstrate how unpredictable and cruel football can be, and a harsh reminder of what can happen to a club in a matter of weeks.
The “August Five” dubbed so because of their late acquisitions by the club, have instantly restored many fans faith in what can be achieved this season. I wrote an article recently stating that Wenger was only half finished in the transfer window. If you read this article you will see the faith I have in Wenger to return Arsenal to its former glory, as well as trying to predict his movements in next years transfer markets. The signings we made this year were all good business in my opinion, and although buying players like Mertersacker and Gervinho will make many people excited, in this article I want to concentrate on a player already part of the squad, who I believe to be one of the most exciting players for us at the moment.
Emmanuel Frimpong is a player I have admired for two years now, in my opinion he has everything needed to succeed at Arsenal. One of his main assets is his mental toughness. Despite being very young he is not intimidated by his opposition or players on his own team. In recent years players like Armand Traore have floundered on the big stage, having no aggression or faith in his own ability, knowing he was out of his depth. Jack Wilshere on the other hand burst onto the scene with an attitude and technical ability which had people calling for him to be captain of his club and country in years to come. Frimpong is similar to the latter, his performance against Liverpool showed that he had no fear, he tackled brilliantly, passed well and burst forward when the opportunity arose, it seemed to be turning into a man of the match performance until his second yellow saw him dismissed. He played similarly well, albeit it in a friendly match against Boca Juniors where Riquelme described him and Jack Wilshere as Arsenal’s “most important players.” His performances have shown that he is unafraid aswell as talented and this can only be a good thing for Arsenal.
Frimpong has much else to offer other than mental toughness. His playing style will make many people wary of him because of its rawness, his red card against Liverpool was due to overeagerness as well as inexperience, but this can be quickly changed. Frimpong is similar in stature to Clarence Seedorf and Michael Essien with the young player citing the latter as a personal hero of his. Although it looks as if he has too much attitude to be disciplined in important games, as well as games against other physical teams, I believe he will be able to harness his aggressive energy transforming him into a Vieira type player i.e someone who will boss his team mates as well as the opposition, take down anyone who comes near him, at the same time as being able to go forward when he needs to. He seems to be a more mobile version of Song, who despite his emergence in the last few seasons as our first choice defensive midfielder needs real competition or a partner to bring the best out of his game, from a defensive point of view Frimpong is ideal for this.
Frimpong also gives Arsenal strength in depth. When early FA and Carling Cup games come around he will be much more dependable alternative to what Eastmond and Denilson have been in recent seasons. This means instead of having a midfield which is put together with below par players who are unable to see out games on their own and jeopardize progression to the next round. Or a team which has to be plugged with first team players who could get injured as a result of being overplayed. Instead Wenger will have Frimpong as an enforcer either with Coquelin,Ramsey, Benayoun or Rosicky occupying the other two midfield positions. This means we will be able to avoid replays and players suffering burn out. Another advantage of having Frimpong is that in first team matches where we need to see out a victory he can be brought in as a reliable substitute to help dominate the midfield and break up oppositions play, or begin the game as a partner to Song in games against more physical teams as well as more talented teams.
Frimpong is also exciting in my opinion because of the fire in his belly, I have already mentioned that he is not intimidated by any other player. But, more than this is his love for the club, having been here since 2001 he has Arsenal running through his veins, he is part of what I’d call a new era of players who are talented leaders with real, genuine love for the club.Players I believe fall into this category are Szczesny, Vermaelen, Sagna, Wilshere, Frimpong and Van Persie. All these players epitomize what Arsenal should stand for from now on, a team with real grit, determination as well as talent. A team made up of players such as these can play a beautiful game as well as triumph mentally and physically against any sort of opponent.
The main reason I cite Frimpong to be our most exciting player this season is due to his relationship with Jack Wilshere. The two have played together since the age of twelve in midfield, both have Arsenal running through their veins, both are English (although Frimpong has opted to play for Ghana) and both have the talent to match the ambition of the club. They both stand under six foot tall and are perfect matches for each other. Frimpong can tackle superbly and uses his physique to excellent effect, he can pass well as well as run and shoot. Wilshere on the other hand is superb at running, passing with exceptional vision, is a good tackler as well as good physically. The two complement each other perfectly in midfield, I think Wilshere will help Frimpong progress as a player and help him with the mental side of his game. In a few years time I believe Frimpong will have overtaken Alex Song as our first choice defensive midfielder because of the partnership the two will have together.
Overall I think Frimpong this season will be a brilliant squad player, he will make the difference when he comes in and will allow us to be more defensive when we need to. He is suitably agrressive, talented, has Arsenal in his blood and is best friends with our young breakout player last season. For all these reasons I believe Frimpong to be one of the most exciting players in the squad currently, and one of our top players in years to come.